Notes From The Public Safety Committee (NSFW)

August 1, 2008 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 

I was present at last night’s Public Safety Committee meeting at Community Board 1. What’s more, I even presented some material (with hilarious results, as you will see). But since I have been sick with some kind of stomach bug and consequently spent most of yesterday convalescing*/preparing for this event, I will keep it as short and sweet as possible.

The meeting convened at 6:45 p.m. and the chairman, Mieszko Kalita, noted the astonishing number of people present. A few were journos (I spied a reporter for the Brooklyn Paper), a few more were upset (and rightfully so) about hazardous conditions for pedestrians on Vandervoort near Beadel Street, but most were there for the main event: Studio B’s cabaret license hearing.

Studio B’s talking head/legal counsel, Ken Fisher presented a letter written by Susan Kowal, a neighbor of said establishment. It outlined seven points to alleviate the public nuisance issues pertaining to their business. They were as follows:

  1. The issue of soundproofing, namely the rooftop garden.
  2. Permanent signage admonishing patrons to be considerate of their neighbors.
  3. The installation of double doors on the first floor as an extra sound-proofing measure.
  4. A supervised smoking pen to be installed and enforced in front of said establishment.
  5. Studio B will do regular trash sweeps of of Calyer and Banker Street.
  6. A security force (provided by Studio B) will be put in place to deter patrons from loitering on adjacent properties.
  7. Enclosed garbage containers will be put in place in lieu of garbage bags.

In a very welcome act of good faith Studio B acquiesced to points number 1-6. Their representative, Ken Fisher, stated that they were barred by law in regards point number 7 (make note of this, it becomes relevant later). Mr. Fisher also noted that Studio B has ceased using the rooftop garden as of July 23, 2008. A number of people (myself included) pointed out that the reason this came to pass is because the Mayor’s Office for Special Enforcement closed it down. On July 23rd. Undeterred, Mr. Fisher emphasized that Studio B is awaiting inspections from the Fire Department and Department of Buildings regarding the premises.

Dennis Fulton, the new(ish) precinct captain of the 94th Precinct was not only present, but had a few things to say as well. First he noted that Ms. Kowal’s letter was very well written and applauded Studio B’s efforts to make concessions to their neighbors. Then he made note that Studio B had no significant uptick in complaints lodged for the last two months. This was disputed by neighbors of Studio B present who stated they were discouraged by 311 employees from filing a complaint where there was already one extant (for any particular evening). Mr. Fulton was (understandably) befuddled by this revelation and assured everyone present they were more than welcome to contact the precinct directly at (718) 383-3879. This was very welcome news.

Captain Fulton had a few questions for Studio B. They were as follows:

  1. The smoking pen and its parameters. Chairman Kalita pointed out as long as it only extended three feet from the building, it was perfectly legal.
  2. Upon hearing from Mr. Fisher there would be no live performances or dancing on the second floor, Mr. Fulton asked if there were speakers (to play music) on the second floor. Mr. Fisher answered in the affirmative— but said they would be willing to stop playing music at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. It was made known by several people present that Studio B often doesn’t start events until 10:00 p.m.

And of course, the “owner” spoke. One of them, anyway.

She too mentioned the above-listed seven points and said they even invited neighbors to a barbecue on their rooftop garden to discuss issues. Caryn Rose noted this meeting came to pass on their illegally built, yet-to-be-legally-sanctioned rooftop garden. The owner had no rebuttal to this. Said owner also waxed sanguinely about how long it takes for the city to approve building permits, certificates of occupancies and such. To wit it was suggested by several people present, quite vocally, that Studio B should wait like everyone else. Once again, the owner had no answer.

Pro: Studio B had a few people on hand to attest to the validity of their institution. The first, a chap with a clearly visible trace of a black eye, attested that he lived behind Studio B and had never heard anything. He made it a point to question the verity of statements lodged by his neighbors attesting that there was indeed, a noise problem. He was told by the Mr. Kalita that he was there to state his case, not ask questions. This same chap later professed to speak on the behalf of several people in his building but failed to provide names. When asked about the woman who sat next to him, he said it was his girlfriend and she lived with him. Go figure.

Another woman said she liked going there. A late-coming gent stated that Studio B’s presence provided jobs/income to the community. Given that there are MAYBE 2-3 late night delis and everything else closes at 11:00 p.m.— at the latest— I and a number of other people found his argument to be rather tenuous at best.

