is CB8 Fair and Balanced? - Brooklynian

is CB8 Fair and Balanced?

edited February 2014 in Prospect Heights
Hey, guys. I hope you really how nice a resource this site is for those who land here with there hyper local brooklyn queries.

I am a Prospect Heights'er whose day brightens on word that a new restaurant or bar has opened in my neighborhood. I also hear a lot about the struggles businesses face getting community board approval for a liquor license, and it makes me think CB8 is out of touch with the changing neighborhood. I also think the board has figured out a strategy to slow gentrification: Tell bars the must close by 2 AM. This presents a diminished bottomline for the bar owner, and he takes his business elsewhere. With less bars, the street gets less attention from singles with expendable income who like to blow it on food and drinks, and the block becomes less of a target landing for giant rental condos with fun amentities that appeal to the mentioned demographic and things stay basically as they are.

I'm not hating on CB8 for trying their hardest to keep the neighborhood from changing. I very much sympathize with the people who have been here the longest and want there businesses neighbors and rent prices to stay the same. But I do wonder, is CB8 playing fair? Are they giving new late hour businesses the chance they deserve, or are they doing everything in their power to keep out what's new?


  • edited February 2014
    Pheightscub, I think that CB8 attempts to balance a couple of competing interests, one being the opening of new businesses for the area and the other being recognition that a significant portion of the neighborhood works on a regular day shift schedule (leaving the house after 6am and returning home after 4pm). For those people being able to have a guarantee of a quiet neighborhoods from 2am to 6am regularly is important. There isn't really any reason for bars to be open in this neighborhood at 3am on a Tuesday or 4am on a Monday. This isn't a commercial neighborhood, or a neighborhood that has a huge population of college students. And if the economy continues in the direction its been heading all late night bars will do is encourage people to rob drunken patrons on deserted streets.

    While bar owners may deisire to stay open later, its not as if they are throwing 15 or 20 patrons out at 1:59 am that would have continued to drink. Most bars aren't losing anything. I think you're overestimating the market demand. If, however, I am wrong and there is a huge community of late night drinkers, I'd encourage you to tell them to go to the CB meetings and voice their opinions of the hours restrictions.
  • edited February 2014
    The question of the importance of closing times is definitely up for debate, but I at least know that it matters to a lot to a bar owner. In the link below, a local bar owner withdrew his bid when faced with an early curfew on washington ave. So it matters enough to be a dealbraker for some.
    And IMO, a 4am curfew doesn't cause any more noise then a 2am curfew. Being awoke at 4am or 2am is equally annoying and unacceptable. I'm a regular work day worker as well and I would hate to be awoken on weeknights with whoops and shrieks. Luckily that's never happened to me.

    It's also my opinion that we can't have anything unless we have lots of bars. Franklyn is a good case study. What makes Franklyn cool? It's got cool places to hang out. Those are bars. Restaurants followed, and now theres cheese shops and baby stores, antique shops, clothing boutiques etc NONE OF THOSE could come if there weren't a bunch of youngens with money around. And none of those youngens would be interested in being there if there weren't bars making it cool first.
  • edited February 2014
    I attend the CB8 SLA mtgs once and a while, and know some of the members of the committee. I have the sense that they have no illusion of much the neighborhood has/is/will change, they just want to play a role in shaping said change.It to large of a committee to share a vision, but if they have one it is that they would like the local businesses to cater to local residents.

    They fear western CH becoming a "destination", the way that the Lower East Side did. As a result, they would like businesses that cater to people who will live locally for "five years or more", rather than those who are just passing thru for the weekend or while in graduate school. The committee is getting lots of encouragement, most of the developments being built over the next few years will cater to the "five years or more" crowd:

