Wine Bar Proposal at 25 CPW Has Residents Fuming (Updated)
by Avi - May 26, 2010 at 1:05 am -
Call it the battle of the Century.
The exceptionally rich and tremendously powerful residents of 15 and 25 Central Park West are girding for battle against a businessman who wants to install a cafe/wine bar in the ground floor of 25 Central Park West, known as the Century.
This is no ordinary NIMBY fight. Many of the richest people in New York live at 15 and 25 CPW, which sit on opposite sides of 62nd Street overlooking the park.
25 Central Park West has a ground floor space that is temporarily being used as an art gallery called 25CPW. But Gregory Hunt, who co-founded Jerry Seinfeld-hangout Amsterdam Billiards, wants to turn it into a cafe and wine bar called the Century Cafe.
But the residents are up in arms. They’ve hired the Parkside Group, a lobbying firm that has worked for unions, nonprofits and politicians. And they’ve reached out to politicians like local City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who has already fired off a letter to the state liquor authority opposing Hunt’s proposal.
“I have not been briefed on the specifics of his plan, but I have spoken to Mr. Hunt’ s attorney and expressed the concerns articulated to me by residents of the neighborhood,” she wrote. “In particular, the issue of an establishment serving alcohol late into the night in a residential neighborhood is of great concern to residents. I look forward to working with all stakeholders on identifying a small business that would be more suitable for the location than a bar.”
Hunt, who pulled his community board application for a liquor license in the space earlier this year after 25 CPW’s condo board asked him for more time to review the proposal, says his plan to put a cafe and wine bar in the space is back on. He told us that there are a lot of “misconceptions” about his intentions among people who live nearby — most notably, they seem to think the space will hold a nightclub, as opposed to the “gorgeous wood-paneled art deco cafe and wine bar” he wants to create. He himself hates nightclubs.
“I’m 52 and I’m tired of going out and having to shout over everyone,” he said.
Hunt says the cafe will only play low background music and will not have live bands or dancing. Only 74 people, including staff, will be allowed inside at one time.
“I don’t think they realize that what they’re opposing might not be what’s going to go in there.”
Hunt has also hired a lobbying group, Caparino & Associates. The liquor license hearing is set for June 9.