Sidewalk cafe permit denied

Spitzer’s Corner 101 Rivington Street.

DCA revoked restaurant’s previous permit after discovering plan inaccuracies. On August 20, 2009, the City Council denied Spitzer’s Corner’s application for an unenclosed sidewalk cafe at the corner of Rivington and Ludlow Streets in the Lower East Side. Spitzer’s application called for eight tables and 16 chairs fronting 101 Rivington Street.

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Spitzer’s architect, Steve Wygoda, testified that in 2007 the Council approved an application for a sidewalk cafe after Spitzer’s reached an agreement with Council Member Alan J. Gerson to reduce the plan to five tables and 10 chairs. Wygoda stated that in 2008 the Department of Consumer Affairs revoked the permit after determining that the sidewalk was too narrow for a sidewalk cafe. He said the size discrepancy had been resolved and DCA had approved the current application.

Rita Lee, the Director of Community Initiatives for Gerson’s office, spoke in opposition, claiming that Spitzer’s reneged on the 2007 agreement by operating its sidewalk cafe after the agreed upon hours. Lee stated that the restaurant had not been a “good neighbor,” noting that the State Liquor Authority had issued Spitzer’s four violations for underage drinking since June 2008.

Before recommending that the permit be denied, Chair Tony Avella said sidewalk cafes were a “privilege” bestowed by the Council to enhance and improve neighborhoods. Avella cited Spitzer’s past liquor violations, its inability to follow the 2007 permit requirements, and DCA’s revocation of that permit, as reasons why he could not support the application. The Subcommittee then voted unanimously to deny the permit.

Council: NYLA Cafe LLC d/b/a Spitzer’s Corner/101 Rivington Street (Aug. 20, 2009).

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