Con: The usual suspects… and others. After applauding the measures Studio B seemed to be willing to take regarding noise and garbage, it was pretty much the same complaints I have heard before. All of which were (and are) very legitimate:

  1. Why should Studio B be awarded a cabaret license when they have broken the law repeatedly?
  2. They’re operating as if they have a cabaret license already thus said hearing was a farce.
  3. Studio B was having an event that very evening at 8:00 p.m.

Then came forth the others:

  1. Dewey Thompson, a member of Community Board 1 (but not a member of the Public Safety Committee) noted that securing a cabaret license was a privilege, not a right. And given Studio B’s abysmal track record he was against them being awarded a cabaret license.
  2. Me. But I will leave that for last. When asked by Chairman Kalita if he had anything in the way of a rebuttal regarding what I presented, Mr. Fisher said he would wait until the end of the hearing.
  3. After some discussion about the Vandervoort traffic situation, Mr. Kalita asked if anyone else had anything to say about Studio B. Someone did: an architect who consults businesses as to the zoning regulations and legal requirements needed to set up businesses. His specialty was eating and drinking establishments. First, he noted that the second floor had no legal certificate of occupancy. With a fussing baby in one hand and a rather thick Department of Buildings memo in another he then pointed out to Ken Fisher that Public Assembly permits and a Fire Protection Plan are required of businesses whose size exceeds seven floors or whose Certificate of Occupancy exceeds 300 people. Since Studio B’s first floor allowed 461 people, they did, indeed, fall into this category. He offered this pamphlet to Mr. Fisher**. This chap then commenced to speak but Ken Fisher cut him off. And as a result, Mr. Fisher was severely reprimanded by chairman Kalita. His right to speak having been restored, he went on the record to say that given their lack of respect for the law there was no good reason Studio B should be awarded a cabaret license.***

Shortly thereafter were entertained with some Sophistry:

Ken Fisher (This is paraphrased— Ed. Note): Studio B already has a cabaret license under the previous owner.
Chairman Kalita: You cannot drive a car using someone else’s license.
Ken Fisher: You can drive another person’s car if it has been inspected.
Chairman Kalita: (disgusted)
Angry Studio B Neighbors: It (Studio B— Ed. Note) hasn’t been inspected.

In what I would surmise to be a last gasp effort to bully the detractors present, Mr. Fisher said if the board didn’t give the green light for Studio B’s cabaret license with conditions (points #1- 6) they might be dropped when the Department of Consumer Affairs makes their decision.

It went on. And on. Conditions (for the go-ahead) were discussed, but I suppose I should go into my contribution to this hearing (which precedes this dung heap).

What gets me about this whole Studio B thing is no one seems to care about the people actually patronizing this establishment, so I fashioned my presentation accordingly.

1. I recalled watching a fist fight during their Grand Theft Auto IV release shin dig. This came to pass at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. I clearly remember their security person getting on his walkie talkie and saying everything was “OK”. It wasn’t. The police were called to break it up.

2. I professed to have no knowledge as to what Studio B, as a nightclub, is entitled to do. But I noted that they have conducted a number of roller derbies and at one such event a woman broke her arm. After drinking “four shots of whiskey”, no less. Good people make bad decisions under the influence. Why didn’t Studio B employees bar this poor woman from participating?!? If not out of the kindness of their hearts, out of fear of legal liability?

3. You know we’re living in troubled times when I quote from the Brooklyn Paper.

Miss Heather:

Ken Fisher was quoted this week in the Brooklyn Paper as saying: We’re very conscious of the fact that not everybody is respectful of the neighbors when they come to and from the club, but that’s not necessarily within the club’s control.

Does Studio B even bother to control their patrons? I don’t think so. If anything, they are enablers.

Exhibit A: gleaned from Studio B’s very own MySpace page.

As you can see on the tabs in this screencap, I was getting my fix of Britney gossip today. She’s looking good. The same cannot be said about the topless person in this YouTube flick (which has been removed). Bummer.

Exhibit B: More boobies courtesy of “Fun At Studio B”!

At the very bottom Collin (LaFleche) promises more pix. I clicked and he delivered!

