New York City voters yesterday overwhelmingly approved imposing term limits on community board members. Those boards are intimately involved in the liquor license process in the City and have varying degrees of influence on license approvals. Mayor Bill deBlasio’s Charter Revision Commission had suggested this change. The view of the Mayor and the Commission was that the boards did not always reflect the changing demographics of the neighborhoods they represent and that new members would bring fresh ideas. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer opposed the change and was of the opinion that experienced board members should not be jettisoned and replaced by new inexperienced members who could not hold up against experienced real estate developers. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, formerly chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, also opposed term limits. There were other council members however who supported the measure, as did the Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams. With yesterday’s approval of the proposal, board members will be limited to two four year terms and then would have to take a two year hiatus before they could be considered for reappointment. This will go into effect in April 2019. Terms served prior to that date will not count towards the term limit.
The newest addition to the burgeoning downtown hospitality scene is Moxy NYC Downtown, a 30-story hotel that just opened on Ann Street in the Financial District. Moxy, the Marriott Hotel’s experiential hotel affiliate, is known for its approachable service and vibrant, playful design aesthetic, brand hallmarks which are all on display at the new Moxy NYC Downtown. The hotel, a newly constructed building overlooking Theater Alley near the Brooklyn Bridge, includes as a communal hub a third-floor restaurant, bar and lounge area that is unlike any other experience in Manhattan, complete with arcade games, skeeball, jenga, and even a basketball court for shooting hoops or hosting private events. In addition to providing a lively social space, Moxy NYC Downtown offers a menu by celebrated Chef Akhtar Nawab (Alta Calidad) and a beverage program curated by restauranteur Jon Neidich (Acme, Happiest Hour, Tijuana Picnic). Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Moxy team.
DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners is developing the historic twelve story 1912 Jamulowsky Bank Building at 9 Orchard Street into a 116 room full service hotel. DLJ purchased the Beaux arts style building for $33 million in 2011 and expects to open the hotel in 2019. The hotel will have rooftop indoor and outdoor event space with sweeping views of the Lower East Side and an elegant fifty foot domed spire. The ground floor will feature a hotel lobby bar with a soaring high ceiling, full service restaurant and a neighborhood lounge with sidewalk café on Allen Street. The food and beverage team behind the project also operates the Eventi Hotel on Sixth Avenue and the Wales Hotel. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the DLJ and 9 Orchard team.
After years at its small Rivington Street store, the famous Morganstern’s Finest Ice Cream, once of the city’s best, has busted out and opened a much larger space at the corner of Houston Street and LaGuardia Place, formerly home to Silver Spurs. The new store will serve a whopping 88 different flavors at its new location, which opened last week. Table and counter seating is offered along with a large sidewalk café to enjoy not only ice cream but also pies and cakes made on premises along with other developing menu items. Some of the new flavors unleashed by Nick Morganstern include French Fry, Vanilla with Black Pepper Molasses, Pistachio Black Currant Jelly, Banana Kalamansi, and many other originals. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Morganstern’s Finest team.
On Friday November 2, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. Bernstein Redo, P.C.’s Donald Bernstein will teach a three hour class sponsored by the National Law Institute on New York Retail Liquor Licenses at 1500 Broadway in Manhattan. This class will be for 3 continuing legal education credits, though it is not limited to attorneys. Anyone interested may attend. The class will review all aspects of the licensing law and process, including who may be licensed and who may not, the tied-house rule, the 200 foot rule, and the public interest test of the 500 foot rule, the legal and practical challenges of licensing a hotel, issues regarding licensing private members clubs, temporary permits, the community board process, and other issues. There is no charge for this class. Registration is through the National Law Institute website, www.nationallawinstitute.com.
Neiman Marcus, the specialty retailer, will be opening a three story 250,000 square foot retail store in the newly developing Hudson Yards on 30th Street and Tenth Avenue in Manhattan. This will be the first Neiman Marcus retail outlet in New York City, joining the company’s current Bergdorf Goodman location at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. The Hudson Yards store will be on the fifth through seventh floors of a one million square foot retail mall and will offer sweeping views over the vast public plaza and monumental public place being designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Thomas Woltz, the Culture Shed, the planned home of New York Fashion Week and the High Line. Slated to open in early 2019, the store will have a restaurant and food and beverage outlet on each of its three floors. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Neiman Marcus team.
