Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is Buschenschank Proving To Be A Rather Noisy Neighbor?

The first time I walked past Buschenschank at 320 Court Street, the newish pseudo-"Tyrolian" pub on Court Street on a recent balmy spring evening, I was amazed at the noise emanating out of the eatery's huge window openings. The conversation fragments, laughter and music could even be heard from at least a block away. No wonder. Since Buschenschank actually removes the entire window panels and leaves its doors wide open weather permitting, it becomes, in essence, a bit like an open-air beer garden.
That may be great fun for its patrons, but a real quality of life issue for those residents unlucky enough to have to listen to the noise.
According to NYC Department Of Environmental Protection's rules a restaurant or bar's doors and windows are to be kept closed at all times to prevent noise from escaping onto the sidewalk. Perhaps the owners of Buschenschank are not aware of this? (See video below)
And the problem could become worse. Buschenschank is currently in the process of requesting a Sidewalk Café license to add 18 sidewalk tables and 48 chairs around the periphery of the restaurant.
Imagine the noise level with all those additional tables and chairs.
One of Buschenschank neighbors just reached out to me and writes:
"I'm curious if there has been any news about Buschenschank located at the corner of Court and Sackett. In November when they opened I didn't predict that they would create an open air restaurant/bar by removing ALL of their windows. The noise has really increased since the warm weather and I'm not opening my front windows yet. They do put the windows in at 11pm but loud smokers are in and out until 2am.
On Friday of last week I received a certified letter from Huitres Inc at 320 Court street, which is Buschenschank, stating that as result of their application for a sidewalk cafe license the Department of Consumer Affairs required they alert neighbors who live within 50 feet of that address.
I'm curious if you've received any feedback from neighbors about how they feel about Buschenschank, their open windows and now this new sidewalk cafe news.
I know I live in a very urban area and in the end I'm not sure what I can do about the addition to new bars in the neighborhood. I've started wearing earplugs every night and I'm really worried for when the temperatures get warmer and I'll have to open the windows at night - My husband and I are preparing to keep the AC on in the bedroom each evening during the summer."
A meeting regarding Buschenschank's Sidewalk Café licence in front of Community Board 6 has been scheduled for April 23rd at 6:30pm at Prospect Park YMCA located at 357 9th Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues) on the 7th Floor. If neighbors cannot come to the meeting they can email

It may also be of interest that the building housing Buschenschank has quite a number of open NYC Building's Department violations. Perhaps it would be reasonable to ask Buschenschank to first clear those violations and keep its windows and doors closed as per DEP rules, before granting them a sidewalk café license.

And lastly, it may interest Buschenschank that even its patrons don't seem to enjoy its music to the volume very much either.
One reviewer on Yelp complained of their "terrible loud generic indie crap music" and another commented that "they have some serious issues with the music. I was there the other evening and our group had to leave because the music was so loud. As in shouting across the table to hear loud. To top it off, it was just really bad aggressive newish rock music that I would assume 19 year old boys in fraternities must listen to."

Video taken at a 2010 CB6 informational meeting about rules governing bars and restaurants.

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Batman said...

I'm shocked!

An operator who doesn't pay taxes, ties his daughter up in mortgage fraud and operates the rowdiest bar in the 'hood (and the pizza place open the latest) opens a new bar...and it is rowdy? Pushing the limits?

Shocked, SHOCKED!

But really, come on. It's Court Street. This isn't Henry or a Place block we're talking about. It's Court Street across from a funeral parlor and in what used to be Off Track Betting. A little sanity, please.

Anonymous said...

True, it is Court st. But an ex-girlfriend lives above Jakewalk on Smith and has never had to complain...

CG since before ST. Agnes said...

Katia - THIS is the kind of issue that we're proud of you for addressing. It's about lowering our quality of life in C.G. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Batman - although I live over 5 blocks away, I still feel that the neighbor was right to be concerned. Having the sides of the building open willonly lead to BEER, etc. being passed outside to under aged drinkers and, at best, will continue to bring down the quality of life in C.G.

happy couple on henry street said...

I agree with Batman...It's Court Street. Let's think of the about another closed up boarded up store-front on Court Street! If you haven't noticed, there's plenty...oh yes, and there is plenty of quiet that comes with that too.