After I showed the above goodness to the Public Safety Committee (and noted it came from Studio B’s own photographer) I wistfully noted that I was not as “free-spirited” as this woman. Perhaps I should be? Perhaps I will be. Tomorrow, as Scarlett O’Hara said, is another day!

Not knowing what audience I was talking to (that being the Public Safety Committee of Community Board 1) I thought I should include a few goodies for the ladies.

Exhibit C: Banker Street Booty

Once again, Collin delivered.

Nice tooshie.

I forgot to mention that these photographs were taken on May 3, 2008. The day after they opened their rooftop garden. Oh well.

I can kick myself for overlooking this beauty. Oh well, here it is for posterity. These kids sure have a hard time keeping their clothes on (and wiping their asses)!

4. I brought up the troublesome (and yes, BORING) issue of Studio B being caught with over 650 people in a space sanctioned for 461. I made light of their trying to get the rooftop terrace approved for 173 people. If Studio B has packed over 650 people in a space designated for 461 people, what will they do if/when they are allowed to have 634 people in their haven? What fire plan do they have in place? (ANSWER: NONE) How will patrons egress or EMS or New York’s Bravest be able to enter under the current conditions? I made it very clear I did not want this to happen here.

5. I could not refrain from bringing this up. I wanted it to be on public record. I even said so. I asked the people representing Studio B what kind of place they were running. I don’t know— and given their slack jawed expressions I don’t think they know either.

When all was said and done, Ken Fisher had nothing in the way of a rebuttal to what I (and more importantly, everyone else) presented. We got obfuscation, petulance, arrogance and bullshit in return. I guess that’s what Studio B is paying Mr. Fisher “the big bucks” to do.

Mr. Kalita was more than a little angry when he tendered his decisive vote against recommending Studio B’s cabaret license. First he re-read Susan Kowal’s letter. Then he pointed out that Studio B can indeed have a garbage container and if they bothered to consult the Department of Sanitation’s web site they’d know why.****

What’s next: the Executive Committee of Community Board 1 will conduct a session this month (August) and have yet another vote about Studio B’s license. Since it is an Executive Committee meeting (because CB 1 is on vacation in August) there will be no opportunity for public comment.

And I have no doubt Studio B postponed their initial hearing for a cabaret license for just this reason!

In closing, there are many lessons to be learned from what I beheld last night. Too many to mention, but here are a few:

  • Don’t fuck with Mieszko Kalita. He might be sweet and jovial behind the counter at Beata Delicatessen (he is, I know) but he has a zero bullshit tolerance as the head of the Public Safety Committee.
  • If you are paid lobbyist/attorney (KEN FISHER), do NOT interrupt a Greenpoint citizen who is trying to speak with a fussy baby in tow. Especially if he is as qualified, if not more so, than you regarding such vagaries as Public Assembly Permits and Fire Plans.
  • Bluffing and strong-arming pisses people off. ESPECIALLY GREENPOINTERS. (KEN FISHER)
  • Posting photos on the Internet of people inside and outside your establishment exposing themselves is rock-ass stupid. Captain Fulton certainly found what I presented interesting.

Miss Heather

UPDATE: It looks like Studio B will not be open tonight. They moved their show for this evening to Southpaw.

Photo Credits: (all save the photo gracing the beginning of this post) Collin LaFreche and Studio B.

*A nice way of saying spending most of my day in the bathroom. I will spare you the details. This post is too damned long already!

**He accepted it and later threw it in the garbage. Mr. Fisher said their architect had a different idea.

***Here’s what he had to say about the experience:

That Ken Fischer sure is a douche. I really enjoyed handing him that DOB memo. I was a bit nervous and my voiced cracked (which is unusual), but what a great pastime. I could get into community board meetings.

****They cannot keep the container on the street, after being emptied they have to keep it on their premises.

P.S.: No Twinkies were hurt or otherwise consumed during the above hearing or the writing of this post. I hate sweets. Except for ice cream and baklava. On occasion.


29 Comments on Notes From The Public Safety Committee (NSFW)

  1. al oof on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 1:57 am
  2. while i don’t care at all about studio b really, i don’t understand what the yo majesty screenshots have to do with these issues.

