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Nabes Don’t Want Upscale Lounge on Flatbush Ave.

Kemistry Lounge, a forthcoming nightspot which plans to reign on Flatbush Ave, with an opening on Prospect Place, was met with contention from its neighbors.

Prospect Place is a quaint and quiet residential block—and most of the neighborhood wants to keep it that way.

Last night, at the Community Board 6's permits and licenses committee, twenty or so residents of the tree-lined street voiced serious concerns about the proposed 245-person capacity restaurant and bar/lounge called Kemistry Lounge, which is on Flatbush between Sixth Avenue and Prospect Place.

The "lounge," which was in turn applying for its liquor license, will have a full dinner menu, live jazz music, DJs and dancing for “private events.” Its proposed hours are Monday through Wednesday open until 11 p.m., Thursday until 1 a.m., Friday until 2 a.m., and Saturday until 3 a.m.

The co-owner James Brown (also of Atomic Wings on Ninth Street), presented his plans for an upscale dining experience albeit the crowd's belief that it will turn into a dance club for hundreds of rowdy fans spilling out from the Barclays arena come September. 

"It won’t be a nightclub,” Brown said after the meeting, where he stood in front of the room and patiently listened to his neighbors protest. “It won’t be as crazy as the community thinks.” 

Brown explained it will also function as a community art lounge with book readings, signings and art shows. 

But the residents of Prospect Place didn’t buy it and voiced their fear that the lounge, which already has a door and three plate glass windows on their street, not to mention sits next to Eladia’s Kids, a daycare center, will bring in noise and rowdy drunks.

Joe Marvel, who has been living on Prospect Place since 1975 and lives right next to the new development’s plate glass exit on Prospect Place, is worried about his quality of life. 

“The whole neighborhood will be affected by this place’s throbbing music at all hours of the night and there will be an uptick of loitering and urinating,” Marvel said. “In no way are we opposed to business, but we are opposed to clubs.”

Barbara Kurka, who lives two doors down on Prospect Place, echoed the sentiment of a thriving Brooklyn business district, but that this particular place is not appropriate for the block. 

“I have a hard enough time getting my 12-year-old daughter to do her homework and go to bed with out this place," Kurka said. "And if it comes, it will be impossible.”  

“I will move if this thing opens,” said another resident, Radu Simon of the nightclub. “This is going to make it unbearable to raise kids on Prospect Place.” 

Noel Wiggins, another resident, said that it is the community’s job to make sure sports bars and establishments that will cater to the “high energy crowd”—a crowd that is sure to be thirsty and ready to party after a big game at the Barclays Center—do not open in this neighborhood. 

“It was outrageous to stick a sports arena in the middle of a residential zone, but it is our job to make sure that businesses like these with loud music don’t open,” Wiggins said.

But another resident of the street, Harold Gruber, said it’s already too late—for Flatbush and the surrounding area has become a “liquor lane.”  

“Our neighborhood is already a conduit for fans to spill out from the stadium to drown out their frustrations after their team looses,” Gruber said. “This proposed use is so deleterious and so dangerous for our children, families and even dogs.”

After all the night's comments, which were all against Kemistry Lounge and referenced the establishment’s Facebook page (which has since been taken down) that described the space as a “sexy” nightclub and had pictures of people dancing on a packed dance floor, CB 6’s committee decided to table the application until the next meeting and add a few demands:

  • Send a letter to the State Liquor Authority stating that CB6 is concerned about this proposed plan and ask them not to proceed with a hearing.
  • Ask the Flatbush BID and community to meet with Kemistry Lounge’s owners to talk about how they can come to agreement.
  • Back door on Prospect Place is solely for emergency egress.

After the meeting, Kemistry's James Brown said he wasn’t discouraged, but rather that a negative reaction was “par for the course.” 

“I think it is good and the community’s concerns are legitimate,” Brown said. “We want to make changes and adapt our environment to their concerns so we can work and live together.”

What do you think? Is it possible to find a solution that benefits families and party-goers alike?

