Visana, a pizzeria in front and cocktail lounge in back, on First Avenue (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Visana, the First Avenue speakeasy style cocktail lounge that’s previously drawn the ire of neighbors due to nighttime noise, had the 13th Precinct’s commanding officer seeing red recently after officers issued seven summonses for underage drinking.
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said the 13th Precinct will be taking a more active role with regards to disruptive patrons at Visana after those incidents, which occurred at the end of February.
“We’ve been on top of them lately but that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Timoney said. “(Visana owner David Jaffee) was crying out in the street saying they didn’t want this to happen but they advertised a party that night. They knew this would happen when they packed the place.”
Jaffee and his partner Ross Rachlin have been at a number of meetings of the 13th Precinct Community Council in the last few months but were not present this Tuesday as Timoney addressed community members.
Area residents, who were at the meeting to find out if progress had been made in keeping the bar under control, praised the police officers who have responded to the scene in dealing with the drunken crowds.
Visana recently failed to get the support of a Community Board 6 committee in its hopes for renewal of its liquor license. The business has an upcoming hearing with the State Liquor Authority regarding charges on noise and license issues.
While the events taking place in Stuyvesant Town ever since the historic sale to Tishman Speyer have hardly lacked for headlines, from the point of view of a former resident, the story that was not being told — at least not nearly enough — was that of how the aggressive attempts to turn over apartments impacted individuals.
Lisa M. Morrison, along with two other people, have since written a book on the subject, called Priced Out: Stuyvesant Town and the Loss of Middle-Class Neighborhoods. The book, published by NYU Press ($28 paperback), was released on March 15 and is available at nyupress.org and on Amazon. Co-authors are Rachael A. Woldoff and Michael R. Glass.
The book includes 50 interviews with residents of all ages and situations (from seniors, some of whom are original residents, to younger people with families to singles, including college students.)
“It has a lot of different angles and kind of looks at the issue from different perspectives,” Morrison said. She also suggested the book is complementary to Charles Bagli’s Other People’s Money, which offered a behind-the-scenes look at the infamous $5.4 billion deal and the real estate feeding frenzy that led to such a speculative and ultimately predatory investment.
“Our book focuses on the community members’ experience, since I don’t think any other book has that,” Morrison said. “And the idea of being priced out of a community. It’s something that’s happening all over. It’s something a lot of people can relate to.”
Re: Letter, “TA election is just politics as usual,” letter, T&V, Mar. 10
Why in the world did an anonymous letter writer choose the STPCV Tenants Association’s announcement of its annual election as an occasion to attack the organization? And why suggest that the election is not “fair and open” when the announcement of open nominations and an invitation to all qualified (over 18 and dues-paying) residents to submit their names and resumes for consideration was announced in this newspaper as well as via blast email and posted in the lobby of every building?And isn’t it ironic that a writer claiming the TA is less than open chooses to be “name withheld?”
To answer a couple of Name Withheld’s questions: The totally unsecret name of the TA’s chair is Kevin Farrelly. He was elected to that post by the Board following last year’s election. (The full election results were reported in T&V and posted on our website.)
At the same time, Susan Steinberg, who had been chair, was elected to be president, replacing John Marsh, who chose not to continue in the post. Name Withheld asks “who exactly are the directors?” They are listed on our letterhead and if he/she has ever attended a Tenants Association meeting for all residents, he/she should recall that each board member is introduced and stands up at every meeting.
As to why some board members are re-elected every four years, perhaps not surprisingly, there aren’t a whole lot of residents eager to give up many unpaid hours a week of their private time to look after the interests of their neighbors. And regarding the complaint that he/she never hears from any board members but Ms. Steinberg: like most well-run organizations ours has a spokesperson and she is it. However, I am, for Name Withheld’s information…
Soni Holman Fink, PCV Member of the ST-PCV TA Board of Directors