  3. missheather on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 2:23 am
  4. I am not now nor do I care to be a majesty, al oof. I’m just a citizen. 😉

    My rationale for the screencaps was as follows: the manager claims she has no knowledge of rowdiness going on, Ken Fisher said (on the behalf of Studio B) that they cannot be responsible for their patron’s rowdy behavior. But if Studio B has a staff photographer taking pictures of people dropping their pants in front of the place it would seem to me that they not only know about said anti-social behavior, but they encourage it.

    I’ve seen plenty of tits and ass on the street. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Rather, it’s the fact Studio B lies (or presents their truth) in a fashion that runs against much of what they post on their own web sites and acts.

    They were quite upset they didn’t get the thumbs up for their cabaret license. I guess they thought they were entitled to get it (and they may still). But promising they’ll be good neighbors, have all their ducks in a row and (when pressed) resorting to intimidation when the tide turned against them (in my opinion) speaks volumes about their attitude/M.O. They don’t give two shits about their neighbors, this community or the people who patronize their establishment.

    I said it in this post (if not explicitly, implicitly) but I’ll say it again: my primary concern is the safety of their patrons.

  5. mr. belvedere on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 2:54 am
  6. at least SOMEONE is thinking of the children…

  7. missheather on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 6:48 am
  8. I love you, Mr. Belvedere. Really I do!

  9. brooklyn11211 on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 8:46 am
  10. Point of clarification: who issued the 7 point letter? You said Ken did, but also said it came from a neighbor. Was this sB’s proposal or a list of demands from a neighbor?

    Your fortitude is admired by all.

  11. Jimmy Legs on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:03 am
  12. Yo Majesty is the lesbian rap group with the plus-sized woman in the photos, i think that should be separate from the otherwise valid issues you bring up. YM may be rowdy, but that’s part of the (inside-only) performance, as opposed to some guy wiggling his butt on a residential street 🙂

  13. digitalfront on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:03 am
  14. So now that their license has been officially denied, will they be shut down forcefully if they try to throw another event? It’s pretty comical that they can operate without any repercussions at this point.

  15. brooklynmfs on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:42 am
  16. Can you believe Ken used to represent this neighborhood in the City Council? No wonder we have so many problems here.

  17. HalfChemical on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:43 am
  18. About woman who broke her arm after downing four shots of whiskey…what ever happened to taking personal responsibilty for your own bad decisions? That’s like blaming the bar tender after you get a DUI. She probably did not appear to be inebriated, even though she shouldn’t have been skating. With today’s ever expanding “It’s not my fault” attitude she’ll probably be suing Studio B for a mission bucks. It’s her fault. Period.

    Just my two cents.

  19. HalfChemical on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 11:17 am
  20. The pictures you picked out to display on your blog are of “Your Majesty”. They are truly one of the most fun bands around. I think it is completely unfair of you to single that show out to make whatever point you were trying to make. We are all adults here. Maybe we should bring suit against them, ala the whole Janet Jackson nipplegate fiasco. I agree with many if your points about Studio B, but I think you are going to far. Manhattan and Brooklyn nightlife has become so whitewashed and generic…it should be a little dangerous and fun. I think you should keep your arguments relevant to the construction/permit issues and leave the artists/fun seeking patrons (especially what they are doing INSIDE the club) alone. Just my thoughts…

  21. missheather on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 12:00 pm
  22. Where to start? Brooklyn11211, the letter was written by Susan Kowal and the demands were those expressed by her (a neighbor).

    Thanks for the education regarding Yo Majesty and thoughts, everyone. Now if you don’t mind I’m going back to bed for a bit. Still sick. 🙁

  23. ShatteredMonocle on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 12:08 pm
  24. This Fisher character is a world class buffoon. He was really falling to pieces by the end of this. The whole last half of their contribution to this meeting was a festival of doublespeak, obfuscation, passive threats and lawyerly sleaze tactics. And what struck me was that at no point did anyone representing Studio B admit in plain English that they had deliberately broken the law.

    A few other things worth noting…

    Regarding what one of the gentlemen that came in with Agnes (though apparently not a stakeholder of the business) had to offer:
    – He actually claimed he was there as a representative of THREE buildings adjacent to the club.
    – He stated that he lives behind the club and hears no noise, therefor there must not be a noise problem.
    – He pointed out that two other cabaret-licensed establishments in Greenpoint have more severe problems, including a recent shooting (I’m not sure how this bolsters the argument to grant a cabaret license to Studio B, but whatever).
    – He scoffed and rolled his blood-soaked eyeball as each of the other neighbors shared their concerns.