Blu March 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I understand the neighbors concern, but whether this lounge is going exist or not, Flatbush ave is going to have a night life anyway.. And furthermore I seriously doubt that Kemistry Lounge will have any negative effect on a 12 yr old from doing his/her homework... Really?!!!
Robert March 28, 2012 at 06:42 PM
This is rediculous... thatpart of Flatbush has been as close to a slum for the ;last 20 years.. it is finally getting better now that business owners are investing with the anticipation of the stadium...If they wanted to control the property the block association could have bought the property or entered into a long term lease with the owner. They did not and now someone else has the property. As long as the developer follows zoning codes the residents should have zero say as to what business goes in the location... Its all about preventing ANY development and extracting a cost from anyone who wants to open a business... look what they did to Ratner... he was willing to build a small city designed by a world-renound architect (Goudy). It was to have low middle and high income housing, shopping, parks ect.. ALL WITH PRIVATE MONEY!! (Yes the government was going to put a roof on the rail yard but there was no money for the development or construction of the structures)... now all that will be there will be the stadium, a parking garage and a few inexpensively contracted residential buildings by a a low end architect (I saw the plans... complete garbage design and construction specs) To all the NIBY...if you dont like what is going on in Park Slope.. sell your house and leave but leave the business owners and developers alone!!!!
AZ March 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Speaking as a business person, I don't want anybody selling their houses. That's bad news! Residents are what bring investment to this area. North Flatbush can be developed to benefit businesses and residents alike. It just has to be the right mix.
Peter March 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Seeing what happens in the Meatpacking District and Clubland (ie 28th street) in Manhattan on a Friday or Saturday night, no wonder the residents and the block association are nervous. Nightclubs bring drunks, idiots, fights, and trouble. What goes on at Union Hall on the weekends is nothing compared to what will happen once the area opens.
Jeffery March 29, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I actually live in the area unfortunately i wasn't able to attend the board meeting...I see nothing wrong with a lounge opening on Flatbush ave the area is basically upcoming and the money being brought to the area isn't a bad thing.
Sloper March 29, 2012 at 01:14 PM
A 245 person "lounge" that's open until 3am and opens onto a residential street with daycare? I'm all for more businesses here too but I see the residents' point. This just seems like a particularly bad spot for a nightclub.
Robert March 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Soi 9offer the owener of the lease oyur money to buy them out... its easy to say no when it doesnt cost you anything.. .. 3AM is normal on NY.. It is on the Flatbush ave corner and the doors on the side street are just off the corner.. Flatbush is a 24hr major thoroughfare so there doesn't see to be a conflict there. (no one who wants peace and quite would ever think of buying or renting a place within 3 blocks of Flatbush!!). as for the day care center IT IS CLOSED AT 3AM but in your logic its existence give you the right to prevent someone from opening a business and employing people...typical elitist Sloper
Peter March 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Robert, there's nothing elitist about families not wanting a loud nightclub on their residential street. Only part of this nightclub is on Flatbush. The other part is on a residential street. The neighbors have a right to object. The nightclub investors might have thought about what the residents might say before signing an expensive lease and putting an entrance on a residential block.
AZ March 30, 2012 at 12:07 AM
North Flatbush businesses can't afford to alienate residents. As an investor in the area, I think there's a golden opportunity to build the community and business at the same time. I've always thought North Flatbush could be a gem and the last few years have seen a lot of progress. It's gotta work for both sides though.
Larry March 30, 2012 at 06:08 PM
When the Stadium comes, the whole area will be regularly overrun by stoked morons, so another place for them to hang out is not going to cause a whole lot more damage.
Sean April 02, 2012 at 05:05 PM
What about all of the perfectly respectable middle aged Bruce Springstein fans leaving a concert -- shouldn't they be entitled to a quiet lounge nearby for a hearty Merlot?
Peter Mandzych April 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Just another ongoing battle. Everytime a bar opens around the neighborhood this is going to happen. Just like certain people think that they will be able to influence a denial for a liquor license for Barclays Center tonight. Hey they stopped the West Side Highway from being built in the 80's because of stripped bass so why not just fight on. Well good luck with that one. Look... the war is over. Barclays Center will open on time... that's reality. The area surrounding the arena will change. Downtown Brooklyn is already got plans for a bunch of skyscrapers to be built there and we aren't even talking about the rest of Atlantic Yards. It's time to move on. But ya won't. I'm sure someone will try to propose tearing down Barclay's Center. Makes for interesting conversation. Good luck and have a nice day !!!!!
Robert April 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM
thanks for the well thought post... We still need to fight the NIMBY crowd every time the make noise... they are only effective because they are not afraid to make noise themselves..
Prospect Place Neighbors April 23, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Please see the Prospect Place Neighbors' announcement about tonight's (4/23) CB6 meeting, during which Kemistry will be discussed (again). In summary, the community negotiated in good faith; Kemistry did not. http://prospectplaceneighbors.blogspot.com/2012/04/our-press-kit-for-tonights-cb6-meeting.html

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