Safety dance: Board fighting bar’s booze, boogie permits citing crime

Safety dance: Board fighting bar’s booze, boogie permits citing crime
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

They’re stepping on some toes.

Community Board 10 is trying to block a dance hall from opening at a troubled Third Avenue venue by withholding licenses allowing bartenders to sell booze and patrons to cut loose, but the property owner says the panel is pulling all the wrong moves. The board voted unanimously on Jan. 25 to urge the State Liquor Authority to deny the site a liquor license, and will likely to ask the Department of Consumer affairs to deny the would-be club a cabaret license, which permits customers to dance — all because the location was a den of iniquity under previous management, members say.

But the new tenant is an upstanding businessman, and the former owners’ sins shouldn’t be visited on their successors — especially if that means banning dancing, the building’s owner said.

“He has a very good reputation and a clean record as a person — give him a chance to prove himself,” said Vicky Simegiatos, who owns the building between 71st and 73rd streets and runs a dance studio on the second floor. “He knows the business well and I think he will do good for the neighborhood. You come and tell me that dancing is not good in our life.”

Manhattan restaurateur Fernando Dallorso wants to open an Argentine steak house with live flamenco, jazz, and disc jockeys and dancing at the location, which was formerly Cafe Remy.

A board leader conceded Simegiatos’s point, but said it didn’t change his mind.

“No one is saying it’s not a nice place or that it couldn’t be a nice place, but it’s been steadily problematic in ways that aren’t fair to the community,” chairman Brian Kieran said. “You have to start rethinking what you’re going to do there.”

Locals lodged roughly one noise or underage drinking complaint via 311 every two months between 2010 and 2014, according to city records.

So the board’s vote pleased neighbors, including one 72nd Street resident who said he wrestled with unruly patrons at the various establishments that have occupied the store front for better part of his 50 years on the block.

“We’re very happy with the vote they took,” neighbor John Pawson said. “This was a problem going back decades. I heard all the noise in the backyard, and then at four o’clock in the morning I heard all the drunks in the front — they had me surrounded.”

Dallorso did not attend Monday’s meeting but said earlier that day he wants to re-approach the board with a plan that is more appealing to neighbors — even if that means. That may mean fewer limos pulling up to his front door on Third Avenue, but he could count on one loyal customer right down the block.

“I even told him that — withdraw your cabaret license and I’ll be your first patron at your Argentine restaurant,” Pawson said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlync[email protected]local.com.

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