After hearing a particularly impassioned complaint about big bottomed noise coming from Rhythm Splash, the only real "club" along the Flabenue, the Q decided to put on his other hat as chair of the environmental protection committee of the community board and check it out. Speaking of hats (fedoras), it turns out that Ben Edwards, the prez of the Lefferts Manor Association, knows the owner Richard and offered to set up a meeting for the three of us. Ben came striding down the Flab dressed to the nines as usual, with his trademark chapeau -- I could tell it was him from three blocks away. Anyhoo, twas a bit late for this old man to be out even on a weekend, but technically I was here on business, and I couldn't help thinking what a strange pair we looked as we entered the place.
We were greeted kindly at the door; I scanned the place and found it immediately inviting, not at all like I'd pictured it through the window, where it often appeared exclusive. Exposed brick, a nicely lit bar, the music not too loud but not too soft. If things were always this relaxed and pleasant, I'd find it hard to believe it could draw unwanted attention. If anything, I'd expect the place to be packed most nights, given the dearth of decent bars around here. Much to my surprise (should I have been?) a tableful of four coed young folks of the newcomer variety [were they real young or mid-young? I can't tell anymore. And yes, they were white, so in answer to one reader's query, the place is not "restricted" anymore than by your own mind :) ] were busy chatting, chugging and chuckling. The pretty bartender was all smiles, the few "regulars" were watching a game. For the life of me, I can't imagine why there weren't more than the 10 or so folks there, especially since the place seems destined to attract a diverse and un-thuggy crowd. Well, on regular non-club nights anyway.
So in walks Richard, a sweet Trinidadian who's tried a few tactics to heighten the bar's profile over the past couple years. It became clear within minutes that his heart and head are in the right place...but it's been hard to find the right groove. When he and his partners rely on party promoters to pack the place, things can get out of hand, despite the frisking bouncer. Because it's being run as a DJ party the volume tends to start loud and just get louder as the night wears on, and not all the patrons are known to the owners. A party can run til 4am, and though Richard claims the upstairs neighbors don't complain and have his cell number in case of problems, it's quite clear that all the opening and closing of the front door DOES cause quite a bit of excess urban chaos to sleepers nearby. The irony is that the thick curtains could be shut to contain a lot of the sound, but the cops have asked that they stay drawn so they can easily see inside. Even with the curtain's attenuation, though, smokers are constantly opening the door and spilling onto the sidewalk, and each door opening punches the quiet night like a blaring car alarm. No question it's a quandary, since the volume generally doesn't reach illegal levels when the doors are closed, which would be how the cops would test the decibels. So...what to do? I welcome your comments...it really is a question of how to balance the rights of a business vs. the rights of neighbors. Even the decidedly downscale LPT has been struggling to keep its music alive on weekends. (Is karaoke kaput?)
Here's a picture of Richard and Renee standing at the bar. Nice people. Give 'em a try some time. The most you have to lose is the cost of a happy hour drink.
I'm happy to log any complaints through the community board, and they'll go right to the precinct. 311 is a bit less direct, but it works. You can absolutely call 911 if things have become unruly or criminally loud. Or just ask me for Richard's cell phone number, and I suspect he'd rather turn it down than risk a bigger ordeal. He's doing five to six club nights a month, so maybe a schedule would be helpful? I don't know. I'm trying to find a compromise here!
Oh, and yes he IS changing the name of the joint. Probably to The Avenue. I don't think I need to tell you what name the Q would prefer...
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.