Friday, April 20, 2012

D'Amico To Anonymous 311 Caller In New Message: Stop Calling DEP And Fire Department

Joan d'Amico in her store

More problems for Joan and Frank D'Amico, Jr.,  and their wonderful old-fashioned Carroll Gardens coffee and specialty food store at 309 Court Street. You may remember that in early February, Joan taped a note on the store's window addressing the person(s) who made an anonymous complaint to 311 about the smell of roasting coffee, which wafts from the store when the coffee roaster is in use.
Joan's note reminded neighbors that, since 1948,  three generations of d'Amicos had operated the coffee business at this same location.
"We understand that not all people like the smell of roasting coffee." Joan wrote in that first note. "This is our business. If you have concerns with our roasting schedule, please, we invite you to come and talk to us. We hope we can work together to solve this issue."
The 311 had prompted a visit from an New York City's Department of Environmental Protection inspector, who told the d'Amicos that they may need a costly after-burner to reduce the smell.
Joan and Frank are currently taking steps to address the problem, but they need some time to figure out how to best deal with the situation.
However, the anonymous caller continues to lodge complaints with DEP.  In addition, the complainer has started to call the NYC Fire Department.  Last Thursday,  fireman from the Red Hook Fire House rushed to D'Amico's with sirens blaring.  Someone had called in a false alarm, claiming that there was smoke coming out of the store.
Now Joan has taped a second letter on the window.  It reads:
Ok.  You can stop calling DEP and the Fire Department.  We got your message.  Even though this will end up costing us thousands of dollars, you have given us no choice.  We have looked into the necessary requirements and are in the process of correcting the problem.  It will just take a little bit of time.  So please, stop the calls!!!! The fire department may miss a REAL call  while coming here for a "false alarm."  If you see smoke coming out of our chimney-call us.  718 875 5403.A visit to talk to us would have been the neighborly way to go, but unfortunately, that never happened.I hope that you are as concerned about everything  that takes place in OUR community!
Incredible, isn't it? The smell of d'Amico's roasting coffee is as integral to the neighborhood as the aroma of freshly baked bread and frying garlic.   It is difficult to understand that the aroma is driving someone to such extremes.
The anonymous caller may be interested to know that d'Amico's supplies the Red Hook firehouse.  "The firemen drink our coffee." Joan told me with a smile.


Anonymous said...

I am so sick of the idiots moving into this neighborhood and telling others what they can and can't do. If you don't like the smell coming from D'Amico, don't move into a home where you can smell it! Clearly the passive aggressive manner in which this moron complained shows they know others in the neighborhood would not have supported their moronic compulsion to bend the will of others to fit their own.

Anonymous said...

I thought calling in false fire alarms was illegal my whole life - can'y NYFD go give that person a talking to about doing that kind of stuff?

JayLos said...

This is absolutely ridiculous. First, it is the cowardly and inconsiderate way to address a concern with a neighborhood store. Secondly, the D'Amicos are correct, calling the fire department to respond to roasting coffee could have pulled the department away from a real emergency. That's just plain stupid. Finally...I'd bet every last dollar that the D'Amicos were in the neighborhood first. If "someone" doesn't like the smell, they shouldn't have moved right near a renowned coffee roaster. D'Amicos shouldn't have to acquiesce, the "someone" should. Suck it up or move somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

seems like the lesson here is that there has always been a way to eliminate complaints from many of the neighbors (other than calling them "newbies" or "liberals" or "yuppies"), but that d'amico's just didn't want to spend the money.

also it seems that they were obviously violating environmental regulations that are in place for a reason (or katia should we now selectively enforce those rules?).

Jay Molishever said...

This is serious. I used to be with the National Coffee Association in a previous career, and I recall that there was roaster on 4th Avenue that had been there for, like, a 100 years, who was forced to SHUT DOWN by complaints like this to city agencies. All those of us who know and love what D'Amico's symbolizes for the neighborhood should keep an eye on this and, if necessary, express support.

Anonymous said...

D'Ammico rocks! It is the type of fixture in this neighborhood that I strive for Shelsky's to be. What a shame that people feel the need to be so un-neighborly. Great response from the shop though! I love that I know when they are roasting and it is a beautiful smell.


Peter Shelsky

Anonymous said...

Shameful, as a newish resident of Carroll Gardens I find this behavior to be very embarrassing, and sad. We should organize a fund for D'Amico's for their afterburner. I'm shocked that this actually gained legs.


Anonymous said...

This is very upsetting.

BoCoCa will not be the place that it is today without all the shops, stores, bars and restaurants it has. It would be nice to support our own community and I certainly agree that whoever placed the "anonymous" phone call should go into the store and address the problems with the owners instead of calling 311.

Shame on you anonymous caller, I am sure that if this was your business you would not have liked an act like this...

Rob said...

Is someone calls in a false call to the fire dept, isn't that traceable?

Anonymous said...

What a drag.

Anonymous said...

Mr or Mrs Anonymous who keeps calling 311 and the Fire Department: Please do us all a favor and MOVE.

Anonymous said...

I agree. This Anonymous caller is probably complaining about the Gowanus Canal & pushing for the feds to get involved. I've always lived here & the Canal is part of the wonderful charm of this neighborhood!

Anonymous said...

without the smell of roasting coffee beans the neighborhood WILL CEASE TO EXIST!