    In a few years, I expect that comparatively few businesses catered toward those spending less time in the neighborhood. For simplicity, this may be able to be stated: "I'll have the trout and a glass of merlot", not, "I'll have the Dutchboy burger and an IPA"
  • And why do we need bars on Vanderbilt open until 4 am again...?
  • Being awoke at 4am or 2am is equally annoying and unacceptable. I’m a regular work day worker as well and I would hate to be awoken on weeknights with whoops and shrieks. Luckily that’s never happened to me.
    There is absolutely a difference in being kept awake by loud bar patrons until 2am vs. 4am. I understand you may not fully appreciate it since by your own admission it's never happened to you.
  • @Pima because sometimes people like to drink until the sun comes up. Haven't wanted to do since my college days but heck some people do. This is the city that never sleeps so our bars should have the option of being open till the legal mandated closing.I think CB8 is in an impossible position. On one hand they have an established population who some members of can't accept that "their" neighborhood is changing. This segment of the original population instead of trying to manage the change in a constructive way has decided to fight against all change. Be it bars, bike racks and people of a difference race moving in. As whynot said some members of CB8 can't stand the idea that some people aren't going to settle here permanently. Unfortunately these members fail to realize that many many people who are in NYC won't live here permanently. Some will be here for 5-10 years until the company moves them. Some will be here for 4-6 years for school. Some only for a year. Just like every other major metropolitan area. It's life people move. But horrors! These people shouldn't be encouraged to move in with business catering to them. On the other hand many of those moving into CB8 haven't considered how their displacing long term residents. Or how their late night drunken revelries disrupt the peace of existing residents. They want bars open till 4 am on the weekends. They want coffee shops that also serve wine and beer. They demand bike lanes and racks. They are tone deaf to the existing community. They may only stay a few years and the changes on the existing community will be sudden, drastic and lasting. They demand the CB8 greenlight only what they want. The hell if their only here for college and people who have lived their whole lives are forced out of their neighborhoods. CB8 is in a no win situation. No matter what they do they will really piss off someone. However they have decide not to manage the coming change in the constructive way. Apparently the needs and wants of the people moving in are unimportant. Hence they will sooner or later they will loose all control the change. They fail to realize that some members of the community will also benefit from the bars open till past midnight. But why manage change in a constructive and even handed manner when sticking your head in the sand is so much easier? Sadly, the city is in the middle of a massive salt shortage. Tl:dr CB8 is in an impossible position. Instead of managing in an even handed way they have decided to fight against it. The very people their trying to protect it will lose out even more than had they been even handed with the new incoming residents and businesses.
  • NewGuy, perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems that you assume that all or most of the new residents of the nabe are hell raisers in their 20's or 30's who want to hang out in bars 'till 4:00 am. I'm guessing that a fair number of the new residents may instead have babies whom they want desperately to sleep through the evening and night, without disturbance from drunken revelers.
  • NewGuy, perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems that you assume that all or most of the new residents of the nabe are hell raisers in their 20's or 30's who want to hang out in bars 'till 4:00 am. I'm guessing that a fair number of the new residents may instead have babies whom they want desperately to sleep through the evening and night, without disturbance from drunken revelers.
  • In my experience people over estimate the power of Community Boards, and this includes their State Liquor Authority (SLA) Committees. I have watched many people come before the entities, expecting them to be able to stop a building from being built, or a bar from opening.In most instances the CB can either "support" or "not support" the action. If they don't support something, it becomes more difficult and expensive for the business/developer to go forward, but it certainly not impossible.In other instances, CBs don't get to "support" or "not support" an action, the businesses and developers merely have the obligation to inform the CB of what they intend to do. In these instances, the CBs can write letters to government agencies that count, but if they write a letter of support (or non support) the receiving agency is told to give it no weight.Lots of first year CB members become very frustrated that the CBs are not given more actual power, and do not realize that giving unlimited "local control" would be a complete disaster. exchange for a letter of support, the CB8 SLAC asks that new restaurants file an application with the state SLA stating that they will close at 2 AM. In the present western Crown Heights economy, many new restaurants seem to have decided that they would rather open in a timely fashion than go without the board's support...Others choose to open elsewhere, and/or complain in the press...