The Hoxton hotel group opened its first hotel in 2006 in the Shoreditch District of London and, since then, has opened three other hotels in Europe. The Hoxton Williamsburg is the first in the United States. The hotel is built on the site of the former Rosenwach factory, the maker of the wooden water towers visible on rooftops throughout the City. Executive chef Matthew Deliso, a native New Yorker, is heading up the kitchen at the hotel, which features three restaurants including terrace and courtyard spaces and a rooftop bar with expansive views across Manhattan. The Hoxton is inspired by the diversity and originality of the streets and scenes that surround their hotels and strives to provide its guests with a place where they can be with the locals and immerse themselves in the neighborhood with vibrant, welcoming public spaces, “proving style doesn’t need to be sacrificed for good value.” The Hoxton offers a series of public events at all of its hotels. Upcoming events at The Hoxton Williamsburg vary from an outdoor ballet performance by Brooklyn Ballet to a canine showcase where the winners will be featured in The Dogist and proceeds will benefit Badass Brooklyn Rescue. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of The Hoxton Williamsburg team.
Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group is planning to open its second Daily Provisions at 29 Bedford Street, at the corner of Downing Street. First opened in 2016 on East 19th Street adjacent to its more formal sibling, Union Square Café, Daily Provisions is the quintessential neighborhood café. It offers fresh baked goods in the morning, and made-to-order sandwiches throughout the day along with slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, seasonal sides, and a selection of beer and wine. The USHG culinary team is led by Chef Carmen Quagliata and Pastry Chef Daniel Alvarez. Daily Provisions offers everything you could ask for in a Danny Meyer all-day café: casual, delicious, affordable food. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Daily Provisions and Union Square Hospitality team.
Classic Car Club, a private members’ club for auto enthusiasts’ centered around a love of all things car-related, has opened its members club, Clubhouse, on Pier 76 in Manhattan. The space, converted NYPD horse stables, has two-levels and an outdoor patio overlooking the Hudson River. As they describe it, at Classic Car Club “we don’t just smoke tires, we also smoke brisket.” Chef Jesse Ford and his crew staff the state of the art professional kitchen and serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. They also offer photography classes and trivia night, and of course simulated racing. Bernstein Redo, P.C. knows next to nothing about vintage, exotic or muscle cars, we but are happy to be a part of the Classic Car Club legal team. We wish them success with their new clubhouse and hope they keep the engine grease off the barstools.
Over the past few years a number of third party providers (TTPs) have provided platforms for brick and mortar stores licensed to sell liquor to list and sell their inventory online. By providing a platform for these sales, TTPs are filling a demand during a period of changing consumer buying habits. This has raised issues in a number of states, including New York, as these TTPs are not licensed to traffic in alcoholic beverages, yet they are profiting from the sale of liquor. Some of these TTPs have asked the New York State Liquor Authority to approve their method of operation and confirm that they are able to share in the liquor revenue without themselves being licensed. While some would argue that TTPs should be licensed, the Authority has tried to create a framework in which these TTPs can operate without a license. The smartphone technology did not exist and could not have been anticipated when the liquor laws were written post-Prohibition, so the Authority has had to deal with this on a case by case basis. In the early rulings sought by Groupon and Living Social, the Authority ruled that the licensee must retain control over any sale, prohibited the TTP from sharing in revenue that was percentage based, and placed a 10% of annual revenue cap that a licensee could pay the TTP. In the Ship Complaint ruling from 2013, the Authority ruled that the TTP’s profit cannot be “a substantial portion of the sale.” In the Drizly ruling the Authority looked into whether the licensee had a passive role and what financial interest the TTP had. The Authority further expanded the rights of TTPs in its Slingr ruling in 2015. Slingr took a percentage of profit, and also had a physical presence in the brick and mortar stores. A number of additional rulings have followed. At least one commentator has argued that the Authority’s rulings over the years have been inconsistent and even contradictory, or at the very least “created a hazy regulatory landscape,” that though clear at first then “crumbled” in subsequent rulings. See Alexa Bordner, How New York Drinks: If and How Third-Party Providers Can Integrate with the Three-Tier System, 83 Brook. L. Rev. (2017). Despite task forces, and proposed legislation on TTP’s including proposals that there should be a required Third-Party Provider Permit, the issues surrounding them remain fluid and evolving.