Thanks to Erin and the lively message board at The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, I became aware of two letters to the editor of The New York Times regarding Heathers, that rare Alphabet City bar that stocks gluten-free beer but also bothers some of its neighbors:
And now Gawker has drawn my attention to this piece of investigative journalism, by Chris Shott of The New York Observer, in which Shott taped noise at Heathers and described some of what transpires there.
As a board member and resident of the building directly across the street from Heathers bar ("The Sound and the Fury," Jan. 21), I believe that the public opposition to the noise problem is legitimate and more than just an "active minority" of residents. My neighbors and I regularly endure noise and many other disturbances to our quality of life resulting from Heathers.
Although I live in the back of the building, I must now leave some of my windows closed at night year-round to avoid hearing the noise.
Many residents of our building are suffering from the nightly commotion, even with windows closed. One unit-owner recently moved out, citing the disturbances from Heathers, specifically, as the main reason for moving. For these reasons, I believe that the vast majority of the residents of our building and this block oppose the renewal of Heathers’ liquor license.
I am a designer and artist living on 13th Street, two doors down from Heathers. As a patron, I appreciate the gluten-free beer and potato vodka, but primarily it is the vibe that brings me back.
Not since leaving the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco have I found a place that feels like a true community of locals, varied in interest, age, profession and gender. Heathers is one of the few gems at night that reflects what the East Village could be.
Before Heathers, the space was an after-hours club, and as a neighbor I much prefer Heathers. As a patron I am glad it has withstood the complaints, and I hope that the two parties can resolve their issues.
I'm still thinking along the lines of letter-writer Cas Holman: There must be a mutually satisfactory solution to the dispute. This is, after all, not an unusual problem in New York City. That is why, after reading about owner Heather Millstone's attempts to mitigate the problem, I continue to be disturbed by the Community Board's hardline, seemingly uncompromising, position.