  • Great responses, I'm learning a lot here. And also reinforcing some things I imagined to be true about CB8.Why_Not, I respectfully take issue with the CB8's idea of catering solely to the 5 year crowd. It doesn't completely make sense to me. When you go out on say Franklyn ave for the trend-fish of the moment, look around you, and filling the seats of the restaurant you're in is decidedly the 5 year and UNDER crowd. They have washed in on a wave of excitement about Crown Heights, and they very much like spending too much of their money on the latest way to serve up kale. It's their excitement and spending priorities keeping this restaurant in business. And if the 5 year and unders picked up and left, these restaurants would die. My point being that the new restaurants loved by this 5 year and up crowd, rely on the new kids to exist. And further, while Franklyn is cultivating that excitement and becoming really fun Vanderbilt (where I live) is cobwebby, and business is a lot weaker. The reason being (IMO) it looks a lot more like the 5 year crowd over in these parts then heights.Amirite?
  • NewGuy, perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems that you assume that all or most of the new residents of the nabe are hell raisers in their 20's or 30's who want to hang out in bars 'till 4:00 am. I'm guessing that a fair number of the new residents may instead have babies whom they want desperately to sleep through the evening and night, without disturbance from drunken revelers.
  • The "more than 5 year" vs "less than 5 year" distinction as it relates to a 4 AM closing by no means exclusive. For example, even when I was in my 20s, rented where I lived, and moved frequently, I was rarely out until 4 AM....but a lot of people I knew were. To answer your question re: Vanderbilt via Franklin, yes, I feel the folks who patronize Vanderbilt Ave businesses are generally morel likely to be here in 5 years than those on Franklin. [The customer base of Pequena and Woodwork might be exceptions]To me, this whole issue relates to CB8's awareness of its power in the present environment.In a way, it wants to attract businesses that cater to people with WEALTH as opposed to merely those with "money to spend"....This puts CB8 in conflict with bars who want to cater merely toward the highly profitable "money to spend" group. [BTW, there a lot of typos in the above posts that I would like to fix, and hope the tweaks presently underway on the site allow us to edit for grammar and missing words again]
  • @booklaw I fall somewhere in the age range. I'm saying that's kinda of stereotype. But with a little bit of truth in it. Some do want to stay up others like myself just like having options.
  • PHeightsClub, you can't even spell Franklin ave. correctly and we're to trust you've been trawling the restaurants to the degree that you can identify the majority of the customers as being people in their 20s who will be staying in the neighborhood less than 5 years. People tend to see people like them and assume that means it's the majority. If you only visit restaurants after certain hours you may see lots of early 20-somethings. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other-aged people who might have eaten a bit earlier. You move into a building with a lot of transplants, you hang out with a bunch of transplants and before you know it you're assuming that there are no longer long term residents in the area. If you only see people who are new to NYC you assume that's all who is here. Trust me when I say there are a huge number of families with young children in this area. Those snazzy restaurants that serve Kale 10 ways have high chairs and had you come in a couple hours earlier you would have seen a different crowd. Insisting these restaurants are benefiting only from young, bar-going crowds that require being open until 4am is naive at best. CB8 may be trying to stem the tide of late night bars, but as Why-Not says, they don't actually do that much. Besides, not wanting the streets to fill up with bars is more than trying to stem the wave of gentrification and rising rents. Sometimes it's about wanting to be able to get a little sleep at night on weekdays. Sometimes it's about wanting other options in the storefronts. It's great that people like and are excited by local bars and restaurants. I would get very excited by having many stores that sell all sorts of yarn and fabric. Most (all?) people don't agree with me but I wouldn't try blaming CB8 if they didn't want all the stores taken up with my preferred market.
  • I like bars, bike racks and people of different races...If anything, Prospect Heights has become much more family friendly in the last decade or so.I do not do the late night thing, so can someone please advise me if there are any bars on Vanderbilt currently open until 4 am?
  • edited March 2014
    -Woodwork is open until 4 on Friday and Saturday night.
    -Plan B is on Thursday-Saturday nights
    -Soda Bar Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights
    -Branded Saloon - 7 days a week
    -Weather Up doesn't specify but says "Late"
  • edited February 2014
    While it's true that CB8 plays an advisory role, and the SLA may chose to listen to them or not, the SLA clearly understands the current situation in our community. The situation being that the rate of commercial development is happening at a breakneck pace and that CB8 is attempting to maintain the quality of life that draws working residents and families (i.e., those that will stay 5 years or more). I personally attended an SLA hearing in the Bronx and witnessed that the SLA is indeed sensitive to the fact that the Prospect Heights and Crown Heights demographic includes working people and families who need to go to bed at a reasonable hour each night.

