Wine Bar Proposal at 25 CPW Has Residents Fuming (Updated)

by - May 26, 2010 at 1:05 am -

25 cpwCall 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.

Like $55 million, 8-bedroom apartment rich. Like A-Rod rich. Like Goldman Sachs CEO rich.

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.

The entryway to the 25CPW space.

The entryway to the 25CPW space.

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.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Pete says...

    All Greg Hunt wants to do is bring a bit of dash and pizazz to this neck of the woods but longtime residents of where Mr Hunt is planning to open his wine bar are up in arms and are pushing hard to have his liquor license application denied.

  2. Joseph says...

    While I have mixed emotions concerning commercial uses on CPW, the proposal seems to have merit and the condo board (25 CPW is a condo as it 15 CPW) should be able to place restrictions concerning hours of operation.

    Due to the location, the wine bar will become a “destination” as CPW is not exactly Broadway in its appeal to pedestrians and cars. An upscale wine bar with proper operating restrictions (consider closing by 10P weekdays and 11P Fri/Sat) could easily attract the same clients as Jean Georges (one block east) as well as patrons visiting Lincoln Center.

    Of note, the space is presently a temp. art gallery, yet for many years the space was occupied by a Gerstedes “Mega Store” (more like an upscale bodega) and the neighboring 15 CPW was the site of a hotel/apartments before the Zeckendorf’s acquired the site and the adjacent Broadway lot for what is now 15 CPW apartments and commerical space in Bway.