RIOC And Hudson Related Seeking To Close Roosevelt Island M&D Deli After 10 PM For Noise Complaints Outside Store - Why Not Better Policing Instead Asks Owner?
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is seeking
to force the M&D Deli
Image of M&D Deli and Surrounding Area
to reduce the hours that the M&D Deli is open at night so that they close by 10 PM. According to this August 16 letter from RIOC Public Safety Department Interim Director Jack McManus to Main Street Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's David Kramer (Landlord of M&D Deli):
Good Afternoon Mr. Kramer,In response to the letter from Mr. McManus, Lisa Management, on behalf of the landlord Hudson Related sent this September 16 letter informing M&D Deli that they would have to close during the hours of 10 PM to 5 AM.
I am Jack McManus, the Director of Public Safety for Roosevelt Island. I am writing to you today regarding the M&D delicatessen, located at 579 Main St, Roosevelt Island. For at least a year, M&D has been closing between I:00 A.M. and 2:00 A.M. I have been informed that they formerly closed at 10:00 P.M.
I have been in my present position for approximately two months. During that time I have been inundated with noise complaints from residents attributing the noise to the area in front of M&D. I have personally observed the crowd of younger people who gather in front of there nightly from around 9:00 P.M. on and have heard the noise which presumably results in complaints.
On July 4th, 2013 at approximately II :45 P.M., a shooting occurred in the street directly in front of the deli. There were at least 150 youths who were hanging out that night. I understand that there is a general belief on the island that these quality of life issues such as unreasonable noise, and littering in front of M&D, began to really fester after the deli began to remain open until I:00 A.M. or 2:00 A.M.
It would be to the benefit of the community if the deli were to revert to the 10 o' clock closing time. I would appreciate any assistance in this matter.
Yesterday, I asked Mr. McManus:
... 1- why the deli is being told to close at 10 PM and not any of the other stores on Roosevelt Island andand Mr. Kramer:
2- if there is a quality of life issue in the area around the M&D Deli after 10 PM why not have Public Safety Officers arrest or move along those making noise and other problems instead of forcing the M&D Deli owner to close at this time.
... any comment on why the deli is being told to close at 10 PM and not any of the other stores on Roosevelt Island. Will Gristedes,Riverwalk Bar & Grill or any of the other Roosevelt Island retail stores be required to close at the same time.Mr. McManus has not replied yet. Mr. Kramer replied:
We plan to sit down with M&D and RIOC to figure out how we can minimize the noise issues without competitively disadvantaging the deli.I followed up asking Mr. Kramer:
Does that mean you are withdrawing the letter requiring the Deli to close at 10 pm?Mr. Kramer resonded:
We often put down our concerns in writing to tenants, which leads to further conversations and resolution. I'm not sure we're there yet.I spoke with the M&D Deli owner last night. He told me that there is no problem with noise levels inside his stores and that noise coming from outside his store is not his responsibility but the responsibility of the Public Safety Department. The owner said that he has called Public Safety many times about people hanging out near his store at night but that Public Safety does nothing about it.
Upon learning of RIOC and Hudson Related's attempt to force the closure of the M&D Deli after 10 PM, Frank Farance sent the following messages to RIOC and Hudson Related:
I am appalled by PSD Director Jack McManus' letter to force the closing of M&D Deli. Mr. McManus' letter is factually incorrect and misleading. What seems obvious is that, because of the ongoing PSD Abuse, RIOC is retaliating against M&D Deli in light of:Mr. Farance continues:
(1) the M&D Deli Videos well-documented the kind of PSD Abuse and fabrication of testimony by PSD officers
(2) although the M&D Deli staff were helping PSD facilitate an arrest by keeping bystanders out of the arrest, PSD then turned around an abusively arrested the M&D Deli staff, including beating one of the workers with a baton (who was not resisting his erroneous arrest)
(3) these Deli Videos have captured the attention of the community, the media, and the authorities because they so clearly describe the kinds of PSD Abuse residents and merchants have had to suffer from PSD
The following is a rebuttal to several points in Mr. McManus' August 16, 2013 letter:
McManus> For at least a year, M&D has been closing between 1:00 A.M. and 2:00 A.M. I have been informed that they formerly closed at 10:00 P.M.
