The NYPD Takes Action Against Increasing LES Noise Levels

There’s no doubt that the quality of life for residents of the Lower East Side has suffered due to neighborhood joints popping off on weekends, and because of the clientele who are doing all of the popping. The Ludlow, Orchard, and Rivington to Stanton Street corridors have become a mating ground for a particularly obnoxious horde that storm it each weekend. But with new, more luxurious housing popping up nearby, something has to give—I’m betting that it will be half a dozen or more particularly loud bars and spaces in the near future.

On my way to the How To Make It In America event at Hotel Chantelle last night, I noticed an increased police presence, on a comparable level to what inflicted the Outer Chelsea corridor a few years ago. This action, by New York’s Finest, eventually resulted—directly or through attrition—in the closing of that club mall. Joints like Mansion, Home, Guesthouse, Spirit, Bed, Cain, Bungalow 8, Quo, and Pink Elephant couldn’t survive their own demons combined with the demons provided by the NYPD in the form of harassing street units, mounted cops, warning signs, and Klieg lights. Perhaps the nail in the coffin for that formerly red-hot red light district was the cops’ decision to block off streets with squad cars, vans, and barricades to prevent taxis from picking up and dropping off club patrons. Monied types hate that, and high heels designed to dance on banquettes don’t often enjoy pavement.

This Saturday, I noticed the same tactics being employed on the LES. Cop cars with flashing lights blocked passage, and there was an increased presence on the street. I even saw a couple of cops searching a few dweeby frat boys. Whether the young studs had an open container, or were smoking a joint, or were just being hassled because of their ugly shirts, I don’t know, but man someone needed to knock that enfranchised, my-daddy’s-lawyer-will-be-on-your-case grin off their faces. The same police captain involved in the crusade against the West 27th Street nightlife industry is on board here. His name is Captain David Miller, and he is the new sheriff on the block. He means business and not of the nightlife variety.

He’s a get-what-he-wants-and-knows-how-to-get-it kind of guy. People who know him say he’s a really bright and fair man who finishes what he starts. And I must admit that the din from places lining the street as I walked by was unbelievably loud. Whereas the old tenants of the hood had gotten used to it, moved there specifically for it, or have never been able to do anything about it, I cannot say. But I do know that things are changing rapidly, and I suspect the type of places that will be left standing after all is said and done will be different than the ones operating now. I believe that places like Max Fish, Motor City, and what we affectionately call “dive bars” will have a hard time surviving. The always-closing and reopening Max Fish has more lives than a liter of kittens. The Hotel on Rivington has just been renovated with Alan Philips, bringing long legged and socially aware clientele to that spot. APL will bring adults for fine dining and libations. Beauty and Essex, just around the way, is a hit with a great crowd, while Stanton Social Club continues to be a go-to spot, and even The Meatball Shop is banging with a decent crew. All around, there are places now overrun by a 20-to-25 beer worshiping set that has pushed the hipsters south or to gulags like Williamsburg. Tammany Hall has Eddie Brady, a veteran operator who will play by the rules and bring in rockers to his new music venue. In this game of musical chairs, these joints will have chairs provided while the others are left standing in the street. Like a thousand revelers this past weekend they will then be told to move a long.

The warm weather will have open French doors and windows allowing the noise to travel down the street and up into apartments. Decibel readings will shut those windows and doors before city agencies use that information to shutter their doors for good. How much carnage will be inflicted on the downtown scene will soon be seen. If I lived there I might be inclined to say thank God, it’s about time, but if were an operator who invested thousands or millions of dollars and blood sweat and tears, I’d be extremely worried.

There are signs posted warning patrons to respect the neighbors and now every place has a security guard with an ID scanner. Still, the action continues to overflow into the streets where party animals will linger, smoke, chatter, laugh and scream while traveling from one room to another, in what has become a giant club with residents trying to sleep upstairs.

That never works, something has to give and I’m betting it will not be the city agencies representing and protecting the interests of these sleep-deprived voters. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that this new activity is related to the new hotel slated for the 180 Orchard lot. With the Thompson, The Rivington and the projected Indigo Hotel nearby, all armed with their own bars and restaurants, the area has potential to be a “nice” or “pleasant” part of our great city. When I lived in Paris, I had a male model friend named Adam who modeled very little but always had the finest of things and the nicest gentleman friends. Well, Adam used to describe people who bored him to death as pleasant. If he particularly loathed someone he would say “he is such a pleasant fellow.’ Oh well… there goes the neighborhood.

With rooftops all the rage now, tomorrow night I will attend what is being billed as the opening of the Sky Terrace at Hudson Hotel. The event will feature Kanon Organic Vodka (what will they think of next?), The 88, and People’s Revolution with special guest host, Pamela Love. Music will be by my buddy Paul Sevigny. There is always so much going on at the Hudson, with so many rooms packed full of quality nightlife. I find myself at the place way too often. If it wasn’t heaven before, the roof certainly brings me closer to it.

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