    In addition to the paper-thin “stimulating the local economy” argument, the late arriving hipster (who looked like he was wearing a bad toupee) informed us that Studio B “put Greenpoint on the map”. This reminds me of when people talk about “discovering” Washington Heights. Listen, in case anyone hasn’t noticed everybody on the planet already wants a piece of NYC. Some people that live here don’t consider being “on the map” (as in, the map of nightlife destinations) to be a positive thing. I wonder if Ken Fisher, for example, would mind having a neighbor like Studio B in Brooklyn Heights.

    I’m still confused as to who owns Studio B. Unless I was hallucinating, Agnes stated to the committee that she does, although she has explicitly stated otherwise on NYS. Was that just some impostor who happens to be on this globally available Greenpoint Wi-Fi connection I keep hearing about?

    I find it amusing that so much fodder against them came directly from their own PR materials. Certainly the advertisement for a three day continuous Labor Day weekend bash raised the eyebrows of the precinct captain. It looks like that has since been taken down from their website, probably on the expert advice of Ken “this is why I get paid the big bucks” Fisher.

    Maybe there would be slightly less backlash if they didn’t exude so much shiftiness and disdain for the law. At what point, pending permits aside, does a club simply get shut down? I thought I heard mention about food being served there. Does the health department even know about this place?

    Across the board I was shocked; shocked! at what came out of their camp last night.

    — sm

  25. calyercooze on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 1:00 pm
  26. The letter was actually from myself, and my next door neighbor Julia M. Both our names were signed to it. I’d also like to clarify that they weren’t “demands,” so much as suggestions to the club about how to improve the relations with the immediate neighborhood. There was so much hubbub at the public CB meeting a few weeks back — I thought it best to be clear, in writing, about what would truly help improve the situation.

    Of course, why we even had to make these suggestions is another story. Any club owner would normally think about doing on these things on their own if they were concerned about being a good neighbor…

    And don’t forget: This vote only means that the CB will recommend to the DCA that the cabaret license not be issued. It is no guarantee the license will not be issued. The DCA has often ignored CB1’s recommendations in the past, at least in regard to liquor licenses.

    As was stated last night, these licenses are a privilege extended by the community to businesses who wish to operate in a manner that is good for everyone. They are not a right. And you don’t get one if you don’t play by community rules. This is a big step in the right direction.

    And wow, Ken Fisher. What a piece of double talking work he is.

  27. Jay on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 3:02 pm
  28. ShatteredMonocle, the Health Department certainly should “know about” the place, because even if a bar doesn’t serve food they have to have a DOH restaurant permit. Serving anything for “human consumption” requires one, including drinks. But oddly I can’t find Studio B listed at all among the restaurant inspection reports on the DOH website. They could be listed under another name but while there’s no way to search by address I selected to browse by neighborhood and among the 130+ Greenpoint entries I can’t find anything on Banker Street.

    By the way, the “roller derbies” that have been at Studio B aren’t really that, in spite of the word “derby” being in the name. They’re actually more “roller disco.” That is, they’re not the competition with two teams trying to knock each other down, they’re just people roller skating in a circle around the perimeter of the dance floor. The only time I as ever at the place was because a friend wanted to go for that.

    On the ownership question, I remember when the place opened having read that it was people who own a place called Studio A somewhere in California, and I think another club in Florida. So the actual owners may not be local.

  29. collinlafleche on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 3:51 pm
  30. I was going to email this, but since you don’t have an email posted (or I couldn’t find it, at least), then a comment will have to do.

    First of all, thanks for the swarm of traffic that you sent my way.

    Secondly, while I understand your rationale for using my photographs to support a case of Studio B acting beyond its legal or moral limits (and the use is fine, that’s not what I’m here to say), I think that equating nudity with rowdiness is unfair. I know other people have already explained Yo Majesty’s act, and I’ll just say that I agree with them. It’s a fun band, and if somebody doesn’t like seeing people topless, then they shouldn’t go to the show. No one is forced into going to Studio B. Nor is anyone forced to look at my photographs.

    I know noise sucks (I live above a bar). But don’t bring the performers or the patrons into this issue. They’re only there to enjoy themselves. That’s turning a legal issue into a moral one.