    There was the case of a bar with a back patio wanting to open on Bedford avenue last year (on a purely residential block) that insisted on a 4 am closing time seven nights a week. One would surmise that upwards of 300 people live on that block; not just the stretch of Bedford where the bar was located, but the residential buildings along Rogers that were exposed to the bar's patio. A number of local residents attended the SLA CB8 committee meeting as well as the CB8 board meeting to express their concern. CB8 suggested that if the bar was willing to close at an earlier hour they would offer them a letter of support. The bar insisted on 4 am, thus CB8 chose not to offer them a letter. The bar went ahead with their application to the SLA. Local residents then wrote directly to the SLA with their concerns and subsequently attended the SLA hearing. When the bar's attorney attempted to dismiss the petty worries of "just a few neighbors," SLA Chairman Rosen said to the applicants: "I don't care if just ONE resident showed up at the hearing to express their concern over your intended closing hours in this location, part of our job is to listen to the community." He also made a point of noting that CB8 did not offer them a letter of support. In this case the bar was offered a license with the closing hours of 1 am on the weekend and 12 am during the week, acceptable closing hours for this location. I realize that this is just one specific case, but I felt that it was a good example to share here in that it offered some valuable information relating to the current commentary.
  • That was very interesting, thank you Heightsie --- in the end, did the bar decide to open even with the restricted hours or move its business elsewhere?
  • I'm pretty sure we are referring to the CB8 vs Catfish struggle. Yes, it is open. This thread covered it almost play-by-play
  • BTW, Community Boards can be joined.One fills out this application....
  • There are clearly a group of businesses for whom the 2am restriction is not a problem. Those are all of the new businesses with liquor licenses that have opened in the last 5 years and continue to open on a monthly basis. There may be a place for a couple of bars that remain open later in the neighborhood. I'd think that perhaps on streets like Atlantic, which has mostly commercial buildings and few residences, a 4am closing time might be perfect. Bedford Avenue, not so much. As someone who lives around the corner from a couple of social clubs I have been woken up at 5am on Sunday morning by fights and gunshots. I'm not interested in having that happen on daily basis.Rather than judging the neighborhood by the number of people that are living in rental apartments in the community, look to the number of people that are living in homes, co-ops or condos that they purchased. This is the group of people that is more likely to be stable over a longer period of time. Even with all the new buildings going up, the neighborhood is still dominated by property owners, not renters. As long as there are people with a 10-15+ year view here, the desire to cater to those people will continue.
  • Catfish has been selected as the location for the first annual "Joint SOS Crown Heights - Brooklynian Happy Hour.related thread:
  • Sounds fun!If someone happens to strike up a convo with an owner at Catfish, I'd be curious to know how they're managing with their early curfew. We've all made a lot of assumptions about who deserves what sort of attention and service in the neighborhood. But the bottomline is, if our area stops presenting a lure to hang outs like Catfish then non of us (except those who want no business) will get what we want.
  • Thanks to dac545! There are already several bars open late in the neighborhood.PHeightsClub, why do you say that unless we let unrestricted late night bars exist, no one will get what we want?Why the criticism of the cb8 board if you are just looking for a late night drink?
  • I have to disagree with the opinion that we can't have anything unless we have lots of bars. While I'm sure some businesses have chosen to come here because of the presence of young spenders, who were attracted to the cool hangouts, I think there are also new businesses that don't seem to depend on either of those, such as the bridal salon on Rogers, the yoga studio on Nostrand, or the coming coffee shop on Schenectady. Past Franklin, there are lots of commercial vacancies, affordable rents, existing residents who are underserved, and more new (and wealthier) residents all the time -- that should be plenty of bait to lure all types of prospective businesses, not just bars.
  • With respect to the yoga studio, I know that one of the factors that led to her location on Nostrand was the fact that she was teaching elsewhere but had a large number of students that already lived in the area. Therefore, there wasn't a risk in putting a studio closer to where her customers lived. I'll repeat what I've said for years, that the basic model of NYC is changing from specific neighborhoods being destinations for specific things to every neighborhood has to have everything. I don't believe that this change ultimately is good for the city. It homogenizes us by making 20-something transplants from the midwest and south arbiters of what every neighborhood in the city "must" have while driving out those businesses that don't fit into their very narrow world view. The businesses that don't need a liquor license or a 4am curfew, why they're all just crap and standing in the way of what "we" really want.
  • It used to seem that mainly neighborhoods with a University nearby were affected by transient, highly educated young people with lots of disposable income. Now, I agree, the phenomena is larger.However, even this demographic is not all the same. It can be tamed. Neighborhoods can enjoy the wealth and power that these people bring, while making themselves unattractive to the rowdiest of the bunch. I suspect that the least rowdy residents of the neighborhood will continue to hold sway on the local community boards, in part because the most rowdy quickly get frustrated by the tediousness of local governance. The demographic present on the CB8 SLAC isn't going anywhere. Even if you don't agree with to them; placation may be your best approach.
