Noisy Greenpoint bar sues over noisy neighbors

Noisy Greenpoint bar sues over noisy neighbors
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

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 [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.