Neighborhood Discusses Noise Issues With Crabhouse

Text: T T

On November 9, at the Crabhouse Restaurant, 2-03 Borden Ave. in Long Island City, there was a meeting about excessive noise. The restaurant was charged with originating it and disrupting the life and sleeping hours of residents living nearby. A Halloween celebration more than a week before was probably the worst example of disruption.

The complainants met to see what might be done to mitigate the noise problem produced by several of the restaurant’s events. However, despite the rough start, as exchanges were made the meeting got noticeably better.

The Crabhouse was formerly the Waterfront Crabhouse. It has been located in an early 19th century building since 1977, when Anthony Mazzarella opened it. It stands not far from the shorelines of both the East River and Newtown Creek. Hurricane Sandy caused terrible damage in October 2012, flooding it and forcing a shutdown while repairs were made. It was opened again, but upon the death of Mazzarella in early 2015 was immediately closed. New ownership has revived it and shortened its name. The upper flight, called the Gantry Room, has been both a restaurant and meeting hall; but lately, with old appointments stripped away, leaving a broad expanse of bare concrete floor and bare walls, it has become an event site.

Planning these events—wedding receptions and what she calls “social and corporate affairs,” not to speak of baptisms and children’s parties— is Amanda Pierce, head of Amanda Pierce Productions and hostess of last week’s damage control meeting. She posted flyers in nearby apartment buildings, inviting all those disturbed by the noise to come to the meeting. She began by admitting that the Halloween revelry in the Gantry Room might just have gotten out of hand in the early morning hours. The room should undergo a floor-to-ceiling installation of sound baffles, and better windows for suppressing noise should also be installed, she said.

The first person to reply to her was a woman plainly unimpressed by Pierce’s gesture of comity, having had a run-in with her after coming down from her apartment at 1:30 a.m. to declare that the noise was keeping her and countless other residents in the vicinity from getting any sleep. She reminded Pierce that she replied in an unfriendly manner. The next speaker was a man who found Pierce’s attempt to appeal to him and other residents insincere. He was there with his wife, who was equally critical, and their daughter. Another woman told Pierce that the Gantry Room reverberates to a maddening extent during events, especially when the music is loud and the bass line is strong.

Community Outreach Officer Mark Torres of the 108th Precinct came to the defense of Pierce and one of the Crabhouse owners, Joe Licul, who said he had been open to compromise the night of the Halloween disruption and insisted, “We’re not problem starters.”

Torres let slip that the music level circa 2 a.m. was allowable, but the woman who recalled wrangling with Pierce in the early morning told the officer that such a level of music should have been cut off at 11 p.m.

Pierce repeated her pledge to soundproof the Gantry Room. A man suggested a post-soundproofing meeting to see what difference had been made. The man who questioned Pierce’s sincerity suggested she survey the neighborhood she hopes to befriend to see what particular noise problems could be identified and remedied. Another of Crabhouse’s owners, Skinny Lee, said he’d like to run noise tests with local residents to see exactly how the problem of disruption could be lessened. A man who said he’d left the bar/restaurant scene behind many years ago but nevertheless knows something about sound baffling, told the meeting that in the Gantry Room, proper soundproofing usually begins with the ceiling.

Pierce concluded that she was “super flexible” about reducing noise. Skinny Lee assured the neighbors, that “We don’t want to interrupt your livelihood.”

With enough cooperation, determination and soundproofing technology, the dispute might end happily.

2016-11-16 / Features

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