Slopers are too late to stop Yards-area bar

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Dozens of enraged Park Slopers stormed a community board meeting on Monday night to object to a liquor license for a controversial bar at the corner of Flatbush and Sixth avenues — but the protesters quickly learned that they were too late: the liquor license had been granted earlier this month because no one raised an objection.

Akiva Ofshtein was granted his license by the State Liquor Authority on Feb. 16 for his location inside the former Royal Video store about a block and a half from the under-construction Barclays Center basketball arena.

He had notified Community Board 6 back in November of his intention to seek the license. The board had 30 days to object, but it did not.

As a result, Ofshtein’s attorney George Karp filed for the license application on Jan. 18, and the liquor agency granted the license — actually three, for bar service in the main restaurant, a basement lounge, and a backyard area — on Feb. 16 following a hearing in Manhattan, at which no objections were raised.

“If they don’t show up to the hearing, I assumed no one is concerned,” said Karp.

That was a bad assumption, if Monday night’s meeting is any indication. After the obligatory complaints that they had not been informed about Ofshtein’s bid for a license, locals went on the attack against the Canarsie native’s bar itself.

“This is Park Slope, not the Lower East Side!” said Paul Zumoff, an area broker who echoed the sentiment of dozens of residents.

The business will occupy a prime spot in what is already a nightlife hub, one that will undoubtedly get busier with the arrival of the Brooklyn Nets. The battle against the bar can be seen, in part, as a proxy battle for the lost war over Atlantic Yards.

“The use that you proposed is not acceptable to this community,” warned Sue Jacobs, a St. Marks Avenue resident.

That said, it’s unclear what “use” Ofshtein is actually considering. In an interview, he told us that he has yet to decide what type of restaurant his place will be, deciding between a “California kitchen” and a steakhouse, possibly named Prime 6.

But either way, he insisted, his restaurant is for locals.

“I am gearing up for a Park Slope clientele,” he said, promising a May opening.

The bar will serve food until 4 am, feature two large televisions, a private party area, “acoustic music,” and an outdoor garden area — which residents said must be removed from his plans.

“My goal is not to turn people away or make them angry,” said Ofshtein, a lawyer by trade who said he worked as a waiter for years and managed the now-shuttered Tavern on the Green from 1997 to 1998.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a high-end style Manhattan restaurant in Brooklyn,” he claimed.

But that image was betrayed by Ofshtein’s Prime 6 Myspace page, which featured suggestively posed women, and Facebook page which included a link to the “Prime 6 mixed CD,” created by hip hop artist DJ Big Jeff, who has songs titled, “Motha F–ka, I’m Ill” and “New Money.”

Ofshtein disavowed any involvement with the pages, saying they were done by an independent business to drum up interest in his venture.

But the explanations struck a disingenuous chord with residents, who said Karp’s client was a fish out of water.

“There was an arrogance coming in here and announcing a fait accompli in the first two minutes — that they were doing us a favor just being here,” said Paul Beresford-Hill, a Sixth Avenue resident.

Residents said that throughput the building’s renovation, Ofshtein has not responded to complaints about trash on the sidewalk and dangerous conditions near the site.

“He made it very clear that he is not interested in being a good neighbor,” said Jen Abrams, a Park Place resident. “So what sort of business owner is he going be?” And community board members — who ultimately tabled the matter so Ofshtein could meet with residents over the next month — were equally appalled.

“When you come in here and tell us that this is a community restaurant, you are really and truly insulting our integrity and our intelligen­ce,” said committee member Pauline Blake, a St. Marks Avenue resident.

Community Board 6 will reconsider the matter in a month, but it is unclear what the panel can achieve.

Ofshtein still needs the Department of Buildings to sign off on the plans, which request a total occupancy of 230 people.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

VLM from Park Slope says:
Let's call a spade a spade here. The only people protesting this restaurant live, according to public records, on Bergen St. at 6th Ave. and right on 6th Ave. where the restaurant will be. They're upset because, oh look, something noisy in their backyard. It's the very definition of NIMBYism.

