Monday, June 03, 2013

Video By 'We Are Gowanus' Shows Potential Impact Of Peter Shapiro's Rock And Roll Playhouse On Its Neighbors

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280 Bond Street in Gowanus
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Open space attached to 280 Bond Street
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Members of We Are Gowanus collecting signatures for petition this past Saturday


Since learning of Peter Shapiro's plans to turn an industrial warehouse at 280 Bond Street into The Rock & Roll Playhouse (RRPH), opposition from area residents against the venue has been mounting

Homeowners on Sackett and Degraw Street, whose property abut the 6,570 SF building, first got wind of the proposed venue in late April, when they received a certified letter from Burda Construction Company indicating that work to turn the warehouse "into a theatre and a restaurant that will include daily programing for children 10 and younger" would commence shortly.

To better understand the plans, the homeowners reached out to Amy Striem, RRPH's executive director. When Striem indicated that Shapiro, who also owns Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg and the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, would be applying for a full liquor license as well as a Place Of Assembly Certificate, they ask for a meeting with Shapiro.

The meeting between residents, Shapiro, Striem, Larry Burda of Burda Construction and Devlin Goldberg, the Children's Program Curriculum Director, took place on May 14th, 2013. Father Robert Powers of nearby St. Agnes Church was also present.

During their conversation, homeowners learned that besides the kids classes and family-friendly programming,  Shapiro intends to operate an over-21 jazz club after 8 PM that would offer live music seven days a week and feature a full bar with a last call at 1:30 AM, 2 AM on week-ends.

The residents also learned that Shapiro had no plans to soundproof either the inside or the outside walls of the brick warehouse, though the building extends deep into the backyards of several homes on Degraw and Sackett Streets. To make matters worse, the music stage will be placed at the back of the building, closest to the residential buildings.  In addition, Shapiro plans on installing large doors between the building and a large 3686 SF outdoor space.

In response to the initial misrepresentation of the project and of Shapiro's disregard for their concerns, the residents have joined together and have formed We Are Gowanus. In an impressive effort to protect their quality of life, they have reached out to the community and local business owners and have collected over 600 signatures so far.

They have just released the video above, showing the impact of the Rock & Roll Playhouse on the neighborhood.
From We Are Gowanus:
"The animation is based entirely on plans submitted to the NYC Dept. of Buildings. Everything is to scale. The purpose of the video is to help folks in the neighborhood visualize Shapiro's plans. The animation is based entirely on the plans he submitted to the DOB. Everything is to scale. The building is HUGE and can fit a lot of people. This is its real, legal occupancy potential. The video makes the fact clear: It's location on a residential block is entirely inappropriate."

To refute Peter Shapiro's recent assertions that RRPH will primarily be a" family-focused destination", WAG has also sent PMFA the following statement:

Father Powers was one of many citizens who heard Mr. Shapiro lay out his plans on May 14, plans supported by Mr. Shapiro’s own filings at the Department of Buildings. Mr. Shapiro is being disingenuous when he tells Daily News readers and the public in general that his Rock & Roll Playhouse will be a small family-friendly venue focused on childhood education. Such a child-centered venue does not need a full liquor license, which Mr. Shapiro is seeking, and cater to the 21-and-up crowd, which Mr. Shapiro has said it will.

Father Power’s comments follow below:
On May 14, I was invited to a meeting with neighbors whose homes on the block are closest to 280 Bond Street and with Peter Shapiro and his staff, and I attended the 90 minute meeting. One of the two churches of my parish, St. Agnes, is on the block. 
I don't hang out in nightclubs but Mr. Shapiro's description of what Rock n Roll Playhouse will be after 8 PM---jazz shows with a full service bar that will close at 1:30 AM on weeknights and 2 AM on weeknights--sounds like a nightclub. I was surprised to see the statement attributed to him in the online version of the Daily News today: "This is not a nightclub." 
My neighbors' concerns are legitimate: noise from patrons leaving the venue; noise from an old brick building that has no soundproofing; discrepancies between Mr. Shapiro's claims of an occupancy of 200 and the building's and property's square footage that could potentially hold hundreds more. This nightclub could ruin the tranquility of this neighborhood, and my neighbors deserve better. 
Father Robert M. Powers 
Administrator,  Parish of St. Paul &  St. Agnes

You can reach We Are Gowanus via their new website here.
You can find the group's new Facebook page here.
And if you would like to sign their petitions, click here.





11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is just another example of a dishonest business owner saying one thing and doing another. Reminds me of Café Perks on Smith. Opened as a coffee shop and within a week became a night club complete with shootings, sights and a very loud crowd.

Anonymous said...

everyone should just move to the countryside for peace and quiet!

Anonymous said...

