Noisy Greenpoint bar sues over noisy neighbors

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The pot would be calling the kettle black — if anyone could hear it over all that racket.

The owner of a Greenpoint bar that neighbors have long described as noisy is suing his landlord, claiming it’s actually the upstairs tenants who are being loud.

Joe Ariola, the man behind The Production Lounge — a venue notorious among its Franklin Street neighbors for its cacophonous late-night parties and a 2009 shooting — took his landlord to Brooklyn Supreme Court last month to force her to better soundproof the building in an attempt to drown out the noise from several bands that rehearse on the second floor.

“I don’t want to be there anymore, I don’t want to deal with the landlord and the headaches,” Ariola told The Brooklyn Paper. “The issues were there before we got there. I’ll be happy when we beat the landlord, which we will do, and then we can sell the place and leave.”

Ariola claims he invested $400,000 in renovating the space between Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Street into a film-themed club, including $1,100 spent installing sound-dampening curtains above the glass entryway. But Ariola says noise from the upstairs music practice rooms enters his venue through a large hole in the ceiling, a section of the wall, several interior windows and a sheet of plywood put up by the landlord.

On music nights, Ariola says performers in his venue have been forced to turn up the volume to drown out the noise from upstairs.

The din can be so bad that it caused several DJs and private parties to cancel on short notice, he claims.

“We put our life savings into the building and our landlord hasn’t done anything to fix the building whatsoever,” said Ariola, whose next court date is Feb. 28. “We paid our landlord everything we’ve owed but she has failed to do what she promised to do.”

The building’s landlord, Janet Berger, declined to comment about the Production Lounge.

But the musicians who practice on the second floor insist they’re not the ones responsible for noise escaping onto the streets — it’s the lounge’s glass doors.

“I think the practice rooms are very isolated from the street; you can’t hear them outside the building,” said one musician who declined to give his name because of the lawsuit. “A lot of bands practice in afternoons and evenings but generally don’t go until 4 am and complaints [from neighbors] have to do with parties that go all night on Friday and Saturday.”

Neighbors agree, describing the Production Lounge as a nuissance bar with loud tunes and noisy crowds that keep them awake.

“We have made constant noise complaints which has not changed in almost two years, but now it’s a different dimension,” said Franklin Street resident Richard Devito.

The Production Lounge has struggled to find friends among its neighbors after a shooting outside the club left a woman wounded and sent bullets into nearby buildings on Valentine’s Day three years ago.

Officers from Greenpoint’s 94th Precinct said they received no complaints about the lounge over the past two years until two weeks ago — when someone from inside the club allegedly threw a glass bottle at DeVito’s three-story rowhouse across the street on Jan. 13.

“They’re extremely loud, especially on the weekends,” said a tenant in the building, who woke up when the bottle shattered. “The owner doesn’t cooperate with the neighborhood at all and no one in the neighborhood actually goes there.”

Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, commanding officer of the 94th Precinct, said he has not had any interaction with the Production Lounge’s owner but would issue noise summonses if necessary. Other officers have made several visits to the lounge this month and are reviewing videotape of the bottle incident, but have made no arrests.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Richard Devito’s name as Paul DeVito. His name is Richard Devito.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

Q from Greenpoint says:
I live a block from this place and the bar owner is absolutely telling the truth! It's the bands I can hear all the time--the bar is hardly open. IN fact we kinda wonder what the deal is with that place. In the end, neither bother me but I couldn't understand why the CB was blaming him. Would totally suck if that noise is coming in through their space.
Feb. 2, 2012, 11:29 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I figured it was the cast and crew from Boardwalk Empire making all the noise!
Feb. 2, 2012, 12:18 pm
sombody from elsewhere says:
decibel meters are available for free on your iphones.

measure just outside the street window of 2nd floor studios.

measure inside the club.

measure at venue threshhold.

measure on the roof.

go across street and measure at the stoop of the neighbors.

not rocket science.
Feb. 2, 2012, 12:18 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
I agree with Q - the bar is hardly ever open, but loud live bands can be heard from a block away - day AND night. I'm not a fan of Production Lounge, but they're not to blame for this noise problem.
Feb. 2, 2012, 1:18 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Ancient chinese saying, "He who live in glass house, dress in basement".
Feb. 2, 2012, 3:33 pm
Skellatosis from FG says:
Somebody you're right on
Feb. 2, 2012, 5:43 pm
fatimah from cobble hill says:
Why is this article newsworthy?
Feb. 3, 2012, 6 am
bloomberg from greenpoint says:
I hope that isn't a cigarette in Mr. Cobo's hand - smoking inside a bar is illegal.
Feb. 3, 2012, 2:21 pm
DJ Tony A from Greenpoint says:
I agree with the band noise coming from the 2nd floor of that building. I have played parties at both The Production Lounge and Lou Lou's and know first hand they have to deal with the non soundproofing noise coming from the band rehearsal rooms as well the production lounge has been dealing with flooding problems. I think the landlord has to wake up and realize what's going on their. Or better does and just wants the rent and don't give a dame!
Feb. 3, 2012, 3:33 pm
Jeff from greenpoint says:
i love the production lounge. It has a great theme and the employees are friendly. The noise from the bands upstairs make it hard for them to have there events, because the promoters crowd gets upset. The lounge isn't to blame. I wish they were open more it's a cool spot.
Feb. 3, 2012, 10:46 pm
wtf from greenpoint says:
If the Production Lounge had built any soundproofing at all into the raw space that became their club-- really, what club owner doesn't soundproof their space? And then blames the rehearsal spaces that have been there for over a decade? It's not incumbent on the owner to soundproof a rental space that is in raw form-- it's the tenant's job to prepare it for whatever he plans on using it for. Blaming the landlord and other tenants for his own shortsightedness is a dick move.
Feb. 4, 2012, 2:28 am
PB from Greenpoint says:
Why don't you look at the eviction complaint filed against the Production Lounge by the landlord? Then you'll see that this story is just a sham counter suit so that Ariola can try to weasel out of what he owes the landlord. Word is he hasn't paid rent in months. Can't wait till his crappy operation closes up - good riddance. He's been rude and obnoxious to residents who complain to him from day one and could care less about the neighborhood. The bands are nothing compared to the craziness at his place.
Feb. 13, 2012, 10:42 am
kd from Greenpoint says:
Is this the rehearsal space that's causing the problem?
- at 61 Greenpoint Avenue?
I call 311 ALL THE TIME about the constant noise and want to be sure I'm giving them the proper address and name of establishment.
Feb. 16, 2012, 3:27 pm

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