Markowitz and diners are restaurant allies in War on Brunch

The Brooklyn Paper
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It was all quiet on the Western omelet front on Sunday after North Brooklyn’s rebel restaurants retreated, hunkering down and calling in reinforcements including Borough President Markowitz in the ongoing War on Brunch.

Restaurant owners kept their outdoor tables safe behind the ramparts of their dining rooms until noon rather than risk tickets from city forces in the escalating conflict over a little-known regulation that bans eateries from serving food to sidewalk patrons on Sunday mornings.

Brunch mainstays Enid’s and Lokal — which suffered the war’s first casualty when city inspectors accused the bistro of serving outdoor diners at 9:35 am last month — kept morning customers indoors, but even though the eateries stepped back from the trenches they found a powerful ally in the brunch-loving Beep.

“Having brunch on the sidewalks of Brooklyn is, in many ways, an extension of sitting on our stoops — a community experience that allows us to people-watch, get to know our neighbors, and enjoy the weather and fresh air — especially during the summer,” said Markowitz. “It’s hard to imagine New York City without it.”

Markowitz said he hopes to bring peace to the Sunday morning dining scene, and urged legislators to rethink the largely ignored rule that has banned outdoor Sunday morning brunch for decades.

“Although the law is the law, perhaps the City Council could take a second look at this one,” he said. “I am hopeful everyone can find common ground on this issue, and figure out a way for Brooklyn brunchers and pedestrians heading to and from Sunday services to share the same sidewalk.”

And Markowitz isn’t the only Brooklynite questioning the Sunday brunch ban.

Enid’s co-owner Ashley James has already collected 300 signatures over the past two weeks from diners who can’t stand the city crackdown and a law she considers outdated.

“People want to enjoy the weather and have a bite to eat and I don’t see that our particular sidewalk is causing any kind of traffic jam,” she said. “I don’t see a problem with other sidewalks in the neighborhood either. The only thing I see is our customers enjoying themselves.”

But Community Board 1 public safety committee chairman Tom Burrows — who lead the charge against brunch rule-breakers — said illegal sidewalk noshing degrades quality of life in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, equating eateries that violate the regulation with the kinds of petty crime policed under the NYPD’s “broken windows” strategy.

“Often the acts of one have a deleterious effect on others who have not been an issue,” said Burrows, who has become the General Patton in the War on Brunch. “As long as certain operators act with impunity to operate outside the law, strict enforcement may be necessary to prevent further violations.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 12:48 pm, May 3, 2012
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Reasonable discourse

manhatposeur from manhatland says:
"said illegal sidewalk noshing degrades quality of life in Williamsburg and Greenpoint..." Tom Burrows.

Really? These establishments have provided emjoyment and enhancement of the quality of life in the neighberhood.
May 2, 2012, 8:35 am
David from PLG says:
This issue seems to smack of religious interferance. Does this law not want to expose good christians to the sight of People enjoying brunch while church-goers have to attend to their rituals? the sacrifice of primetime business for the restaurant entrepreneur?
May 2, 2012, 9:19 am
Crawford from Greenpoint says:
How can we get rid of these Community Boards? They don't represent the communities they claim to serve. They're basically outlets for busybody NIMBYs.
May 2, 2012, 9:55 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
so, he prefers a time when the neighborhoods where a blight because there was no one having brunch outside before noon on sundays? seems like it improves the neighborhoods.

also, if the catholic church wants to make up for the lost revenue from denying those businesses making taxable income, which goes to paying for police, trash pickup and other mundane services that makes the city safer and cleaner then they get a say.
May 2, 2012, 10:03 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
I am in favor of brunch, bellinis, and sitting in the sunshine. Maybe the brunchers just need to shut off their cell phones while they dine so their conversation won't be heard by fellow diners, passersby and people in church. That happens a lot in NYC; loud talkers. You don't need to scream to be heard by the person across the table from you.
May 2, 2012, 10:10 am
Jenn from Gpoint says:
Degrades the quality of life? You know what degrades the quality of like in Greenpoint: homeless men pooping in the park and the complete lack of trash clean up on the sidewalks and in the parks by Saturday evening leaving Sundays trash to roam freely on the streets.
May 2, 2012, 10:10 am
Paul A. from Bay Ridge/Ft. Hamilton says:
Here we go again! WE know what's best for you. WE think it degrades life quality. Nowhere was it written that anybody could have brunch before or after attending services. It brings people together, promotes business which denerates income and taxes. Would these people like to return to the dark days when you would be afraid to sit in a outdoor cafe because of crime. People on the streets deter crime. There is still a BLUE LAW on the books that makes it illegal to tether your horse or mule on a avenue on sunday before 1:00pm Everybody can go to church and then have brunch.....just leave your mule or horse at home. Is it after 12 o'clock?? Yeah? I'll have a Bloody Mary please...make it a double.
May 2, 2012, 10:40 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
I just want to know exactly how many complaints, letters, petitions, 311 calls, and packed-room public meetings full of upset residents did it take before the CB1 public safety committee chair Tom Burrows finally decided to implore DCA and NYPD to enforce this obscure rule? Over 150,000 people live in CB1 in Brooklyn. Did 15,000 complain (1%)? Did 1,500 complain (0.1%)? Did 150 complain (0.01%)? Or is this just a case of the chair and a dozen or so affiliates having a personal crusade against these businesses that they've taken it upon themselves to perpetuate under the auspices of being representative of the community? Because that would be entirely capricious and a misuse of the position. Show me where the outcry is
May 2, 2012, 10:47 am
Frank from Furter says:
I agree with Marty. What is sacred about Sunday am? you used to not be able to buy beer before its 10 am...and liquor stores are open on Sunday as well.
Selling any booze is restricted close to any church or school now anyway. ridiculous. Its one of the few blue laws left.
May 2, 2012, 11:43 am
the parlimentarian says:
"Markowitz ... urged legislators to take another look at the largely ignored rule that has banned outdoor Sunday morning brunch for decades."

That's pathetic Marty. Are you unaware that borough presidents can introduce legislation? Or is it just too much work?
May 2, 2012, 12:14 pm
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
That's why they call Brooklyn the City of Churches, not the City of Brunches.
May 2, 2012, 12:15 pm
Bruncher from Kent Ave says:
“Although the law is the law, perhaps the City Council could take a second look at this one,” he said. “I am hopeful everyone can find common ground on this issue, and figure out a way for Brooklyn brunchers and pedestrians heading to and from Sunday services to share the same sidewalk.”

TRANSLATION...YOU LOSE BURROWS. Your personal crusade brought on by some sort of catastrophic brunch incident from your past is going to come to a screeching halt. I suggest you find something else to complain about before Marty b*tch slaps you out of your spot on CB1. Better yet...just go away. You're not a accurate representation of our community nor are you serving our best interests.

I would love to hear his asinine explanation of how Sunday sidewalk brunch "degrades quality of life in Williamsburg."
May 2, 2012, 2:51 pm
Sean from Brooklyn Crossing says:
Would Marty maintain this position if the Southside Hasids made a deal about their right to walk to synagogue being abridged?

All of the hipsters and Yuppies would be branded anti-Semites.

Sorry, Mr. Markowitz, you can't have it both ways.
May 2, 2012, 7:02 pm
Marty from Sunnyside says:
Who cares
May 2, 2012, 9:43 pm

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