Disc-no! The former nightlife capital of Brooklyn now battling clubs

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bay Ridge has gone from “Saturday Night Fever” to “Footloose.”

The neighborhood’s community board claimed a victory last month when the nightclub Ibiza withdrew its request for a liquor license for a recently renovated spot on Third Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets after community members learned that owners were actually planning a nightclub instead of a restaurant.

“We encourage responsible business owners to be forthright and abide by the restrictions we impose to protect the community,” said CB10 Chairwoman Joanne Seminara after Ibiza withdrew its request. “The Ibiza owners grossly misrepresented their plans to the board.”

The Ibiza incident is the latest evidence that the dance-feverish nightlife culture that once defined the neighborhood is under new scrutiny by a community board increasingly prone to slap down potentially troublesome nightspots before they get a chance to hang their disco balls.

Longtime Bay Ridge nightclubbers say the vibe has changed in the neighborhood since Travolta-esque dance moves incited disco fever along Third and Fifth avenues — and the nabe once known for its discos is going the way of the tiny town in “Footloose,” where dancing and rock music were banned.

“They don’t want to deal with all that, with kids running around at 4 am drunk out of their minds,” said legendary Bay Ridge DJ and CBS FM radio personality Joe Causi, referring to the community’s response to clubs over the years. “They’d rather have it clean, quiet and comfortable.”

But restaurant and club owners are groaning under the yoke of rules over how they can and can’t run their clubs.

“It was like I was being hung on the cross,” Rapheal Abrahante said of the community’s grilling of his plans to open a Latin restaurant on 71st Street near Third Avenue. Abrahante agreed to a series of stipulations — including changing the restaurant’s name to omit the word “lounge” — before board members would greenlight his liquor license proposal, but he said it was ridiculous that he be punished because of the actions of the previous owners.

“It’s unfair,” he said. “I expected to be welcomed with open arms and given the chance since I’m creating jobs.”

The use of stipulations has become a common tool to curb potential troublemakers.

“Community boards are now being more active and vocal,” said Michael Jones of the State Liquor Authority, the agency that regulates nightclubs and other spots that serve booze, and receives recommendations from the local panels whenever a club or bar seeks to obtain or renew a liquor license.

“It seems like community boards these days are using more stipulations to prevent the problems that the clubs are known for,” added Jones.

The community board put up restrictions before it approved the Crown KTV karaoke club, a notorious 62nd Street club that has been the scene of stabbings, and the subject of dozens of noise complaints and reports of drug use and underage drinking.

The only problem is that the club ignored the stipulations, foes say.

The board’s district manager Josephine Beckmann said the rise of other neighborhoods — like Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens and other booming belts in the borough — is responsible for the decline in clubs in Bay Ridge, and denied the board has become more antagonistic to bars and clubs.

But longtime Bay Ridge partiers — Beckmann among them! — say things just aren’t the same as they were back in the day.

“When I was growing up in Carroll Gardens, when we went out to restaurants and clubs, we went down to Bay Ridge,” admitted Beckmann.

The scene was spurred by “Saturday Night Fever,” said Causi.

“There was one on every block on every corner, starting form 100th Street by the Verrazano Bridge all the way up to the lower 70s,” he said.

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jay from Bay Ridge says:
The CB 10 did the right thing. Saturday Night Fever was 40 years ago, and today we enjoy Dancing with the Stars!
Sept. 22, 2011, 7:44 am
Tim from Bay Ridge says:
good for Board10! we have plenty of places to party here, we just don't want things getting out of control.
next: deal with cosmoss on 87th st!!! the noise and rowdiness from that place is out of control!!!!!!!!!!
Sept. 22, 2011, 10:56 am
Ahab from Bay Rij says:
If you have ever even walked by Blue Zoo on 3rd and 84th you are dumber for it.
Sept. 22, 2011, 1:50 pm
tea party from bay ridge says:
CB10 is making sure that Beirut Ridge is Sharia compliant. The liquor stores are next.
Sept. 22, 2011, 2:47 pm
J from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with their judgement but it's funny to look at the people making these changes. Weren't they the same people who frequented these clubs 40 years ago? Oh how times have changed. Maybe they can do something about the real estate market now? A one family home should not cost 800k thank you.
Sept. 22, 2011, 4:46 pm
Bengee from coney says:
What the hell does Sharia have to do with any of this.
Sept. 22, 2011, 6:42 pm
Sheldon from USA says:
what does sharia have to do with it? the neighborhood is loaded with muslims, that's what. go figure...
Sept. 22, 2011, 10:12 pm
Tony from Dyker Heights says:
People once stayed out till 4am in Bay Ridge? The place is a ghost town except for Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Sept. 23, 2011, 1:20 am
RR from Bay Ridge says:
I resemble one of those who frequented the Bay Ridge night life. there were more bars per capita in Bay Ridge at one time, and they were all well frequented. Oh how times have changed
Sept. 23, 2011, 6:32 am
cn from bay ridge says:
agree with above: what are elected officials and cb10 doing about COSMOSS(the loudest place in bay ridge)??? i keep compaining about the noise and nothing happens... sheesh...
Sept. 23, 2011, 11:41 pm
Rudy from Sunset Park says:
Bay Ridge should be welcoming more clubs. What does CB10 want,,,more hookah bars, 99 cent stores, nail salons, fast food restaurants...

Look what happened to Flatbush Ave. (Glenwood and South), not a single worthwhile restaurant now (Lenny & John's is a pizzeria). There might be an old man's bar around there, but that is about it.
Sept. 24, 2011, 7:36 pm
Tony from Bay ridge says:
Cb10 you suck you are nothing but old ass people that have no life's of your own and forget you were young once do your self a favor go out have some drinks and get laid you guys need it maybe it will spark your memories when you were young And don't forget you platforms and bellbottoms
Oct. 21, 2012, 5:47 pm
Matthew from Colonial Road says:
wow, all you people do is complain.
you guys sound like the hipsters that just moved here from east boondock kentucky that complain about nightlife goers and noise. YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY AND IN A NIGHTLIFE NEIGHBORHOOD. MOVE TO DYKER OR BENSONHURST OR STATEN ISALND WHERE THERE IS NOTHING TO DO AT ALL AND YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR "PEACE AND QUIET"

christ, just stop complaining.ALLLLLL CB10 does is complain, complain, complain.

"ohh cosmoss is noisy.. 5th ave is noisy .." seriously, why havent you people left to staten island or new jersey by now if nightlife bothers you? you're in the wrong place, and we dont want you here. get out of my neighborhood.
Oct. 21, 2012, 6:07 pm
Tina from Ft. Hamilton Pkwy says:
Wow, you people don't know crap until you've lived off 8th Ave. Just a stones throw from the bridge and the stores here don't even have English on their store fronts and no one knows a stitch of English.
Dec. 9, 2012, 6:52 pm
Louie erricolo from Carroll gardens says:
I,ve been reading all this stuff about clubs let me tell you people out there 40years ago Brooklyn was jumping I would work all week and me and my friends would hit every club in Brooklyn you always had somewhere to go today there's nothing to do I have a idear for someone with money open a club for all disco lovers it can be for people 35 and over and people have to getdressed like they used to thank you Louie and you can call the club 35 and over I hope people out there like this
Feb. 13, 2016, 5:16 pm

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