Agnes said...

10:19 - what this has to do with the EPA cleanup of the Gowanus Canal is beyond me - I support the Feds cleaning up the canal, and I LOVE D"Amico's for their coffees and for hanging out in the back.

Anonymous said...

Playing devil's advocate on this issue will surely ruffle some feathers, but if the NYC Environmental Protection investigator stated d'Amico needs to install an after-burner, isn't the caller within their right to complain?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like the same person calling 911 and falsely reporting dog fights in Carroll Park. Is there anyway of fining this creep!

Anonymous said...

You guys are such fun! Multiple calls made to 311... you know those could be from different people, right? That is a possibility? I couldn't care less how long they've been there. That stuff reeks and it can be fixed. They said they would fix it no matter what... months ago.

Chicken Underwear said...

I thins I am going to go there and spend some money.

Maria Pagano said...

Dear Anon 5:54 "You guys are such fun":
Drop the attitude.
If there are a string of people making secret (i.e., anonymous) 311calls, as you so cleverly imply, isn't there one among them (hypothetically) who has the courtesy to:
1. Address the shop owners in person?
2. Recognize what everyone else has noticed, that the sign on the front of D'Amico's is clear and in English: fresh roast coffee. That's what the sign says they do. That's what the coffee roaster in the front window shows they do. Yup, that's what they do. As you clearly noted,it doesn't matter how long they've been doing it, really. That is what they do.
3. If all of the hypothetical 311 callers are upset by the fragrance of coffee roasting, take the simple suggestions made by so many others. You have chosen to live in a real place, where people work, not a SIMS game where you can design your own neighborhood.
4. I do understand the aggrieved responses, as the secretive neighbor has not acted in good faith. Anony is hiding. Not cool. Makes people defensive, like snipers that attack from hidey holes.
5. To suggest that coffee roasting requires gov't intervention beyond the myriad NYC statues, Health Dept rules and etc. borders on the ridiculous.
The complaint does bring to mind the reciprocal responsibility of an honest quality of life complaint. Has the complainant been responsible as a community member? Aware of his/her obligation to act in the best interest of the community he/she now lives in? Been fair to the target of his/her complaint? We, the people, expect him/her to be a good neighbor, at the very least. Treating the parties w/ respect and consideration- once again, if any of the hypothetical "others" who may/not have called 311, would step out of the shadows and initiate a conversation,the tension created by the secrecy might actually dissapate. Who knows- openness and friendliness might actually lead to a win-win.

Maria Pagano

Chicken Underwear said...


Anonymous said...

Such a sad thing to watch a glorious neighborhood like ours being turned into a playground for trust fund babies, clueless carpetbaggers and bar hopping hipsters. The only thing that smells bad to me is the attitude of the new element who are moving in with lots of $$$ but not an ounce of common sense about communal living in an urban space. D'amicos is willing to comply. so stop the phone calls already. You show an astounding lack of courtesy and neighborly spirit.

Greg Rubin said...

One thing is for sure - this person is definitely not a douchy hipster...they freakin' love anything nostalgic - which D'Amico's definitely is. My guess is it's the same uptight, obnoxious parent that dropped an anonymous print out onto my porch and then called the fire dept b/c I had a gas grill out there. (and left a straight-to-voicemail message with no name or return number when I said "please call me about this")

Passive - aggressiveness is a way of life for a lot of people in our neighborhood it seems. Sack up CG!

Anonymous said...

To "Maria Pagano",

I'm far from the only person in these comments with an "attitude." You need only read the very first comment to find it. The locals have been very vocal in not welcoming new people, or yuppies, or hipsters. No doubt you people resisted every new ethnicity that moved into the area as well. It was very classy what the neighborhood did when Mastellone's was sold to an Asian family.

As for the rest of your post... you've rehashed everything that's gone before, ignoring that D'Amico's had said they would get in compliance with the DOH guidelines, but haven't.

Personally, I can deal with the smell... of the coffee.

Yours, Anon 5:54

LesFleursDuMal said...

My wife and I could be called Yuppies. Or Hipsters. Or whatever as we are in our 30's, make decent money and are not from NYC. But in my 7 years in CG, I have learned that you get what you give. Take time to chat with the Espositos, the folks at D'Amico, John at Sal's PIzza, etc and become part of the neighborhood and they will show you love right back. Anon 5:54 with the smart ass "You guys are fun" smacks of some I banker who misses the joys of the frat house.

CGdino said...

LesFleursDuMal, you stole my comment! I suppose to the long-timers my husband and I are hipster/yuppies. Places like this make me love the neighborhood and I would never dream of calling 311 on them. It sucks that the actions of a few new and privileged arrivals to the neighborhood make a bad name for a large group of us. I proudly support and enjoy the longtime businesses of CG.

Anonymous said...

For many years I lived in the West Village where the aroma of roasting coffee from the Maxwell House plant across the river in New Jersey was one of the wonderful perks of living there. That, and the smell of Zito's bread on Bleecker street in the wee hours of the morning when we'd be coming home from a night out. When we moved to Carroll Gardens I was thrilled to walk outside one day to the aroma of roasting coffee once more. OK I get it, not everyone likes that smell, but really, considering some of the other smells that New Yorkers have to contend with, it seems like such a petty, narrow-minded, selfish action to harass a small neighborhood business like that. It almost makes me miss the local mob.