If you live on or very close to Court Street/Smith Street, what do you expect?

Why not support the stores that invest in our neighborhood instead of nit-picking noise levels, coffee odors, and so on.

And look what happens to the nice quiet establishment on Degraw/Clinton specializing in delicious mac/n/cheese...'spring cleaning'...please...there closed b/c of lack of n'borhood support.

Don't cook the goose that lays the golden eggs...


Timothy Reed said...

Abeline is another bar that opens its windows and, while much smaller than Buschenschank, is incredibly loud and can be heard from a block away. At least their music is better than Buschenschank's.

Anonymous said...

I can not understand why they didn't just put in clear glass windows that open... They could have achieved the same effect, cut down on noise, and it would be a lot less effort than taking out the windows every day. So bizarre.

And I agree with the Court Street comment. Come on..

LesFleursDuMal said...

HCOH-- I feel you about supporting local businesses. But the issue with Buschensank is not so much the open windows but the TREMENDOUSLY HIGH VOLUME that the music is played at. Think Saturday night on the main drag in your college town-That kind of loud. People move to Brooklyn so as to NOT be on the Lower East Side or the Meatpacking. Business owners should respect that. This ain't burned coffee we're talking about . . .

Trumbull Bully said...

I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. For all the talk on this blog of supporting local businesses, you have a weird way of showing it. This place is a bar on one of the major arteries in the neighborhood, and a pretty unique bar at that. Ever since the weather got good and the windows went out, this seems to be the place to be. It's busy, and I imagine its success will spill over into some other local establishments. I'm a younger CG resident, so my opinions may differ from some of the other readers of this blog, but I think 11 PM is pretty reasonable to put the windows back up. Seems like they're being very neighborly already. This kind of post reeks of what's going on at D'Amico's. Rather than complaining on here and going directly to the CB, why not speak to the restaurant directly? This passive aggressiveness never ends well. Why not be neighborly?

Anonymous said...

The noise emanating from this place is the least of their problems. The menu sucks, the staff is inept and snotty, and the prices are ambitious - to say the least. While they don't have a problem getting people through the door now, give them a year. They will not last and the noise will just be a distant memory.

Carol Gerdens said...

This is the absolute LOUDEST bar that has ever come to Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens. I include everything on Smith and Court including Gowanus Yacht Club and Abilene. I could not believe how loud it was a few weeks ago when we had an unusually warm Saturday night. Obviously the owner does not care at all about being a decent neighbor. And as far as the Mac and Cheese place, I would not assume it is closed--although it is a weird space to make work financially so who knows? It was usually pretty busy and did a good takeout trade. There are lots of thriving restaurants and bars around here so it is NOT true that people don't support local business--see Farmacy, brucie, Buttermilk Channel, Frankie's, Lucali's, Alma, Watty and Meg, etc. etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

That side walk cafe is going to put a damper on all the Buschenshankers who like to hang out of the windows at meal time. Keep it classy, BK.

Robin said...

I heard James McGown gave all the other tenants in the building das boot. Wonder what his plans are for the upper levels.

Caroll G. said...

Beginning in the afternoon (when absolutely no one is dining in), the bass from Bshank's awful music can be heard down the block. I suppose awful is subjective, but Katia's right. Yelp reviewers agree that the "dj" can't pick 'em. Add to that the intoxicated patrons having cigarettes and loud arguments on the sidewalk well past midnight. The crowd at Jake Walk and BGH is far more respectful - and those establishments are much more fun, too.

Anonymous said...

Why not moderate the noise a bit, for the sake of both the patrons and the neighbors? Open a few windows, turn down the music by half. A middle ground seems fair on Court St. There's no need for commenters to take an absolute stand on this, either pro or con.

The place seemed a welcome addition to the neighborhood at first, but we stopped going when we found it impossible to hold a conversation over our fairly tasty German beers and quite good burgers. We were told by the bartender that the owner doesn't allow them to turn the music down. This happened repeatedly.

Clearly they are after a certain party atmosphere, which no doubt they'll get. But still, it's crummy for all but the diehard folks in a shouting mood, and must be awful for people who live along Court or near Court on the adjoining streets. A very nice waitress was quite apologetic about it; no doubt she'll be deaf if she works there long.

