Club Remix gets liquor license

By Julie Shapiro

Club Remix on Park Pl. is attracting a growing chorus of complaints from its neighbors, but the club still succeeded in renewing its liquor license this week.

The State Liquor Authority approved the renewal Wednesday despite an overwhelmingly negative resolution from Community Board 1 because the club had no violations or complaints from the First Precinct, said Bill Crowley, an S.L.A. spokesperson.

“When we don’t have any adverse history and we don’t have any violations, we’re going to renew the license,” Crowley said. “It would seem almost arbitrary for us to deny a renewal for a place with no violations.”

The S.L.A. may not have any violations on its books for Remix, but the club apparently served alcohol last weekend without a license. Remix’s old license expired on Feb. 28 and the new two-year license did not take effect until March 11, Crowley said. In the interim, Remix was not allowed to serve alcohol, he said.

But Chris Kotsonis, who owns Remix, said the license was preapproved as of March 1. Asked this week if the club served alcohol last weekend, Kotsonis replied, “Of course.”

Crowley would not say whether the S.L.A. is investigating, but he said, “Serving alcohol without a license would be a serious violation.”

Neighbors of Remix were hoping the S.L.A. would not renew the license. They say the club, which fronts on Park Pl. and Murray St., has long been a problem, with throbbing music and crowds of people spilling onto the street late at night. The club’s patrons shatter windows, vandalize cars and slash trash bags, leaving the street a mess and making the neighborhood unsafe, residents say.

“Our area is being treated like a dumping ground,” said Suellen Epstein, who lives on Murray St.

Epstein said she knows a woman who works near Remix who sometimes sleeps in her office because she feels unsafe walking past the club on her way home late at night.

Maura Craven, Epstein’s neighbor, said she and her family attend an 8 a.m. mass on Sundays and often see people pouring out of the club, which is legally supposed to close by 4 a.m. After hearing of an early-morning mugging at Murray and Church Sts., Craven said she is afraid to walk past the club with her 5-year-old daughter.

“It is a dangerous situation,” Craven wrote in an e-mail to Downtown Express. “We have started to attend a 4 p.m. mass on Saturday rather than run the risk of getting

mugged on the way to mass. Should we at 8 a.m. be subjected to this?”

Rick Lee, a First Precinct community affairs officer, said there are no problems with Remix.

“We’ve gotten complaints about it, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the club,” Lee said. “There are no laws against being on the street at night. You can’t blame the club for catering to people and then they’re out on the street.”

Lee said he had not heard about the vandalism and violence residents described to Downtown Express. The First Precinct has acted against clubs it sees as problems, most recently Club Deco, formerly called Peppers.

Kotsonis, the club’s owner, got angry when she heard about the neighbors’ complaints, saying they must be lying because her club was not causing any problems.

“We’re not aware of any of that,” she said. “We have done the best we can.”

Kotsonis then said she would meet with any concerned residents. She said she already hires security guards and a company to clean the street.

Epstein, who lives nearby, was glad to hear that the owner would meet with residents, but she was discouraged that the S.L.A. would renew the license. Epstein said she would keep pressuring the First Precinct to patrol the area, “But what a waste of our tax dollars,” she said.

John Foss, a Community Board 1 member who has a clear view of the club from his Barclay St. apartment, said the club has become a bigger problem as the neighborhood just north of the World Trade Center site becomes more residential. Foss frequently sees fights on the street and black Escalades rolling by with people screaming out the windows.

“It’s not a place you want to walk by as you’re coming home at 3 in the morning,” Foss said. “It’s a mess.”