W’burg residents decry planned club

Club dread: A Manhattan bar owner wants to put a cavernous nightclub in this N. First Street warehouse — but residents fear an increase in noise, traffic, and lewd behavior.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A Manhattan nightclub owner wants open a new venue on N. First Street, but neighbors of the so-called Williamsburg Manor fear the planned discotheque won’t mind its manners.

Alexander Dimitrov hopes to transform a warehouse near the waterfront into a phantasmagoric play-scape complete with vertical French gardens, an enormous rooftop patio, and enough room for 300 people to party until 4 am on weekends.

But residents of several condo buildings near the proposed venue say the project is ill-planned and worry its noise will overwhelm their sleepy street.

“Why did the city allow this block to be rezoned for high-end residential units if they’re going to let a party venue open up in the center of these residences?” said neighbor Jenice Malecki, who collected a petition with 83 signatories opposed to the club.

Dimitrov defended his business plan, saying his nightclub between Kent and Wythe avenues will make the neighborhood better.

“This is a commercial area, and when you bought your property you took chances,” said Dimitrov, who has already started renovating the space. “I am trying to improve this area, not convert it. You should go out more often.”

About 50 Northside residents lambasted Dimitrov at a key Community Board 1 committee meeting last week, ridiculing his plan as extravagant and mocking the decor and amenities at his Meh-hattan club, Mehanata, which boasts a bathroom sink that looks like a woman’s posterior, a fleet of party buses modeled after San Francisco cable cars, and a refrigerated “ice cage” where waiters in Russian military garb serve booze amid furniture and glassware made from ice.

Dimitrov promises the Manor will reflect Williamsburg’s more laid-back party crowds.

Williamsburg resident Jenice Malecki has rallied more than 80 of her neighbors and community board members to oppose a hulking new nightclub on N. First Street.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

“I don’t think Manhattan would work in Williamsburg,” Dimitrov said. “One space has nothing to do with the other.”

It’s not just the inside of the club that neighbors are worried about — critics fear the street will be jam-packed with taxis, livery cabs, and party buses since Dimitrov’s venue does not have a parking lot.

“There are so many open questions here, and even if they were answered, it’s not the right place for this venue,” said CB1 member Ward Dennis. “This is too big, the street is too narrow, there isn’t enough room to double park, and the area is all residential.”

The board’s liquor license committee unanimously voted to deny the Williamsburg Manor its liquor license. The full board will vote on the application on April 17.

North Brooklyn’s CB1 has swayed the state to deny liquor licenses to some applicants in the past, and the board has moved aggressively against bars and restaurants it perceives as noisy, denying Metropolitan Bar’s liquor license renewal request and pressuring Pies ‘n’ Thighs to remove its sidewalk benches.

But its decisions are merely advisory and the State Liquor Authority, which has the ultimate say over whether a new business can serve beer and liquor, has approved the vast majority of new applications in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

“We take the views of the community board into consideration and when there is strong opposition we may forward the application to members of the authority for final determination,” said State Liquor Authority spokesman Michael Smith.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

A Manhattan nightclub owner wants to convert a N. First Street warehouse into a party venue and radio studio with vertical gardens, a rooftop patio, and room to entertain more than 300 revelers until 4 am.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

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