  • Hey Pima,Think about the kinds of things that make a neighborhood an attractive place to live. Maybe a movie theatre, maybe an especially nice grocery store with lots or organic options. Maybe some super cute independent clothing boutiques. All these things paint the brooklyn that I want to live in. 10 years ago, there would be more to add to this list (book stores, video rental) but there's unfortunately less types of businesses that can validate the cost of a brick and mortar location these days. So, my question to you is, where are the neighborhoods that just have those things and no bars? My parents town in westchester one could argue has made that dream a reality -tons of stores, no notable watering holes. But that town is also missing an 18-30 demo wholy and completely. Those 18-30s are here in manhattan and brooklyn. And most of them will last until their kids are school aged and they make a break for the suburbs, where adults rule. For now, these kids with there blossoming careers have the buying power of grown ups who have 5 times their wealth.Case and point, my parents have a lot more money then I do. But I eat out at restaurants, and frequent bars almost every single day. I spend a lot of the money I earn, and clearly I am the norm for my age group. Even though TateinBK likes to think parents with small kids are supporting restaurants with the same amount of dollars, its not the case. He's beyond wrong and his opinions are unthoughtful. It's not one's wealth that matters as far as local businesses are concerned, its ones freedom to spend it.Love it or hate, its just simple capitalism at work. No one would have thought about opening a movie theatre in crown heights 5 yrs ago. It still wouldn't make a profit today, but Crown Heights will probably get one one day, and for that to happen the streets will have to get a lot buzzier then they are now with youngish faces with cash to blow, who could support it. They will come because Crown Heights is becoming more and more attractive to them. And its becoming more attractive because they're places to hang out. Sorry for the ramble, I could have just said bars bring in people with money, and once they're here they want other nice things that the 5 yr and up crowd can also gentle with the hate mail please! I'm just a guy with an opinion here and I respect all the voices I've heard on this forum with the possible exception of TateinBKcheers!
  • "where are the neighborhoods that just have those things and no bars?"No one on the CB SLAC is trying to prevent all new bars or get rid of the existing ones.
  • Those 18-30s are here in manhattan and brooklyn. And most of them will last until their kids are school aged and they make a break for the suburbs, where adults rule.
    This is a really outdated understanding of demographics. More and more wealthy and upper-middle-class families are choosing to stay in the city over the 10-20 years. And many of those parents spend a lot of money on cafes, groceries, takeout/delivery and other services, as well as family-friendly experiences. In Prospect Heights, the Montessori School and the Kumon after-school prep center on Vanderbilt even bring in well-off parents from other parts of brownstone Brooklyn. Perhaps you haven't noticed those places, or the kid's clothing stores, or even the flyers for the Baby DJ class, God help us, but they're there. Parents who have stayed in Prospect Heights made PS 9 a more desirable school, driving up property values in the neighborhood. Bars are part of the mix for a good neighborhood, absolutely, but hardly the center of what this neighborhood needs.
  • By the way, the meeting of the full board of Community Board 8 that was scheduled for Thursday Feb 13th has been cancelled due to the impending snow storm.
  • Homeowner-It appears that one can now enroll in a Yoga Class for Men in Crown Heights.
  • Even though TateinBK likes to think parents with small kids are supporting restaurants with the same amount of dollars, its not the case. He’s beyond wrong and his opinions are unthoughtful.
    Haha. I think you're underestimating the number of parents who are too worn out from their days and ordering delivery from the many restaurants. This idea is beyond wrong and "unthoughtful"? Movie theaters in the city require certain kinds of areas and buildings to move in. Think Lincoln Center and Union Square. They are not going to move into Crown Heights. Heck, the old theater space on Bedford and Lincoln is in the process of being torn down to make space for retail and apartments.Parents are no longer running off to the suburbs. It makes a lot of sense to stay in the city with small children, especially this area with the parks, children's museum, and PP zoo in close proximity. The Crown Height Parents North list serve now numbers at 153 members and that clearly doesn't list every parent in the area. These parents are not going to running off to the 'burbs. No one wants to get rid of all the restaurants and bars. Some of us just like to be able to sleep in the wee hours of weeknights. No snark here, but if you have so much disposable income and such a strong need for many many bars why did you choose to come to Crown Heights? Why aren't you on the lower east side?
  • I am of the opinion that nothing good comes from staying out past 2 am so I have no problem with bars closing at 2. I don't know why anyone would want to be out drinking past 2 am in Prospect Heights, especially during the work week. I fall into the disposable income, eats out and goes out frequently demographic, but I also need to get up for work.
  • I'm sure that someone knows, but I would have zero idea how to figure out which demographic better supports restaurants in our neighborhood. I'm not sure that PHeightsClub has those data, either. I feel like we have a really nice mix of diners and takeouts, relaxed sit-downs, pubs, ethnic places, and upscale eateries. I think there's something to appeal to everyone (and I hope it stays that way,) so I don't know how any one group can stand out more than another in terms of patronage.