Thanks for covering this.

Anonymous said...

Loud music where you can't hear people in your own party should almost certainly be lowered, but the person is also complaining about smokers outside on the sidewalk. Maybe they should look at moving to Clinton or Henry or New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

The owner of Buschenschank also owned a rowdy sex club in a residential neighborhood of Manhattan that bothered his neighbors:

Anonymous said...

It was not a bother to the nabe when it was an OTB. I wish it were an OTB again.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the rare but true regulars at this place. The music absolutely is too damn loud. I'm out of there by 8pm on Fridays and I won't go by at all on Saturday or Sunday. It's impossible to have a conversation when they have it going full blast... but earlier in the day the level is much lower. Their pizza is excellent, their pretzels are great and cheap... and the staff are very nice. If they could just turn down the music we'd be all set. Beer being passed out the windows? Whaa?

Anonymous said...

A couple things to comment on. I don't know what kind of indie crap you listen to, but I'd say anyplace that plays radiohead, pixies, beck, tv on the radio, white stripes, has a pretty good playlist. And ambitious menu prices, where did you move to New York from? Montana. I walk by here a couple times every night and have yet to see a loud argument. If you old people want a nice candlelight dinner, try casa rosa, I can guarantee their menu sucks, and they will probably play some nice Sinatra for you, not that there's anything wrong with Sinatra. This was an article about windows, right?

Anonymous said...

To the people who say 'Common it's COURT street': SOME of us LIVE on this street, and when we moved into the neighborhood decades ago, we did not sign up for late into the night carousing noise. Just as you seem to revel in your quiet on Henry street, we would like to be able to come home after a long work day, and have some peace and quiet BEFORE midnight. I'd be very interested to know what you'd say if this place opened in your building under your windows. With people smoking, talking loudly on cellphones, and screaming drunkenly, like they do at Marco Polo's many nights...way past midnight. Guess you'd love and support that, yes?

Anonymous said...

You know..if people are going to complain about the noise from this, then I'm going to complain about the roasted coffee smell. I mean, come on. The noise isn't that bad. Its just a bunch of old people complaining because thats what their life is all about... finding something in the neighborhood to complain about.

Anonymous said...

If I lived on Court or Smith Streets, decades or days ago, which have commercial zoning and are the center of commercial activity for the community, and I didn't like commercial activity, I would consider NOT living on Court or Smith Streets!

Time does not freeze when you move into a neighborhood. Businesses and times change. Someone who prefers the OTB, or the vacant storefront, to a relatively thriving business, does not want to see businesses that cater to the changing clientele found in the community succeed.

Unfortunately, not every business can be Caputo's or D'Amico's.

We have to be ok with this, or we sound (as many of these commentators do) like whiny, NIMBY isolationists!

Linda Piro said...

Hello there Court Street residents welcome to our world on Smith Street with all of the restaurants and outdoor seating and not to mention the bars with back yards which we constantly hear laughing,talking and voices galore. We have to put the air condition on when we simply would love to open a window for some fresh air and save on Con ed bill just to fall asleep. Also whats with all the Anonymous postings say who you are...

Anonymous said...

James McGown is a small time hoodlum who's MO is to open a business, run it into the ground, declare bankruptcy. Stop. And repeat. The fact that this guy even got a liquor license reeks of payola at all levels. Having said all that, if you don't mind having a heart attack and going deaf at the same time, there are some damn good sausages in that place.

Nosy Neighbor said...

Not really related to the question of noise (although I am reasonably young, reasonably new to the neighborhood and still think the music at that place is unreasonably loud) but: does anyone know what goes on in the basement?

osb48 said...

for those who follow this sort of thing, Intersting article on McGown and his bullying tactics elsewhere in the city.

Katia said...

Now you have my interest. Is there something going on in Buschenschank's basement?

Anonymous said...

The basement is for private parties, and chef tastings/wine dinners, it is very nice, and also boasts a cozy fire place and nice bar.

I agree with anon 9:05, time does not freeze when you move into a nieghborhood four decades ago. If it were not for the thriving businesses and influx of new younger residents, your brownstone would still be worth $200K instead of $1.2M

Anonymous said...