  31. missheather on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 5:12 pm
  32. FYI everybody:

    Otherwise, one thing I am very, VERY big on Collin is giving people credit for their work. Like it or not, it is your creative product and I want you to get credit for it. I get what you’re saying about legal vs. moral issues as well. Seriously, I do. BUT, what your photographs (especially the ones of people dropping their pants) attested to was this establishments unwillingness to police their own patrons. If anything, they indicate Studio B’s complicity in egging people on to behave in a manner their neighbors would consider rude and/or inconsiderate.

    Personally, I think the cabaret law is ridiculous. In fact a number of people present at last night’s meeting even said so. Rather, this was the only way we had to make these people accountable for their actions and gross disregard for the law.

    Anyhoo, enjoy the attention and let me know if you get any job offers. 😉

  33. al oof on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 9:28 pm
  34. not to beat a dead horse (but i’ve been working all day!), but i just wanted to be clear that i see no reason that studio b should be allowed to operate at all (and if that last link says they were shut down, i think that is a good thing). i just don’t think that pictures of a band performing inside the venue had anything to do with the issues. if you meant to show that there were too many people inside in the audience, that’s cool, but the topless lady was clearly onstage, and who wants to see a band not rocking out? (for the record, i didn’t know who they were before i saw this entry, i just gleaned the info from the screen shot.)

    but the pictures of the butts outside seemed totally relevant to me, and i have no problem with studio b being closed down. from what i’ve read on newyorkshitty, it only seems right.

    and it sucks that the only way to do it was with the archaic and historically racist and homophobic cabaret law.

  35. Joe on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:35 pm
  36. Heather…
    I just wanted to thank you for your efforts in cleaning up this city. Studio B is a bastion of Satan himself! Can you believe the immorality? I live in Greenpoint and I have a 4 year old daughter… so you know where I’m coming from. Just think… she lives in the SAME neighborhood as this FILTH!
    On another note… we should get together and think about what we can do about the outfits the kids are wearing these days. Can you believe it? The short skirts? You know what i’m talking about…
    I just want to live in a decent, quiet, MORAL place. I thought that was what I would find in Brooklyn. I had no idea there were these types of shenanigans occuring in my very own neighborhood. I mean it’s OBSCENE!
    I wish there were more people like you in this city… maybe we could shut down all of the immoral businesses. I would like to have the owners and their patrons put in jail… there is no way to change these people once they are under the influence of Satan. I can tell you know what I’m talking about… you are a real decent citizen. THANK YOU!

  37. Joe on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 10:42 pm
  38. Oh… and I looked at those horrible pictures. Can you believe people are having THAT MUCH fun? That should NOT be legal! Disgusting…

  39. mingum on Fri, 1st Aug 2008 11:39 pm
  40. Can you clarify for me – it is my understanding that the Community Board cannot approve or deny a license for anything – they can only recommend approval or denial to the appropriate governmental branch such as the SLA. I think there have been many cases of the SLA approving liquor licenses against the wishes of the local CB. Do you know whether the final authority (who is the final authority for cabaret licenses?) has heard their case yet for approval? This part of the process is mysterious to me and I’m trying to find out more about the realities of how much influence the CB has. Not that much, I think.

  41. Jay on Sat, 2nd Aug 2008 1:43 pm
  42. Mingun, that is correct. The Community Board will make a recommendation, the Department of Consumer Affairs issues cabaret licenses and isn’t required to follow that recommendation.

    DCA’s information page for cabaret license applicants is here:

  43. Jay on Sat, 2nd Aug 2008 2:13 pm
  44. This is probably what I (mis)remembered having read about Studio B’s ownership in the comment I posted on that topic yesterday: New York Magazine’s online profile of the club states that it was opened by “the rockers behind the Delancey and Studio A in Miami.”

  45. al oof on Sat, 2nd Aug 2008 4:38 pm
  46. joe, your sarcasm is outdated and dumb.

    you really think this is about morality? has anyone said anything about morals? because all i see are discussions of keeping neighbors awake (that’s common courtesy), having trash in the street (the same) and the physical safety of people in and around the club. i mean, we’re talking about a place that packs 50% more people inside it than firecodes say is ok. you do know what that means in a fire right? i don’t know how old you are or how long you’ve lived here, but there was a pretty well publicized ‘social club’ fire when i was younger that killed people. i mean, we’re talking about 600 people in a place they might not be able to escape if there is a fire, and standing in a ‘rooftop garden’ that may or may not be up to code. do you think studio b really cares that ‘kids’ have a place to ‘have fun’? no, they care about packing in as many people as they can so they can make as much money as possible.

    cabaret licensing is dumb.
    firecodes, not so much.