About a year ago, Hudson-Related took over the retail master and H-R encouraged merchants to be more responsive to community needs, one of those needs was to have later hours. Several merchants have responded.
McManus> I have been in my present position for approximately two months. During that time I have been inundated with noise complaints from residents attributing the noise to the area in front of M&D.
What Mr. McManus does not reveal is virtually all of the complaints are at times when M&D is already closed. Here are the Noise Complaints from the PSD blotter for over a year, since July 31, 2012:
09/21/13 - 0556 - F/O 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
09/17/13 - 0600 -579 Main St - Noise Complaint - Condition unfounded.
9/8/13 - 0522 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - Condition Corrected.
9/7/13 - 0454 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition Corrected.
9/7/13 - 0625 - F/O 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
9/4/13 - 0600 - F/O 579 Main St - Noise complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
9/4/13 - 0615 - F/O 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD & NYPD responded - Condition corrected.
9/1/13 - 0610 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - Condition corrected by PSD.
8/30/13 - 0210 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
8/26/13 - 0426 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - Condition corrected
0250 - 8/23/13 - f/o 579 Main St.- Noise Complaint - Condition corrected
8/22/13 - 0610 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected
8/20/13 - 0545 - 579/580 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
08/13/13 - 0640 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - PSD responded. Condition corrected.
08/06/13 - 0620 - F/O 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
8/3/13 - 0412 - 579 Main St - Noise complaint - PSD Responded - Condition Corrected.
8/2/13 - 0418 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - Condition Corrected
07/31/13 - 0630 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - PSD on scene. Condition corrected.
07/24/13 - 0635 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - Condition corrected.
07/19/13 - 0155 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
7/12/13 - 0000 - 579 Main St. - Noise Complaint - Negative findings
7/6/13 - 0150 - 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - Condition Corrected
06/20/13 - 0405 - f/o 579 Main St - Noise Complaint - PSD responded - Condition corrected.
4/12/13 - 0045 - 579 Main St - Noise complaint - Condition corrected
Of the 352 Noise Complaints on Roosevelt Island since July 31, 2012, only 24 are associated with 579 Main Street, and of which 22 were founded. These complaints certainly involve noise OUTSIDE of M&D Deli while the store is CLOSED (4:30 AM to 6:30 AM).
Also, these complaints all seem to revolve around the past three months, presumably timed in response to M&D's staffers litigation against RIOC for PSD's abuse. Really, 23 complaints in the past three months, but only one complaint in the year prior? And with the exception of the April 12 and June 20 complaints, all of the complaints while the store was closed?
Furthermore, there was a hold-up at Gristede's (with guns), and there is constant noise from 2-4 River Road (across from Gristedes), but RIOC is not pressuring Gristedes to close. In RIOC's forcing M&D to close, but not take the same actions against other merchants in response to crime/noise, RIOC is putting M&D at a competitive disadvantage.
McManus> I understand that there is a general belief on the Island that these quality of life issues such as unreasonable noise, and littering in front of M&D, began to really fester after the deli began to remain open until 1:00 A.M. or 2:00 A.M.
The real problem with the noise and such is PSD's inability to address it properly: us residents have witnessed many times PSD officers standing on the 575 steps, while doing nothing about a racket 10 feet away outside the M&D Deli -- an ongoing complaint that PSD does little to address problems. Ditto for the noise/youth outside of 580 Main or 2-4 River Road.
The July 4 party started at Lighthouse Park (a mile away), PSD handled it poorly. After the break-up, the crowds moved south towards the subway and tram. There was a shooting, which happened to be in front of M&D Deli. There were also other problems elsewhere on the Island that night, such as neighbors reporting large, undispersed crowds on the East Promenade. But the problem was RIOC/PSD's allowing such a party to happen at Lighthouse Park, and PSD handled it poorly and ineffectively.
