Wanted by Third Avenue residents: A good night’s sleep

Area residents continue to be up in arms over late-night noise emanating from a pair of local watering holes.

The most recent meeting of the Community Board 10 Police and Public Safety Committee was dominated by discussion of the problems that several local bars appear to be causing those who live nearby, said Susan Pulaski, the committee chair, during the board’s February meeting, which was held at the Knights of Columbus, 13th Avenue and 86th Street.

In particular, Pulaski said, people living near RJ’s Lounge and Grille at 8812 Third Avenue, and Trace Restaurant and Lounge, at 8814 Third Avenue, attended the meeting to air their complaints.

Previously, many of the complaints had been directed at Shenanigan’s, at Third Avenue and 89th Street, but that establishment subsequently added soundproofing.

The “noise problem,” Pulaski stressed, “is aggravating and frustrating because it continues and it doesn’t appear to be able to be solved.”

Among the irritants to those trying to get a good night’s sleep, she said, are “loud music, loud conversation, screaming, disrespectful patrons, doors of bars remaining open to allow the music to spill out onto the street, volume of music too high, double-parked cars, cars conking, crowds filling the sidewalks eliminating the pedestrian paths, outside smoking drifting up to residents apartments, managers not present in the bars (and) overcrowding in the bars.”

The board has received numerous letters and emails from affected residents since last August.

In one, a resident lamented, “It’s 11:45 on Friday night and I’ve been listening to the music so far for about 2 12 hours. RJ’s has a live band tonight and the back door is obviously wide open. I tried to call them, but there was no answer. I am on the phone with 311 right now.”

In another, the writer complained of being unable to contact anyone in a managerial position at Trace.

“They do not close until 4 a.m. on the weekends, so we have been hearing their music until 4!” the person wrote, adding, “The hostesses at Trace keep telling me that they do not have managers… just owners. I have gone down there at all different times of the day and night, and there is never anyone ‘on duty’ to talk to…. Here they are in a family oriented neighborhood serving countless alcoholic drinks to customers and there’s no one there to keep things under control.”

One major issue facing the board, Pulaski noted, is that when bars and clubs apply to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for liquor licenses, they “list an intention on their applications, but do not adhere to them, running their establishments with different ones.”

For instance, Pulaski pointed out, RJ’s’ application indicates that it will “serv(e) light fare, play light jazz, clos(e) at midnight, but it operates as a bar with a live band, open until 4 a.m. Trace listed no music on their application and they have a disc jockey and have dancing.”

To that end, she stressed, the board could tackle the problem by “hold(ing) the owners to their original intent on their application, until they get approval from the SLA for their new design.”

In addition, Pulaski said, members of the committee suggested that the board pursue adding stipulations to liquor licenses, as they recently did with Crown KTV, a karaoke bar. “We need to make this apart of our approval procedure,” Pulaski said.

Dominic Aiello, the owner of RJ’s, attended the committee meeting, said Pulaski. At an earlier committee meeting, she recalled, he had said that he would be installing soundproofing at his establishment. That had been delayed, Pulaski said, but Aiello had told his listeners that he was putting in soundproofing as well as “having the front and back doors padded for sound reduction.

“He asked that a representative from the board stop in at the end of the month to see the completion,” Pulaski added.

No one from Trace attended the committee meeting. Called and asked to respond to complaints about the establishment, George Kelly, a manager at the bar, declined to comment.