By Maria Rocha-Buschel
After hearing complaints about ongoing noise from new pizzeria/cocktail bar Visana from neighbors, police said that they would step up their enforcement regarding noise infractions.
This was at the most recent 13th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday when neighbors of Visana, who live above the business as well as next door complained about the noise and crowds outside the place. Visana opened at 321 First Avenue at the end of September, in the space formerly occupied by Adriatic restaurant.
“My life there has always been quiet,” said Jorge Rios, who has lived directly above the space since 1970. “Restaurants have always been quiet but now that business changed the whole picture. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is fine but Thursday through Saturday I can’t sleep until 4 in the morning.”
Another resident at 321 said that one of the reasons for the excessive noise seemed to be the crowds of people gathered on the sidewalk outside the building.
“On Saturday, the noise was incredible and people couldn’t walk from 18th to 19th without walking into bike path,” said the resident, who didn’t want to give her name. “People were walking into the street and almost getting hit by bikes to avoid the crowds.”
At the community council meeting last month, Detective Ray Dorrian and Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said that owner David Jaffee had seemed willing to cooperate after complaints about noise started coming in through 311 and Jaffee told T&V after the meeting that the business was going to be hiring security to make sure the sidewalk stayed clear to prevent too much noise from outside conversations. T&V was not able to reach Jaffee for comment about the ongoing issues before press time.
Since the complaints have continued and residents say that it’s gotten worse, Dorrian said that they would begin enforcement since the owner was already given a specific set of instructions.
“The educating part has kind of come and gone so we’ll deal with it accordingly,” he assured the residents.
Lieutenant Steven Lebovic led the meeting held earlier this week because Timoney had NYPD-issued classes to complete but Dorrian noted that at the beginning of next year, the meetings would return to the regular schedule (the third Tuesday of the month) and Timoney would be back at the next one because there is no meeting in December.
Another neighbor concern discussed at the meeting was homelessness.
Lebovic noted that there has been a big push from the precinct for homeless operations because of the increased complaints from the community, which have included a multi-agency response and joint operations with the Department of Homeless Services.
“Not only are we enforcing against homeless but for those who aren’t committing violations, we’re trying to place these people,” Lebovic said.
He added that in addition to the day to day patrols around the 30th Street Men’s Shelter and the Bowery Residents Committee on West 25th Street, the precinct has been committing four modules of overtime to address these conditions.
“It’s done on overtime because it doesn’t pull from our day to day operations,” Lebovic noted. “We don’t use it as a supplement. It’s an addition to every day operations.”
Lebovic also provided some recent crime stats, saying that grand larceny has been down by 5.9 percent in the last 28 day period. However, he warned residents to be wary of pickpockets and other thieves because of the upcoming holiday season.
“You have to be mindful of surroundings,” he advised. “The same way that you’re shopping, the bad guys are shopping also. They’re shopping for your merchandise.”
Lebovic reported that overall crime in the precinct is down 0.9 percent for the year and is also slightly down for the month, by 0.6 percent. There was a 50 percent decrease in rape as well as a 21 percent decrease in robberies, but there was a small increase in felony assaults at 5 percent.