By Michael Wakin
New restaurants are on their way to the Upper West Side and the circus is coming back.
Community Board 7 accepted, postponed, and denied several bids for liquor licenses and sidewalk cafes in a packed meeting last week that did not lack for drama and conflict.
A restaurant called Twin Palms plans to open at 200 West 84th Street, the former home of Spiga. The owner is Tim Harris, who also owns Australian restaurant Burke and Wills and the Manhattan Cricket Club bar. His bid for a liquor license was approved by the board. The restaurant hopes to seat 50 people, as well as 9 people at the bar. Harris says he plans to completely renovate the space. He stated that there will be oyster happy hour and that small plates will be priced at around $30, large plates $45.
A Greek restaurant, which has yet to be named, will open at 2350 Broadway near 85th Street (it’s not immediately clear which storefront space it will take in the building). The hours will be 11:30am-12am on weekdays, 11am-12am on Saturday, and 11am-11pm on Sunday. The restaurant will only play background music.
The Big Apple Circus, before it initially shut down. Photo by Lauren.
The Big Apple Circus is returning to Lincoln Center after a short hiatus under new owners, a company called BigTop Works. The board approved its application for a full liquor license. The circus plans to open October 27th and end January 7th with performances Wednesdays through Sundays.
There is some controversy over the new circus, because it plans to use public space at Damrosch Park, a plaza in Lincoln Center that some community members say should be open to the public and not utilized for a for-profit endeavor. The company says it will make multiple community outreach efforts, including at least one show a week where tickets are $10 as well as shows for autistic children, the deaf, and the blind.
Kureiji, now open at 506 Amsterdam near West 84th Street, is kosher and will be equipped with a full sushi bar. The hours are 11am-12am Sunday-Thursday. Kureiji is a tight space seating roughly 14 people.
Guacamole Taqueria plans to move into a previously vacant space on 786 Amsterdam near West 98th Street. The owner plans a complete renovation. However, an application for a liquor license was postponed because of the many unknowns surrounding these future renovations. The restaurant plans to open in September.
The board rejected bid by Jumbo Bagel’s at 472 Columbus Avenue (82nd-83rd) bid for an unenclosed sidewalk café because the owners did not show up to the meeting.
Café 21, which plans to open at 21 West End Avenue, was approved for a two-year liquor license.
The board rejected Jazz on the Park’s application for a two-year beer and wine license. The board said Jazz on the Park, a youth hostel, has been subject to an overwhelming amount of complaints because of its guests’ reckless behavior and a beer and wine license would only exacerbate the problem. Furthermore, the hostel is zoned in a residential area, making it illegal for Jazz on the Park to receive such license.
The climax of the meeting came when Jacob Hadjigeorgis, the owner of Maison Pickle, made his bid for an unenclosed sidewalk café with 10 tables and 20 seats on the side street of 84th between Broadway and West End. Side street sidewalk seating requests are normally refused, but the board appeared sympathetic to the Mr. Hadjigeorgis because of his deep ties to the Upper West Side, philanthropic work, and enthusiastic patrons.
However, when the board opened the discussion to the public, speakers vehemently opposed the owner’s request. Members of the Congregation Ohav Sholom and residents of 255 West 84th issued a barrage of objections, including the potential for garbage pileup, increased noise, the abundance of rats, congested foot traffic, and disruption of services. One resident stated it would “change the character of the street.” Amid the wave of disapproval, the owner of Maison Pickle withdrew his application, which was met with applause.
The board did state that they would approve an unenclosed sidewalk café for Maison Pickle on Broadway contingent on it not jetting out past 5 Napkin Burger’s café.
We have corrected some addresses in this post after initial publication.