Community Board 4’s Business Licenses and Permits Committee clearly wanted to avoid any new establishment that would exacerbate the noise [In the area around 17th St. near 10th Ave]. So when the proposal for an outpost of the popular East Village pizzeria Artichoke included requests for a full liquor license and 4 a.m. closing hours, the committee came down hard on the applicant.Corey Johnson, Board 4’s vice chairperson was dubious: "I just don’t know of any pizza places that have security guards and that have an on-premise license. What it sounds like to me...is that this is a bar."
The restaurateurs agreed to post a security guard outside from midnight until the 4 a.m. closing time to aid in crowd control; to provide and service receptacles for trash outside the restaurant; and to install acoustic panels in the ceiling, "even though we’re not going to be playing loud music," Tepperberg said. He added that the restaurant would have a DJ "no more than 10 or 15 times a year" until midnight for birthday or holiday parties.
Resident of 17th Street, LeCee Johnson, stunned the committee when she spoke out in favor of the application. Johnson, Chelsea Now reminded, has been an outspoken critic of 10ak and a leader for neighbors in their fight against the bar. So why the sudden change of heart? It's possible being a recent $2 million defamation lawsuit by 1Oak’s owners against her and others might have encouraged her to see things another way. She told the NYPost last week on being named in the suit: "I'm scared, now I understand how they get away with this."
Unfortunately for Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss, partners in the new Artichoke, and owners of 1Oak, they have yet to persuade the Community Board.