As to Ms. Blake's comments, if the owner of the restaurant followed the procedure and was granted his liquor license and is now telling the community that it will be a community restaurant with an outdoor space -- something sorely lacking around here -- so be it. I trust them more than I trust a bunch of quasi-racist arbiters of all things community, one of whom is not even from Brooklyn (or even New York).

Where were these people when Atlantic Yards was going down the first time? Probably not even in Brooklyn. Deal with it.
March 1, 2011, 1:22 am
jj from brooklyn says:
Sounds like CB6 bears responsibility here. Liquor license applications should be publicized — and if CB6 was notified last year, it should have done so at the time.
March 1, 2011, 5:21 am
RAlti from Midwood says:
Speaking as a white girl born and raised in Brooklyn, I hope this bar gets built, and I hope it makes those ridiculous hipster transplants miserable. What are they complaining about? They've already gentrified the neighborhood to the point where not even the natives of this city can live here. They've chased EVERYONE out. They deserve this. I'm sick of what is happening in Brooklyn. It's criminal how they've overpaid and left nothing for the hard working Brooklynites to enjoy. I hope this bar is built, and I hope it's really loud!
March 1, 2011, 8:39 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Lets see... so the stadium has provided construction jobs and will also create stadium worker jobs. That has since caused vacant properties to be rented, creating construction jobs for the stores to be built and future jobs for the employees of said new stores which will lead to more commerce for already existing stores from clothing to restaurants..... why was this project delayed so long..Oh Yeah, I forget.... Thanks alot Daniel goldstein for helping delay this neighborhoods economic recovery!!!!
March 1, 2011, 9 am
David from PLG says:
I look forward to the opening, and will certainly try this new neighborhood establishment. With a bit of luck, the food will be good, the atmosphere elegant, and the protesters quiet.
March 1, 2011, 9:05 am
manhatposeur from parkslope says:
I am gentrifying hipster & I love bars Ralti.
March 1, 2011, 9:05 am
Katie from Fort Greene says:
So far everyone is right, if you live on 6th and Bergen, you have to accept the fact that the busiest and largest street in Brooklyn is right around the corner from you. Plus what is already there that is so wonderful, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
March 1, 2011, 9:50 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Hey morons, Pauline Blake is an African American woman who has lived in this neighborhood for many decades, as have many other protestors who, God forbid, might not want to have people served until 4 a.m. in an outdoor space adjacent to their backyards. Yeah, that sounds like a real "community restaurant."

But thanks for your uninformed drivel.
March 1, 2011, 10:20 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Well, Dave, does Pauline Blake realize an entire basketball arena is going up one block away from the location of this restaurant? If these people think their idyllic little neighborhood is going to last restaurant or no restaurant, boy are they in for a surprise.

The crowds, noise and traffic alone will drive them out before the end of the first basketball season.
March 1, 2011, 10:28 am
sisterwife from parkslope says:
i love the direction this neighborhood is going, moving here 10 years ago. There are more restaurants to chose from, more coffee houses to sip from and more clothing stores to dress from. A restaurant with a backyard, music, and good food? Why not. And in case you all didnt know, the North Flatbush BID is going to turn all those little triangles into public plazas. How nice for this little neighborhood that once filled with crackheads, drunks and vagabonds. Flatbush Farm has a bar, Piquant has a bar, and Burrito Bar has a bar which can be interepreted as a sports bar some nights with cheering crowds and boozed up fans, isnt that what a neighborhood is about? No way to completely keep it white and quite, even those few African Americans will have to deal with it. Suck it up, its call gentrification. Its in all our backyards.Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and 3Million dollars. Thank you Dan Goldstein for nothing.
March 1, 2011, 11:18 am
jj from brooklyn says:
VLM is right.

The spineless wimps on CB6 refused to go against Markowitz and did not aggressively oppose Atlantic Yards until it was too late to matter. Park Slope will be a-changing.