The same kind of noisy event happened the evening of August 10 at Al Lewis Park (across from 2-4 River Road), and the same noisy exit happened again, but this time the noise was in front of Trellis (which was closed), and by the 580 Main (Eastwood) Driveway.
These kinds of noise problems happen in regular areas on the Island, but the solution isn't to close the merchants (Gristede's, M&D, Trellis) or the residential buildings (2-4 River Road, 510 Main, 580 Main), the solution is for PSD to do a better job patrolling (or get assistance from NYPD). NYPD has had no problem clearing out noise problems. Recently, I've seen better work from PSD on clearing out noise, and I've complemented their better efforts.
In summary, (1) Mr. McManus' determination is arbitrary and capricious, (2) Mr. McManus' complaints are baseless (the M&D Deli was closed at the time of the complaints), (3) the complaints seem to be timed in retaliation to RIOC litigation (because of the lack of history of prior complaints during the past year), (4) the noise problems are caused by PSD's poor patrolling efforts.
I request that (1) RIOC withdraw its request for shorter hours for M&D Deli because it puts the merchant at a competitive disadvantage, (2) with RIOC's involvement in changing a merchant's sublease provisions via the master retail lease arrangement, RIOC should equally get involved in making recommendations to H-R when it suits the community's interest, not just when it suits RIOC's litigation interests, (3) the RIOC Board reprimand its attorneys for intimidation of witnesses (I will file a separate complaint with the NYS Bar Association), (4) Mr. McManus review the Deli Videos and PSD officers' fabrication of testimony such that Mr. McManus can get a better understanding of the history and the community's perspective on PSD (an E-mail I sent him on June 19 at 1:16 PM titled "Cliff Notes on community view, Jones incident facts, PSD fabrication of testimony, RIOC Board inaction").
RIOC Board Member Mike Shinozaki said that the Deli Videos would not stand in the way of M&D Deli getting a new lease. But even with the lease, RIOC can still intimidate merchants. This practice should stop immediately.
I have also confirmed with the owner, as was his prior position, that M&D Deli does not want the noise outside their store, but Public Safety has been unresponsive. The owner has stated that he has tried to talk to the people outside, with a Public Safety officer standing nearby, but the Public Safety officer would not offer assistance clearing the noise. The owner also reports that PSD would sit in their patrol cars and watch the noise in front of 579 Main but do nothing.(Video of the deli incident referenced by Mr. Farance is here).
The failure, obviously, is with Public Safety, both with Mr. Guerra's tenure, but also with Mr. McManus. If this were NYPD, an officer might ask a bodega owner: "There is noise outside your store and we [NYPD] would like to clear it out". If the bodega owner said "Sure, clear it out because it hurts my business, but I don't want you telling the people we asked for this because they will bother me inside my store" (a reasonable, responsible response), then the noise would be gone and NYPD would know that the store owner is cooperative.
But we don't have this here because of the tangled web of relationships with the State government being the landlord (or Overlord in the case of the master retail lease), and this Overlord is also responsible for law enforcement, and the merchants fearing that complaints about law enforcement translate into problems with lease renewals and RIOC permitting (an important worry).
So has the PSD Director had that kind bodega-owner's discussion and offered to help the merchant with the noise problem outside their store? No. It seems that RIOC isn't really interested in solving a noise problem, they seem to be more interested in pressuring a merchant whose employees have litigation against them for PSD Abuse.
Will update if RIOC responds.
UPDATE 5:30 PM - RIOC Public Safety Director McManus reports that all of the noise complaints referenced by Mr. Farance occurred during hours that the M&D Deli was open. Mr. McManus explained that the time stamps on the Incident Reports reflects when the reports were prepared by PSD and not when the noise incidents happened.
Mr. McManus also emphasized that he is not aware of a single report made by the Deli owner to Public Safety regarding problems outside of the deli.