Several Long Island City residents squared off at Community Board 2′s monthly meeting Thursday as they debated whether Vernon Blvd. bars/restaurants should be permitted to use their rear yards.
Two, well-organized camps put forward their differing views—and the controversial issue was far from settled.
Several speakers, many of whom live adjacent to Vernon Blvd establishments, spoke out against rear yards and supported the current policy that has led to most of them being closed. They claimed that neighboring residents could hear every little restaurant noise – such as a fork being dropped – since the rear yards were like echo chambers.
Furthermore, those opposed to rear yards said that they were entitled to raise their families in relative peace and quiet — and that the bars/restaurants were not suffering as a result of the board’s long-time policy of requiring businesses to shut their yards.
However, a number of speakers, a little younger in age, asked for these residents to be more tolerant of noise, arguing that it was hurting small businesses as wells as the vitality of the neighborhood. They claimed that Long Island City is no longer the sleepy neighborhood of yesteryear but one that is evolving into a hotspot such as Williamsburg.
Furthermore, supporters of the use of backyard space complained that the public hearings/meetings were poorly advertised, which put the general public at a disadvantage when it came to putting forward their input.
“We have heard a lot about quietness and family but Long Island City is changing whether we like it or not,” said Mark Barry, a Long Island City resident. “It happened to Williamsburg, Greenpoint and now it is happening to LIC and Astoria. We either adapt with the changes or we fall behind.”
Fall behind what? Is this a race between neighborhoods to attract the biggest losers?
And what is this about public hearings not being well advertised? Nothing about CB2 meetings changes. They're regularly held at the same location on a monthly basis. Out of all the issues that have come up at CB2, this was the first one that got these folks to attend?
I've been up Vernon Blvd at night and see plenty of restaurants with tables outside, so I'm not really sure what the problem is.
Sounds like a bunch of spoiled brats moved in and want the neighborhood to conform to their wishes. Imagine if these people put the same amount of effort into making real improvements to our country as they do whining about the right to eat in a backyard? Talk about first world problems!