LOX Bar…Let’s Speak On It…
It sounds all too familiar, a group of neighbors petitioning against the noise of a bar/lounge spot during hours of operation. Except this time as a result of the complaints, it seems the bar/lounge has become the target of every city agency within its bureaucracy. The FDNY, NYPD, DEP, DOH, DOB, NYSLA have all visited LOX Bar and Ultra Lounge since it officially opened in March 2008. I’m not saying at some point a business wouldn’t be visited by these agencies, but I think we would be hard pressed to find another in the area to be visited by all in such a short period time. One agency even asked the owners did they make someone mad!
Now because I know people like to make judgments about places they have never stepped foot in I’d like to give some background information about this establishment. Located at 15 Putnam Ave. between Grand Ave. and Cambridge Place, Lox Bar and Ultra Lounge is owned by Laki and Arlene McLaurin.
The venue with its beautiful decor is used for a multitude of events. Everything from sweet sixteens, baby showers, open mics, live jazz to retirement parties and memorials for lost ones. Just last weekend a going home procession was held for a member of the Gibbs-Carter family who have been residents of Clinton Hill for over 20 years. In February a speed dating event was held by a great program called Struggles Corp. (Please click on the link to see what this great program, started by young Brooklyn women, is all about) to raise heart awareness. Below is a link to the event where you can see some nice interior pictures of LOX:
In April a charity event is being held for autism awareness, a subject the owners are very informed about, for it hits close to home. My point in writing this post is to bring to light the positives this business brings to the community on a stretch that has had much bigger issues. Did we forget that the police had to shut down Grand for months on end a few years ago? Did we forget how the corner of Grand was prior to the police shutting it down? Do people not realize that if the Liquor Authority granted this business a license to operate in a residential area, then they are allowed to do so? Yes, I am sensitive to people hearing noise but honestly, living in New York particularly near a commercial strip, there is the possibility of a restaurant or bar opening. Welcome to life in the big city! The funny thing is out of ALL the bars in this residential area, only a few have been the target of noise complaints by residents while also being accused of bringing a certain “element”. I’d like to point out that LOX has never had any incidents nor has the NYPD had to visit, other than inquires about said noise complaints. The petition on LOX indicated it wanted to rid the community of this element…think they’re talking solely about noise?
3/23/09 Follow up- After being visited by the FDNY on thursday March 19th, the DOB and FDNY on friday March 20th, LOX was visited once again on saturday March 21st by the NYPD and FDNY. Neither visit resulted in the handing out of fines or summonses. As per Leticia James statement about urging city agencies to take action against LOX, the suspicions are confirmed that LOX is indeed being targeted. I’ve never heard of this many city agencies making one business their focal point as a result of a five people making a noise complaint. The fact of the matter is, these agencies besides the NYPD and maybe the DEP, are not coming to inquire about noise, they are coming because of false accusations and complaints. There are various bars in the neighborhood, most of which create some noise for surrounding neighbors, but they are tolerated. When Habana Outpost is on from the spring to summer months, you can hear the buzz of people once you hit Fulton and S.Oxford, it seems to be tolerated and I’m sure if five neighbors had complaints about Habana Outpost, it wouldn’t prompt the Councilwoman to make them the target of several city agencies for reasons that don’t involve noise. Dekalb ave is buzzing with people all weekend, the neighbors, many of whom have been there for years before there was a succession of bars, seem to deal with it. I’m of the opinion that the complaintants in this situation will only be happy with complete silence because before LOX opened up officially, Kush was the subect of their ire except it never went this far. There have been times since LOX opened up, the neighbors have come to complain to the owners, only to find out that the noise was coming next door from Kush.
This was the scene outside on saturday:
Here is the scene inside at the same time: