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?