By Johanna Petersson
The Village is losing a Pink Elephant but people living and working near a reported new multilevel hip-hop nightclub fear they may be getting a monster of a quality-of-life problem in its place.
The aforesaid Elephant at 73 Eighth Ave. between 13th and 14th Sts. is moving to Chelsea in September. According to an application to the State Liquor Authority, a group under the name of T Madison L.L.C. has applied for a new liquor license at the venue and uncorroborated sources say that a famous rap star is behind this company. According to a flier that has been posted around the neighborhood, the currently one-floor venue — where Chicago Blues was also a former tenant until a few years ago — would be expanded to include the whole building. The company’s attorney, Frank Palillo, did not return phone calls for comment.
The liquor license application was supposed to go in front of Community Board 2’s Business Committee last month. But both the board and the applicants asked that the issue be postponed. The application was scheduled to be heard at the July 12 meeting of the Business Committee, co-chaired by Don Lee and John Diaz. Lee and Diaz were appointed to head the committee by Maria Passannante Derr, its former chairperson, after she was elected to be the new C.B. 2 chairperson last month.
Kevin McKiernan works next door to the club and has lived in the Village for more than 20 years.
“The current occupants, Pink Elephant, have told us that T-Madison is planning on tripling the size of the current club. which occupies one floor, to become a three-story hip-hop nightclub,” McKiernan said. “This will have a substantial impact on automobile and taxi traffic, street traffic, music noise from the club, police intervention associated with this type of club, property values nearby and general disruption of the neighborhood.”
McKiernan’s music-licensing business, Creative License, shares walls with the premises and as he and his employees often stay late working in the office, he’s concerned about the impact of the proposed club.
“We ourselves are in the music business, and we put a lot of music in commercials and we often have to work late,” he said. “Even now, if there is an early evening soiree at the Pink Elephant, it gets kind of loud. It is kind of a modest establishment, and currently there are offices and someone living on the third floor. But if this information is accurate, this would be a dramatic change. Already now, there are 60 to 70 people leaving bottles [outside the club at night] and sometimes the police have to come,” McKiernan said. “I would expect a rougher crowd being outside with a rap club, and with three times the capacity.”
Farther south, Hudson Square residents were recently relieved to see NV, a nightclub that had hip-hop nights and was the scene of sporadic violence, vacate its space at Hudson and Spring Sts. a few weeks ago.