Lounge 47, a restaurant and bar with a capacious back yard on Vernon Blvd in Long Island City, has had a tough time making peace with some neighbors who say the noise and smoke from the patio is unbearable. Next door neighbor Beth Garrett and her husband have installed large signs on their property begging Lounge 47 patrons to pipe down, and a growing group of locals want the State Liquor Authority to revoke the liquor license, which was recently renewed. (The Garretts have also been accused of spraying their hose over the fence onto diners.) The current owner is now trying to sell the place, but the potential buyer wants to make sure he'll be able to transfer the liquor license.
That buyer was supposed to make his case at a public hearing with Community Board 2 in Queens on Tuesday, but he failed to appear because his mother died recently. But that didn't stop a crowd of 60 disgruntled locals from venting about Lounge 47, which seems symbolize the tension between the community's different lifestyles. According to the Queens Chronicle, Pauline Rodi, who also lives next door to Lounge 47 and has been a neighborhood resident for 54 years, explained, "I’ve known Long Island City when it was beautiful, quiet, family oriented. ... Young children played on the sidewalk, which we cannot do anymore. The children cannot play because it’s overrun by people and drinking and swearing and cussing. So you can’t be in the back yard and you can’t be in the front yard."
The current owner told the group, "We want to get on with the neighbors. My ex-partners went to the Garretts and said, 'What can we do?' and William and Beth [Garrett] said, 'Nothing; you can move out.'" The Queens Chronicle reports that the meeting devolved into a shouting match when one newcomer, Brett Banchek, who moved into one of the new L.I.C. highrises about a year ago, defended the Long Island City nighlife: "If these restaurants move out, my family is going to move out." Other residents demanded to know if he's ever lived next door to one of these establishments.
The board won't make any decision about the license transfer until after they hear from the potential buyer. And the Nightlife Preservation Society has yet to weigh in. For the record, we've been to Lounge 47 on a couple of occasions (killer wasabi deviled eggs!) and it's never seemed like the raucous den of iniquity that neighbors make it out to be. On the other hand, when you have twenty yuppies yucking it up, blowing smoke rings, and clinking their wine glasses, the cumulative effect is enough to fill anyone with bloodlust. [Via NYC The Blog]