  47. d on Sat, 2nd Aug 2008 11:59 pm
  48. Re: “morality”, well many are taking it that way, even if it isn’t the case, as evidenced by the sarcasm used by Gothamist when posting about this issue. They also linked to this blog and put a pic of Kevin Bacon in “Footloose” (sorry, but the Bacon pic did make me laugh) to accompany the article.

    I had the misfortune of being at an after show party at a club that shall remain nameless in Manhattan about a month ago. It was so packed you literally could barely move and the stuff going on inside AND outside was far worse than anything I’ve ever seen in Greenpoint. I didn’t stay long because the crowd crush was extremely uncomfortable, but it did put things into perspective, for me anyway.

  49. missheather on Sun, 3rd Aug 2008 1:33 pm
  50. I hear you, d. And for the record I am very aware of Gothamist’s post. In fact, I was the person who tipped them off. In doing so I made it VERY clear that dancing was not the issue. Rather, the cabaret hearing was the only means to be had to hold these people accountable for their shenanigans. But as you saw, that’s the angle to they chose to take. That’s their prerogative.

    No matter how much care someone takes when presenting something (be it an argument, work of art, etc.), he (or she) cannot control what others take on it. In this respect, the whole brouhaha about Studio B has been very instructive.

    1. As you noted, the issue of morals has been brought to the table. It has been quoted (inaccurately) that someone at the meeting likened Studio B to “Sodom and Gomorrah”. This is not so; Ken Fisher said that. (If I had to liken this establishment to anything I’d say a frat house, but I digress.)

    2. The issue of Cabaret licenses has eclipsed the real story. That being, a group of neighbors were fed up with Studio B’s lack of regard for the law and their neighbors and successfully called them on it. The cabaret hearing was a means to do this, not an end. Yet, it has been construed/insinuated that these people were against people “having fun” and dancing. Everyone present thought the cabaret law was antiquated. The chairman noted that had the hearing been about a liquor license renewal, the same discussion would have come to pass. He was right.

    In hindsight I regret not filming these proceedings. But then again it drug on for over and hour and the room was so crowded as to render it difficult, if not impossible to do so. For me the most telling moment was when one of the “owners” was asked why they had opened the rooftop garden without having their paperwork in order. She complained about how long it took for the city to grant permits and conduct inspections (you should have seen the look on Ken Fisher’s face when she rolled out that one). Basically she tried to blame the city for the fact they got caught breaking the law. Ridiculous. In fact, many of the arguments they made were equally as crass. In a nutshell they wanted (and I think EXPECTED) to get the green light for a cabaret license even though they did not have all their legal ducks in a row. That would be sort of like you are me wanting a driver’s license without going through driver’s ed or taking a driving test first.

    Why should Studio B be given special treatment? Being granted a cabaret license is a privilege not a right. The hearing essentially boiled down to these two sentences.

    In any case, what’s done is done. Now the Public Safety Committee’s findings will be presented to the Executive Committee of CB 1. After that they will tender their suggestion to the DCA (who may very well rule against the Public Safety Committee’s recommendation).

    In closing (I’ve been sick for several days. I want to go out and play!) I found the invocation of Footloose/Kevin Bacon to be quite funny. Methinks we should contact him and ask him what he thinks! 😉

    ‘Nuff already. I’m outta here!

  51. poingly on Mon, 4th Aug 2008 8:07 pm
  52. Miss Heather,

    I got to stick up for my girls in Yo Majesty here. I’ve opened for them before and have seen them on numerous occasions; in fact, I even braved going to see them at the admittedly shitty Studio B once or twice. But saying that a topless Yo Majesty somehow makes Studio B rowdy? Sorry, it just doesn’t fly. I suppose if there was a staging of King Lear where Cordelia’s breast was exposed, we could use that as an argument to ban Shakespeare in the Park? There will probably be a lot more people on here claiming you are anti-fun. I don’t think you are; I do think you mischaracterized something, and I think people are going to call you out on it (quite possibly in some mean and inappropriate ways).

