Friday, July 21, 2006

Save Mehanata!

Strange things have been afoot at Mehanata ever since it reopened at its new location at 113 Ludlow Street last month. Finally a clarification, but the news is not good.

Apparently, the Community Board reversed its earlier decision and denied the bar the transfer of its liquor and cabaret licenses, and Mehanata was shut down virtually as soon as it had reopened. Now, they have applied for new licenses, but after the 17 July meeting of Community Board 3, it looks like the licenses will not be approved.

Mehanata's owners explained that the decision was due to "a number of arbitrary and unsubstantiated reasons... (e.g. "the proposed use of this location as a dance space…is inconsistent with the primarily residential character of Ludlow street" at a site that has hosted a number of clubs/bars during the past many years – Seho, Lickwed, etc.)," and are now accusing the Community Board of "hidden intolerance towards New York's global thinking community as well as the immigrant circles ... colliding with the idea of bringing Gypsy Punk, Balkan, and Eastern European, Turkish music and culture to NYC."

Clearly Mehanata needs our help. The easiest thing to do is to send an email supporting Mehanata to Community Board 3 at Please include your name and address, and tell the board how much you love the bar and its mission, and that you really DO want it in the neighborhood.

You can also come check out the new digs at 113 Ludlow Street between Rivington and Delancy tonight (Friday) and Saturday from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. and sign the petition to the Community Board.

And if you're a bit more ambitious, you can also attend the next Community Board meeting, on 25 July at the Chinatown YMCA Beacon Center (inside PS 131 at 100 Hester Street between Eldridge and Forsyth). If you live in the neighborhood, your voice would be particularly helpful.


Anonymous said...

or it could be they lost the chance to have a license by opening illegally last month, before they even passed inspection, with teenagers on the sidewalk passing around bottles of vodka, and then bloggers commenting on how cool it was, smoking joints in the bar!

i live/work in the area, and saw the crowd myself. this is spitzers new york now. get off this stupid gypsy racism thing..

local girl said...

I don't think the denial of a license had anything to do with the music choice either. Ludlow Street (like so many East Village and LES streets) is currently overrun with bars and clubs that show no respect to their residential neighbors. (I live nearby and am disgusted with the noise, the morning vomit on my doorstep, the all-night fights, etc.) If they kept the noise level down, kept the flagrant alcohol abuse and drug use to a minimum, perhaps they'd have a chance.

Oh, and I am a pro-nightlife LES'er; I treat venues respectfully and wish other would do the same. Grr! I do think there is room for businesses and residents in the 'hood, I guess I am wishing for the impossible -- asking visitors to the neighborhood to behave responsibly and with seldom-seen maturity so the party can continue. Is there no longer a golden medium?

Anonymous said...

Could it be that you lost your chance by taking things into your own arrogant little hands by jumping the gun and opening and serving booze before you had CB #3's and the SLA's OK at the site AND pissed-off you neighbors to be by the helluva lot of excessive noise you made.

Oh, and , stop trying to hide behind the "kulture" thing. It won't work, we've seen it before.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, you openned a bar knowingly in violation and now you're complaining?
What's with you people? this is the same greed that developers have. they build before approval.
You try sleeping on Ludlow Street when the bars let out. The noise reverberates due to the narrow street and it's right under my window.

Anonymous said...

poor lightsleeper, did ya rent an apartment on the LES attracted by the proximity of great bars, lounges and clubs, the scene in all its glory? or were you duped by a broker who showed you the place at 9AM and told you it was a peaceful little hamlet close to the F train? I'll take gypsy punks in the LES over the pre developed LES replete with AK47 wielding heroin dealers anyday, if you don't like the heat in the kitchen there's plenty of other spots to bite the pillow in the 5 boros so pack it up.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Mehanata reopen, but not in CB 3, we've got too many bars and clubs as it is. I've lived in the neighborhood 15 years and like most of my neighbors I'm sick of the noise and 20-something transients who come here to puke.

Anonymous said...

Well that's what they get for charging $7 for a Budweiser.

Quiche Lorraine said...

It's good to think that so-called civic community meetings rely on anonymous blog comments from people who claim to live in the LES (perhaps a board member?). If I were to make a blog that claimed a board member illegally sells me crack on the corner, can I bring it to the meeting as "evidence" appended, or would that be speculation, like item 3 in the agenda "there is reason to beleive that the location, which has already had several nights of operation, will operate as a nightclub". Live in the LES or not, Mehanata shouldn't be penalized for the number of bars opened on Ludlow. Residents should know what they're bargaining for when they live in proximity of other streets.

Community board members were MOST disguisting when their patronizing remarks and surreptitious "motions" to delay the operation of a damn good business were highlighted by one board member who emotionally responded to a comment about how mehanata is a classy operation, screaming "well let me tell you something honey, the Lower East Side has more class than anyone!" OK, lady, if it's not RACISM were talking about, then you're right, you are a classist. Since when did the Lower East Side decide to hate up on struggling artist communities?

This is typical elitist NIMBYing on the part of residents who are out of touch with the pulse of society. So much so that they will proudly promote museums and tours that celebrate "the millions of German and Eastern European Jewish immigrants that arrived to the Lower East Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries" but cannot come to accept the new wave of immigrants arriving in the once-welcoming neighborhood to celebrate global culture. There is obvious tensions here that the board avoided to address, that ARE classist, racist, and xenophobic, under the guise of Ludlow's "primarily residential character". For a board so dedicated to language minutae, what the heck is that supposed to mean?

EP said...

"This is typical elitist NIMBYing on the part of residents who are out of touch with the pulse of society."

Give me a break. I'm in favor of being in touch with the pulse of society, just so long as it isn't vibrating through my floorboards at 3 a.m. I am writing CB3, and I'm telling them to keep the bars out, we've got more than enough. In the past we had to cope with drug dealers, now we have to cope with 20-something drunkards, frankly the old days were better, at least you could sleep if you minded your own business.

Anonymous said...

I've lived on Ludlow for 14 years and I didn't move there because it was cool! It was the cheapest place to live at the time. I think that if they actually HAVE a 500 foot clause at the SLA..then why don't they abide by their own rules? Obviously, they just want to rake in as much money as possible w/o concern for the RESIDENTS. It is the residents that are absolutely necessary to pay the mortgages of these have some respect. It's easy for all you bloggers to say "Move out" because you probably live in Red Hook or Park Slope where everything closes at 12am!!!