Jake walk has an open door on the side and cafe tables. So does bar great Harry. There is no thumping music. That cruikshank place or whatever it is called, with the Third Reich logo, is pushing it. Removing windows ? Regardless of what is cross the street, that noise will wake the dead. I live 3 blocks from it and voices carry.
It's a matter of time before they comply. Look at those poor people who fought that club on Union Street and 5th ave? what a saga.

Anonymous said...

Hahahah. "Montana"?!? Obviously you've never been there. I'll restrain on commenting on your other nasty, skarky remarks.

Anonymous said...

Too many cranks in CG complaining about local business. "This bar is too loud" "D'Amico's coffee smells bad" etc. You live in a CITY, folks, if you don't like it, move to the country (or at least off court street). No sympathy for the whiners, who I suspect are all over 50, and resent the youth having fun.

Anonymous said...

The influx of new businesses and young people is not the problem. New businesses and young people have been coming to this neighborhood forever. The problem arises when they exhibit total disregard for others, whether it's noise, pounding ear-splitting music til all hours of the night, garbage, or urinating in people's doorways and on cars. What kind of behavior is that, and why should ANYONE tolerate it? Can you answer that question perhaps? Come on. We don't have "to be OK with this." You also don't have to be "over 50" to want to enjoy your home in relative peace and quiet. There are plenty of people UNDER 50 who struggle to get their small children to sleep only to have them awakened by the din AND those people who have to rise very early to get to jobs that start while most of us are still asleep...or trying to sleep. Get a grip and admit that such inconsiderate behavior is wrong, and be a good neighbor instead. That's not asking for too much.

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

There is two issues here, disturbance of the peace and bad music. Time to speak up people.

Anonymous said...

Turn your hearing aids down!

CG Born said...

Speaking of Marco Polo...

How did they get the OK to have tables outside of thier restaurant?
They ALREADY have that DOME that cuts 6 feet into the sidewalk PLUS they added planters outside of that.
There's NO Room to walk along Marco Polo already, so where do they put the tables? Talk about Pay Off's.

CG since before St. Agnes said...

It's NOT about young people, or new business...
It's about Rules, Regulations, Zoning and Enforcement.

New People - Great!
New Business - Great!
But, the NEW people & businesses MUST follow the law.
Older residents need to realize that just "because it didn't happen before" doesn't mean it's against the law.

Should new businesses be Good Neighbors - of course, but no one can force them to put politeness before profits.

That Said: New Businesses MUST obey the law. If they are going to 'write off thier violations as Business Expenses' they have that right - up to a point.

However, it all comes down to enforcement. What Old Timers aren't considering (and New Businesses are COUNTING-ON) is that there are no regular Foot Patrols in C.G. any more. The police cruise around with their windows closed while they look down at thier laps playing on thier black-berry or iPhone. We've all seen this - day after day, after day.

ALL businesses should follow ALL the laws - I don't care if it's "German Burkenstocks" or "Irish Jake Talks" or "Italian Marcus Pollio" - They must ALL be held to the same standard.
If McGown is a Sex Fiend - call the proper authorities.
If people pee on the sidewalk -call the proper authorities.
If a dog poops on a kids head in the park - call the proper authorities.
If a bar is creating noise pollution - call the proper authorities.
If dogs are pulling down the "No Dogs Allowed" signs - call the proper authorities.
If someone breaks a law - call the authorities.
Katia is not a cop! Pardon Me For Asking is just a place to give people a voice. But posting here is NOT excuse you from performing your civic duty: Call The Proper Authorities!

Note: The PROPER Authorites aren't always the police.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one highly disturbed by the nazi-reminiscing logo of this place??

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

NYC Health Ratings
Get NYC Health Violation Ratings for the restaurants you eat at.
Brooklyn Buschenschank
Brooklyn, NY 11231 Phone: (718) 237 0325
As of: 2012-07-17 00:00:00

Inspection: 2012-07-17 00:00:00
Score: 54
Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained and/or not properly sealed, raised, spaced or movable to allow accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above and underneath the unit.
Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.

Katia said...

Wow. Not surprised. How can you keep flied out when all the windows are open?

Anonymous said...

I see that recently the FDNY and the DOB have stated that there may be structural issues with the building due to, yet more, construction without permits or approval.
Diners beware.