As for Al's nonsense … if the city didn't reserve the site and gift the site to Ratner … if the city allowed organic development to occur over the last 20 years, there'd have been lots of economic development, lots of jobs, lots of housing — and we would have had it 15, 10 or 5 years ago.
March 1, 2011, 11:39 am
LOLcat from Park Slope says:
The war was already lost. Atlantic Yards is getting built. No duh it is going to change the character of surrounding neighborhoods (likely for the worse, although I have no opinion on this particular bar)
March 1, 2011, 11:43 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
And btw, I realize Pauline Blake was a major opponent of AY who was ousted by Markowitz from CB6. I too hate the arena and the process, but what's done is done. The area around Flatbush and 6th Ave. is screwed. Might as well make the most of it now.
March 1, 2011, 12:39 pm
Dash from Prospect Heights says:
Didn't you fools chain yourself to a bar to protest Atlantic Yards in the first place.

You two-faced losers!

AY will bring all kinds of jobs to folks in my neighborhood and we're just waiting for it to come full on!
March 1, 2011, 12:40 pm
jj from brooklyn says:
The arena won't be the end of the world, but guys like Dash were suckers for a bad pitch.
March 1, 2011, 1:44 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
when I go to Prospect Heights, all I see is Yuppies...what kind of jobs are you talking about Dash? graphic artists? website designers? movie editors?
March 1, 2011, 2:16 pm
Peter from Clinton Hill says:
Maybe a lot of dog-walking jobs.
March 1, 2011, 4:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It shows once again that having friends in high places always works. This worked for Ratner, and it worked for the owner of this club. When that is the case, it outweighs whatever the community thinks no matter what. As for the AY itself, many of the jobs that were claimed will NOT go to locals, they will most likely go to the Chineese who part of the EB-5 program that needs serious investigations, and it's too bad that Norman Oder, who writes for the Atlantic Yards Report, has been one of the few actually covering that.
March 1, 2011, 7:18 pm
Al from Park Slope says:
Interesting thought.... When everyone says a blanket statement like "creating jobs", I ask, what kind of jobs can this country actually create anyway? This country produces nothing but, sports, entertainment/movies TV, and websites. It is amazing that the only career you ever hear younger people want to be when they grow up is a rapper or actor. According to Tal, construction jobs are no longer for Americans either. So i guess unless you work for the cable company repairing my internet when it goes down, what jobs are there really for anyone to do anyway besides what everyone complains about, such as working at a walmart or being some type of cashier. (This ofcourse excludes those who have become doctors/lawyers Architects etc as those folks are usually never asking our government to "create jobs"... whatever that meanns anyway
March 2, 2011, 9:04 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I wasn't talking about construction jobs when stating the EB-5 program, I was talking about the jobs that are major will go to the Chineese. Ratner pretty much hired a firm that will do the construction, and it's not likely that it will be the members of BUILD, who even came to hearings dressed as construction workers. Ratner never did promise any jobs to locals unless they happen to either be temporary or minium wage. Most of the major positions will either be filled by already existing employees or by the people that got in through the program I mentioned. This was also the case at MTC when JP Morgan Chase located there. In reality, he was just using the locals just to push his project, but he will never truly promise them anything in the end, which is know as a bait and switch.
March 2, 2011, 6:16 pm
Mike from Maspeth says:
Hey Al & Tal--you're both right...and wrong!
The US is still the largest per capita manufacturer on the planet, by far. That happened because of entrepreneurs taking risks, and the system gets messed up when the government overrides the system to favor chosen cows like Ratner.

Comment #1 nailed it, that this is a bunch of local neighbors trying to protect their neighborhood, which is also their right. The idea that the liquor license was granted BEFORE the community board hearing shouts that somebody's doing somebody a favor, and that ain't right.

Let's see a good clean fight!
March 6, 2011, 11:22 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Either which way, liquor licenses have to be renewed I believe yearly, so if the bar proves that it has not been able to contain these darh hip hop gangsters, then they will not be able to get it renewed. At least give the place a shot to prove itself instead of never giving it a shot. If the owners see that the place is not working as a hip hop bar, then I would assume they may change the formula down the road to something more family friendly in order to protect their investment. At the end of the day, they want to make money.

Though it is funny that brooklyn was the start of hip hop (debatable but a founder no less) and the "new Brooklyn" basically wants it banned. Yeahh gentrification!!!!
March 7, 2011, 9:17 am

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