Can New York Protect its Dive Bars?

Over the past couple of decades, Manhattan's ruthless redevelopment has transformed neighborhoods up and down the island. In the East Village, local leaders are trying to defend the area's popular dive bars from rising rents and changing clientele.

Laura Kusisto reports on efforts by local leaders to, "preserve the small watering holes the East Village is known for, as the area becomes home to more large bars and clubs catering to young people seeking a raucous night out." One avenue being considered is the creation of a special "night life" zoning district that would limit the location of clubs and large bars.

"As the neighborhood once known for its intimate night life is transformed into what some deem a multi-block frat house," writes Kusisto, "community leaders are looking for ways to control the scene that are more subtle than simply quashing liquor-license applications."

"[Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3] said the community board isn't trying to stop new bars from opening. Instead, board members are considering proposals to concentrate them in areas away from residential buildings and potentially restrict opening hours for some establishments. She said this would help 'limit any negative quality of life impacts.'"

"It is unclear if limiting the location of bigger establishments would necessarily save local favorites such as Lakeside Lounge, a 16-year-old Alphabet City standby that closed in the spring, and Mars Bar, a much-loved, proudly mangy dive that closed this year after 27 years, to the chagrin of many neighborhood residents," notes Kusisto.

Full Story: Defining an East Village Bar


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