There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
Last week, the LICpost wrote two solid articles about the inability of local restaurant owners to access their backyards. Basically, there has been one long time member of Community Board 2, who due to his not wanting outdoor seating adjacent to his own back windows, has used his position on the board to block any restaurants in Hunters Point from doing so. This is a long term battle he has waged, and you can read about the start of it back in 2003 right here.
Fast forward to 2014, and were I, The Editor, to have the power to dispense with some personal and local annoyances simply by decree, I cannot say that I wouldn’t. Unfortunately, I’m just a lowly copy boy with a local blog. So here is the problem as I see it: In order to maintain the status quo with the new, and better financed, and more muscular (he owns a total of four bars throughout the 5 boros) tavern owner next door, I have to set a precedent and deny that right to every new guy that wants a liquor license. Otherwise, the barkeep in my backyard is going to say “Wait a minute, you let…”
Two restaurants were cited in the stories as having had their requests denied by Community Board 2. The first, L’Inizio, is across the street from Woodbines, the above referenced bar. The restaurant will be a pizza place created by someone who has lived in LIC for over 40 years. The second is 51st Bakery & Cafe. Owned by a couple who live a few doors down from their business, they have lived in Long Island City for 18 years. I broke the story on the store’s opening, and in corresponding with the owners, I would inevitably get emails back in the middle of the night. They were very nice, but harried -exactly what you would expect from someone going through the grueling endeavor of opening a restaurant as a two-some.
That is because these little, local, very personal businesses have to run the same gauntlet that much larger, better-financed ones do. So the last thing they need is another time-consuming and costly hurdle. If we want to have these types of restaurants in our neighborhood, then the elected leaders, and the un-elected surrogates they appoint, need to recognize and differentiate amongst the choices, and take all their citizens into account. Not use precedent as a cudgel for a select few.
Wanna help? A resident has formed a petition asking Community Board 2 to ease up on liquor license and outdoor space restriction. Sign it here.
Queens Kickshaw Talks About Local Restaurant Industry’s Fate – “The cost of business in New York City is really difficult — it’s hard for small business to compete on a level playing field. So I see the direction going a little more corporate.”
The Beer Closet is Coming to LIC – !?! right next to 51st Bakery & Cafe in fact. Beer, cheese, sounds like trouble!