By Dan Rivoli
Residents of the Century, a tony condominium at 25 Central Park West and West 63rd Street, are objecting to a wine bar planned for the ground floor.
The art deco-inspired bar, called Central Park West Café, would have a “sophisticated and mellow” atmosphere for an over-35 crowd who “are old enough to know who Ray Bolger, Ethel Merman and Fay Wray are!” the website reads.
But residents are afraid that an unruly bar will ruin the quiet, residential feel of the historic building, and they have created a website to organize opposition to the business.
Paul Millman, president of the Century’s board, worries that a late-night establishment would invite noise and sidewalk congestion, despite the owners’ promise to close at 2 a.m. and keep outdoor smokers quiet. Millman said he shot video of idling limos and drunken patrons stumbling loudly out of the nearby Empire Hotel, on West 63rd Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue.
“Every nuisance that you don’t want was summarized there,” Millman said of the Empire Hotel. “That really is a concern. That’s the character of an establishment that is open late at night.”
Community Board 7’s business and consumer issues committee has already approved the plan. The full community board will weigh in July 6 with an advisory opinion to the State Liquor Authority, which will ultimately approve or reject the two-year liquor license application.
Residents have the support of some elected officials. Council Member Gale Brewer, in a letter to the State Liquor Authority, wants to find a small business that is “more suitable for the location than a bar.” State Sen. Tom Duane told the New York Times that he was skeptical that Hunt could operate the wine bar in a way that met the demands of the Century’s residents.
The bar’s managing partner, Upper West Side native and Central Park West resident Greg Hunt, has sought to quell noise and congestion concerns from residents of 25 and 15 Central Park West.
“We’ve addressed every single one of their concerns in every aspect of our operation,” Hunt said. “It would be silly for me to try to pop something in there that would be negative for the community.”
Previously, the space in question was home to a Gristedes and currently houses a temporary art gallery.
Correction added. This article incorrectly identified the Century’s board president. His name is Paul Millman.