  53. Greg on Tue, 5th Aug 2008 11:58 am
  54. Agreed with ‘poingly’ above, and the other thoughtful, and measured comments regarding the reactionary, and ultimately close-minded opinions expressed in this blog. It’s unfortunate that we still live in a time where the moral police feel they are so far above the lifestyle of those they chastise for behavior they don’t agree with. I also feel for ‘collinlafleche’ — having your intellectual property appropriated for misuse is never pleasant.

    Anyway, I’ve lived in urban neighborhoods for the majority of my life, and I have always understood that with my choice comes a whole host of potential trade-offs: Watching people have fun when I’m not, listening to drunken assholes make fools of themselves outside my window, dodging dog-shit on the sidewalk. But you know what? I made this choice, and in doing so, I also made the choice to live with the people, and within the community I inhabit.

    I have little respect for those who foist their mighty moral gaze upon the unwashed masses in such a self-serving manner — all in the name of faux “public good”. The opinions expressed by Miss Heather and those like her are good for a laugh (I mean, what can you do but laugh?), but when those opinions manage to find their way into the lives of those they so desperately want to control, it becomes more sad than funny.

    Sorry, I prefer whole wheat over white bread.

  55. al oof on Tue, 5th Aug 2008 9:41 pm
  56. i get the impression a lot of folks here have never read the rest of newyorkshitty and/or have very low reading comprehension skills. i’m still baffled by the idea that anything here has to do with morality. if it did, wouldn’t we be talking about all the bars in greenpoint, not just the one that’s been doing illegal construction? wouldn’t we be talking about the hookers at the greenpoint hotel? there’s a bar on my block and it’s never threatened to be shut down by the department of buildings. but people certainly have fun there.

  57. neighborhood threat on Fri, 8th Aug 2008 12:20 pm
  58. i love how this has turned into a “omg you criticized my favorite band!” argument, and everyone’s ignoring the real issues – issues they know nothing about, because **they don’t live here** and probably cause some of the problems.

    when i was 20, and running around the east village, if i pulled the shit that people going to studio b pull every night, i would have gotten a bucket of pee dumped on my head, mugged, arrested, harrassed, or all of the above. people in the 80s called the EV “a shit street” and “no one goes there” or “only poor people live there, who cares” and everything you are now saying about greenpoint.

    there’s a huge difference between asking for the normal quiet enjoyment (a legal right in nyc) of one’s residence and asking for the suburbs. studio b doesn’t act like a normal nightclub. they don’t follow any of the norms that clubs in this city follow to be good neighbors, the stuff that was in susan and julia’s letter. that’s what none of you get. you just want to drag out the old tired arguments of
    1) this is nyc, get over it
    2) you are old and boring

    without understanding what the problem really is.

    i’ve been thinking about the yo majesty thing. i used to go see tribe 8 back in the day and would have gotten angry if someone used a photo of them the same way heather used the photo here. she didn’t know the context and if she had she probably wouldn’t have used it. but if i was running a club that was having a problem, i might be careful about stuff like that. there are reasons that there are laws about public nudity. for example, tribe 8 was awesome but there would always be the three dudes that showed up to see the topless chicks, not knowing or caring that they were dykes. and they would get drunk and be inappropriate and could cause enough problem to shut the show down or call the cops. so you had to be careful.

    does that make sense?

    but here’s the thing: in the 80s, i also helped manage a hardcore band. i fell into it because the guitar player was the little brother of a friend of mine and i had a big-ass station wagon. we drove up and down the east coast, playing clubs that you’ve never heard of and no longer exist. but every one of those clubs was run the same way: you watch your shit so that the police don’t have ANY reason to be interested in you: you don’t let people hang out on the corner being stupid. you make sure everyone comes out of the club and moves out of the neighborhood as soon as the show is over. you over-soundproof. you stand outside and see if anyone can hear when the bands are playing. you ask bands to please turn it down and maybe you don’t use that bass cabinet here. stuff like that. these places HAD to do this shit or the cops would have shut them down in a heartbeat.

    studio b got stupid and greedy. you can continue to be bull-headed and attack us without actually understanding the problem – oh wait, you are.

    but guess what? we won. they have to get their shit together. and when they go up for their liquor license renewal, everyone on the board is going to remember their attitude the first time around. and the manager of the club manages other places too. word will get around.

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