Do birds really sing at night?
Regardless, this shows a hideous addition to the neighborhood. Shapiro is a liar.

Anonymous said...

Please see the below correspondence just received in my inbox:

Dear Constituents,

Following the receipt of community concerns regarding a proposed venue at 280 Bond Street – The Rock & Roll Playhouse – my office met with Amy Striem and Peter Shapiro – the venue’s principals.

After reading community feedback circulated via this petition and hearing from Amy and Peter, I thought it best to ensure that the community was receiving the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the plans and logistics for the proposed venue. I encourage you to read their venue fact sheet at: http://therockandrollplayhouse.com.

If you would like to share your opinions with me, or have any further suggestions regarding the proposed operations of this venue, please do not hesitate to contact Kai Feder at kfeder@brooklynbp.nyc.gov.

Sincerely,

Marty Markowitz

Anonymous said...

In an open statement, Father Robert Powers has rebutted the claims Peter Shapiro recently made to The New York Daily News in their piece — “Owner of Brooklyn Bowl stirring up some Gowanus residents with kiddie music venue that includes a bar.” Father Powers was one of many citizens who heard Mr. Shapiro lay out his plans on May 14, plans supported by Mr. Shapiro’s own filings at the Department of Buildings. Mr. Shapiro is being disingenuous when he tells Daily News readers and the public in general that his Rock & Roll Playhouse will be a small family-friendly venue focused on childhood education. Such a child-centered venue does not need a full liquor license, which Mr. Shapiro is seeking, and cater to the 21-and-up crowd, which Mr. Shapiro has said it will. Father Power’s comments follow below.

On May 14, I was invited to a meeting with neighbors whose homes on the block are closest to 280 Bond Street and with Peter Shapiro and his staff, and I attended the 90 minute meeting. One of the two churches of my parish, St. Agnes, is on the block.

I don't hang out in nightclubs but Mr. Shapiro's description of what Rock n Roll Playhouse will be after 8 PM---jazz shows with a full service bar that will close at 1:30 AM on weeknights and 2 AM on weeknights--sounds like a nightclub. I was surprised to see the statement attributed to him in the online version of the Daily News: "This is not a nightclub."

My neighbors' concerns are legitimate: noise from patrons leaving the venue; noise from an old brick building that has no soundproofing; discrepancies between Mr. Shapiro's claims of an occupancy of 200 and the building's and property's square footage that could potentially hold hundreds more. This nightclub could ruin the tranquility of this neighborhood, and my neighbors deserve better.

Father Robert M. Powers
Administrator
Parish of St. Paul & St. Agnes

Gowanus Neighbor said...

On the DOB permits that are linked to in this article, it says the occupancy is 96 for the theater and 66 for eating.. Is there something I am missing. This just seems so nimby to me.

Margaret Agnes said...

Nimby is good. There are some things that really should not be in your back yard! This is one of them.

Anonymous said...

This is not NIMBY. Nothing wrong with people protecting their property values and quality of life. Some homeowners may also need rental income and apartments next to an outdoor concert venue may be difficult to rent.

Anonymous said...

Of course this is completely NIMBY but in the right kind of way. I know exactly how the tenants on this block feel. The back of my house is on the courtyard that now houses the Zombie Hut and Wing Bar. Late night drinking in the backyards of these venues have have made it impossible to enjoy my backyard between May and October. Zombie Hut happens to provide a modicum of respect to its neighbors by closing the backyard on weeknights at 11 and midnight on weekends. But the roar of a large crowd enjoying themselves on a Saturday night makes it impossible for me to relax queitly on my deck.

I think it is very telling that Shapiro purposely mischaracterized the nature of his venue. If he had thought there would have been support for his proposal, he would have been upfront.

There seem to be two points of leverage here:

1) With Department of Buildings to determine if the construction permits have been issued properly and then when he attempts to secure a C of O.
2) When Mr. Shapiro appears before the Community Board to seek a liquor license. His actions to date should speak volumes. Testify against his application.

Anonymous said...

As somebody who lives in the neighborhood and enjoys music, nightclubs and generally living in an urban environment rather than the suburbs, I really don't see what is so awful about a jazz club - jazz! - that will have last call at 1:30 on weeknights.

And honestly, the protests about this could not get more NIMBY, they are literally complaints about how music will be happening in people's back yards.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:06 pm

Why do you say "Jazz?" I think the club is called the Rock and Roll Playhouse, not the Jazz Playhouse. Are you going to believe what Shapiro says or what he does?

This is absolutely not a question of suburbs vs. city. As you may know, this block is now zoned residential. Shapiro's proposed use is allowed under the grandfathered old zoning. We have zoning in NYC to try to keep the appropriate mix of commercial, residential, industrial, entertainment, etc. If this was my block, of course I wouldnt want it in my back yard.