    Personally, I think Vanderbilt and Washington have enough bars, but if the market can support more of them or different types of bars, then I'm not going to stand in its way.
  • PHeightsClub,
    I think your premise is flawed and your arguments are off point.
    But hey, welcome to the neighborhood.

  • From their Facebook feed:

    Community Board 8 Meeting Rescheduled for:

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

    CNR-Center Light Health Care, 727 Classon Avenue (corner of Park Place), Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238 at 7;00 p.m.


    1. Meeting Call to order
    2. Roll Call
    3. Acceptance of Minutes
    4. Correspondence
    5. Mr. George E. Williams, Community Affairs Associate at the Brooklyn Museum will give an update on the current and upcoming events at the museum.

    6. Ms. Paige Bellenbaum, Director of Community Programs for the Settlement Housing Fund will provide information on DOE Adult Ed Pre-GED and GED Program in Crown Heights.

    7. Action Items

    a. Housing/ULURP Committee
    b. SLA and Sidewalk Café Review Committee
    c. Parks Committee

    8. Reports from the following committees:

    Aging/Health—(Mr. Peter Duda from START will make a short announcement on his organization’s plans to take over operations of the Interfaith Methadone Clinic located at 882 Bergen Street)

    Career Building
    Economic Development
    Public Safety
    Youth & Family Services

    9. Old Business/New Business
    10. Public Comments/Announcements
    11. Adjournment

    Please note: The order of agenda items are subject to change.
  • BTW, as a neighborhood becomes wealthier its bars not only morph into restaurants but sometimes they morph in clothing stores.

    Some people try to slow this process down, others try to encourage it.

    ...guess which type is most likely to sit on a community board?
  • I'm a musician, and I'm also very proud of my Hungarian background... or in other words, I'm full in favor of drinking. 

    I'm also someone who talks to a lot of local residents. I spoke to thousands or more likely tens of thousands of our neighbors this summer working on the City Council campaign trail. 

    None of the thousands of people I spoke with this summer expressed any interest to keep bars open later. It's probably one of the few issues that the "anti-gentrifiers" and "pro-gentrifiers" could agree on. 

    To tell the truth, I wish people in their 20s were more involved in local politics. Here's a group called Brooklyn Young Democrats:

    But PHeightsClub, if you're really interested in whether CB8 is being fair and balanced, I would have to say that the answer is yes

    You ask "are they doing everything in their power to keep out what's new?For the record, I have a child who is 5 1/2 years old (don't call her 5!), and I can tell you members of CB8 have been very welcoming to her! 

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