A friend passed along a picture that brought up a host of questions about how best to deal with problems that arise from living basically on top of each other. This was the poster - you'll need to read it fairly carefully to follow the rest of this post:
I've used 311 many times myself. We did a couple 311 pigpile like this and they seem to help. But that's usually when you're dealing with a City Agency that isn't doing their job.
What I'd like to ask the maker of the flyer is this: did you ever consider going down there and talking to the guys themselves? Maybe they don't realize how loud it is to their neighbors, or are under the impression that since it's a commercial corridor it doesn't matter? Turns out that yes, it does matter, and we've been down this road before with other joints and parties. Too loud, too late, is a big-ass bummer.
Do I believe it when Orlando and Johnny, partners in the new Buda Lounge version of Ali's, say that no one came to talk to them before the police came? Yeah. I mean, I get it. You're pissed and you don't want a confrontation. Maybe you're in your jammies and your first impulse is to fire up the laptop. Still the hands on approach can sometimes work where quality of life cops just make the situation worse. Maybe just call them? If they tell you sod off, then maybe it's time to go strategic.
Through the '90s this problem came up a lot around rock clubs, especially as the East Village gentrified. I tend to think it's not so much cultural insensitivity as something far more psychologically entrenched. Meaning, yes anyone wanting a good night sleep would want the music turned down. But certain kinds of folks, I've found, are more likely to DO SOMETHING about it, feel a bit more entitled to the quiet, and often that leads to involving law enforcement. Others are less likely to go that route, or perhaps endure any aural nuisance in the spirit of "we're living on top of one another, and I may be doing something that annoys you too." From my many years of practicing with bands I have some fairly clear data to point to, and I won't beat around the bush. The whiter the neighborhood, the less likely folks are to be tolerant of loud music, even before the oft-cited curfew of 11pm. When I moved to Clarkson, I was worried that playing rocky rolly music in the basement would make me a pariah. Quite the opposite! People would frequently stop me in the street or even knock on the window and say how good it sounded, or how much fun it sounded, or how glad they were to hear music being made. That included my NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS! Was THAT a cultural difference? I think so. But, to be clear, I'm not calling anybody out here. Just observing. Oh, and yes my own occasional flights of volume have made me more tolerant of the occasional raucous dancehall dance party. If it happened every night, well, that's a different story. I guess you could say I've been on both sides of the V.U. meter.
I do object, however, to the unnecessary part of the poster where angry person says that Orlando and Johnny are jerks and bullies. Is that really how this went down? I mean, the place has barely been open a month, so it's not like there's been time to establish that these guys don't and won't work with their neighbors. Like most business owners, they want to stay in business, and that means limiting problems with neighbors and police. Since word of the poster got back to them, oh and I believe they've been visited by the cops more than once, I would expect them to get better soundproofing or keep the volume down after a certain hour. Though it might be nice to work on that in collaboration with the most angry neighbors. Am I expecting too much?
I also think that now that we have an active Merchant's Association that it wouldn't be a bad idea to contact THEM, since that could help set a tone and precedent for the whole nabe. Just a thought. Whether you think this is about "Cultural Insensitivity" or not, I did learn one story while (mildly) investigating this that I found a bit more troubling. And so I'll relate:
Remember how there was always a basketball hoop on Westbury Court? Kids, elementary and middle-schoolers mostly, maybe a bit older, would play hoops in the cul de sac. Sometimes, maybe too late. Sometimes, beers could be identified as such when older kids took over. A little weed smoking from time to time? Probably. One newcomer (yeah, okay, white) neighbor took the "fight" to the cops. And the police removed the basketball hoop and told people not to loiter at the end of the dead-end street like that.
Does that scenario sound the same, or different to you than the Hookah Lounge conflict?
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.