Named The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, an entity connected to The Archdioces of New York, the 20,000 sq.ft. space, with two theaters, a gallery and multiple function rooms wants to add the 31st liquor license within 500′ of its 18 Bleecker St. address from 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM.
While NoHo isn’t opposed to adding more culture to the neighborhood, residents are less enthusiastic about the prospect of having one wine and beer license covering three floors and 500+ patrons at any given time, seven days a week from Noon to 12:00 a.m. Nor is it, as we were led to believe, simply a theater concession stand serving patrons during performance intermissions at the main theater location that we discussed last Fall. Instead, the application calls for the license to cover four locations, two of them movable. Management and their attorney refuse to consider a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the use and operation of this license or any items on their SLA application. We are hopeful that CB#2’s SLA Committee will tighten this up with much more specific stipulations.
UPDATE: CB#2’s SLA Committee recommended a hold-over of this application to the April agenda, pending further discussions with the 80+ signers of a petition opposing the application. The signers, all residents within 500′ of 18 Bleecker St., expressed specific concerns that the SLA Committee felt should be seriously addressed. A team of 10 residents agreed to represent the neighborhood and meet with The Sheen Center to work out stipulations that could potentially lessen the facility’s impact and the effects of an additional license on the neighborhood. The Sheen Center management refused. Instead, they circulated a letter, again outlining the facility’s use, increasing in many cases volume and hours of operation from the March submissions.
In short, the letter does not improve on any of the letters thus far received. It does NOT modify the hours of operation, in fact it seems to expand the hours to midnight to accommodate some Gala’s; it does NOT satisfy or make any promise to modify or manage 500+ patrons exiting or lingering on sidewalk(s) of the Center at any given time – no dedicated personnel for this task, only video surveillance from an interior space, with no audio and “ushers” who might be dispatched; it promises no more than a General # for complaints or concerns, leaving us to only hope there is a responsible party present. Additionally, the latest letter promises 9am to 9pm deliveries plus bus parking on the Bleecker St. Side.
The fact of the matter is that the Sheen Center has been set up to serve 1,200 plus patrons, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Their activities will include theater performances, conferences, events, festivals, gala fund raisers, filmings and third-party rehearsals. This, in itself, is a huge imposition on the community. They should NOT ALSO be allowed a license to defray their costs with alcohol sales and increase the numbers of patrons they believe they will serve, as a result, at our expense.
There is more, which you can read in the draft letter which was circulated to members of Community Board #2, for the March hearing.
If you share these concerns, you can add your signature…and your comments, here, for the April 9th hearing, at 6:30 PM – St. Anthony of Padua Church, 151-155 Sullivan St., Lower Hall .
*This post was originally published on March 11, 2015