Back-story/Details Tonights 09/21/16 Meeting re MaryMount

Whether you are attending tonight’s meeting or not, please read this page.

6 PM, Wednesday, September 21, at MaryMount, 116 East 97th. St., New York, NY 10029,  Open meeting to hear MaryMount’s latest offer to “embrace” the community.


We added the height annotations to the above architects rendering.

The above “view” of MaryMount’s proposed 24*-story embrace of our block  is looking South-East from approximately 99th-100th St. and Madison Avenue.

The massive project will run through the block on 97th-98th, between Lexington and Park where MaryMount currently has a play field. As you can see it is at least fifty feet taller than Carnegie Hill Place at 1510 Lexington Ave., the 18-story, white building behind it and to the left, between 97th and 98th. Pity the renters in the back of 1510 who face West… and all the renters there can forget about those rooftop terrace amenities.

And of course it overshadows the Lexington Houses on 98th and 99th, and of course the residents of every 5 and 6-storey building on 97th will now be staring straight up at a massive wall.

And it will take at least 4 years to build.

* (They call it “13 stories” because a few floors are 2-3 stories high (the auditorium, the gym, and the chapel), but at 239 feet, it’s the equivalent of a 24 story building.

In the middle of the block… Through the block….

In this well-written and balanced article  by Jackson Chen here, you can see that MaryMount does have some zoning hurdles in order to gain approval for this project, and that there has already been strong opposition to the project at the Community Board Level.

 But the odds of whether it will be going through or will be stopped are still not clear.

As best we can tell, some of our local politicians oppose it because it sets a bad precedent for mid-block “noncommercial” high-rises, but they and the CB will be looking for input from the immediately affected community. That’s us. You. Me. Everyone who lives on this block.

Carnegie Hill Neighbors has been vocal in their opposition to the project,  as they have been seen up close the trend of Manhattan private schools to overwhelm their neighbors and neighborhoods with oversized expansions.

MaryMount will be appearing in front of the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals later this Fall; they will very much want our neighborhood’s support, and they want as little public opposition as possible.

Please forward and print this website page and the photo for your neighbors, and please come tonight if you can, and urge your neighbors to attend tonight’s meeting, and please sign up with us by email for future notices.

Most importantly, please think in terms of what you would expect from MaryMount in exchange for your and the block’s endorsement of four years of construction and disruption of our block, and for the permanent impact that their  24-story building will have upon our block.

Some starter ideas that have have been brought up include:

A/ Parking garage spaces for those street parking spots on 97th and 98th St. that will be lost temporarily during and permanently after the construction.

B/ Tutoring for children living on the block, and some annual scholarships for academically-qualified students living on the block.

C/ Auditorium access for cultural events created by residents/focused for the block (i.e., theater, dance and music performances, art exhibits…).

D/ Create a format for the school’s auditorium to become an alternative to the 92nd St. Y, with concerts, performances, and speakers open to the public, with seating discounts and ticket blocks made available for residents of the block.

(MaryMount to create an office to charge and take reservations for the events to pay for the extra security, ticket processing, etc. Students can get experience in theater production and event management…Hiring for theater management and production jobs would give precedence to those who live on the block).

E/ Weekend access to the gym for block residents. Charge a modest fee to cover security and maintenance. (Is there  going to be a pool?…)

F/ MaryMount student college-transcript-enhancement projects; students to do light social work for shut-in disabled and/or seniors living on the block. Do modest shopping, sitting and talking and “history-taking”,  talking with residents who are otherwise alone most or all of the week. Do a census of the block, including Lexington Houses to find out the need.

G/ Political and financial support for the neighborhood and for 97-98 Lexington and Park Avenue Neighbors, including:

(i) Marymount representatives showing up at Community Board 11 subcommittee and full CB meetings for issues related to the block (not just those related to MM’s zoning application).

(ii) Marymount showing up at 23rd Precinct Community Council monthly meetings, and actively coordinating with the 23rd Precinct on security for the block both during construction and after.

(iii) Marymount participating in the annual 23rd Precinct Summer Street Party.

(iv) A written and ongoing commitment to 97-98 Lexington and Park Avenue Neighbors and the Lexington Houses Residents Committee and to the community at large re;

MaryMount stepping up with a published agreement and public efforts to help preserve the residential nature of the block, including promises to attend relevant meetings and advise CB11 and the NY SLA of their opposition on our block to all backyard and rooftop commercial activity including bars, restaurants and coffee-shops,  as well as any new bars or license changes for bars offering live music and/or dancing.

(v) Re 9798 Lexington and Park Avenue Neighbors:

(a)  MaryMount funds 9798 LexPark’s application for non-profit status (to enable grant applications).

(b) MaryMount to fund an annual block party and an annual dinner, with proceeds to be split between Marymount scholarships for qualified block residents, and 9798 Lexington and Park Avenue Neighbors to cover expenses in continued organizing on other block-wide efforts.

What are your thoughts one the above ideas? If you have any comments and/or additional suggestions please post them in comments below, or email them to us at
(While you don’t have to live here to comment here, mentioning if you live on or off the block will help make your case…)
Remember: If you don’t stand up, you will be stood on.

NY SLA Denies Outdoor Beer & Wine Permit To Earl’s Beer and Cheese!


May 6, 2015

Short update, more to follow.

Late yesterday afternoon, the NY State Liquor Authority denied the application of Earl’s Beer and Cheese to serve beer and wine in their backyards, yards faced in by hundreds of residents in eleven walk-up buildings on the Western half of East 97th and 98th Streets, between Park and Lexington. That’s in the southern end of East Harlem. Or the northern end of the Upper East Side… aka us, 97-98 Lexington and Park Ave. Neighbors

(click to expand photo). Red arrows are all buildings with air-sound access to the proposed backyard beer joint.
(click to expand photo).
Red arrows are all buildings with air-sound access to the proposed backyard beer joint.

Towards the end of the NY SLA hearing, the attorney for Earl’s repeated previously-voiced threats that if they lost the hearing, the owner, Michael Cesari, will serve food-only in the backyards, 7 days a week.

In our humble opinion, given the overwhelming consensus of the SLA agreeing with the majority of the rear-window-facing neighbors who objected to Cesari (or anyone else!) doing any business in the residential backyards, Cesari will be doing this out of spite, and his customers should know about it.

Get ready… Continue reading NY SLA Denies Outdoor Beer & Wine Permit To Earl’s Beer and Cheese!

Fire hazard behind Earls?

Bad enough the owner of Earl’s Beer and Cheese is using the backyard as a construction site, building up his interior reno in the backyard (so he doesn’t disturb his customers inside with the work… the hell with all of us neighbors with our windows facing the yard, listening to him hammering away outside, day and night…).

According to his landlord earlier this afternoon, he has been told to stop.

Now he’s got his flammable material piled up adjacent to, and up against the rear wall of the very residential building he rents his storefront in. 

Picture taken 1845 pm 05/01/15
EarlsDebris EarlsDebris2
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I’m no expert, but surely this is unsafe.


The last (and 3rd) hearing for Earl’s application (to invade 3 backyards with 60 beer drinking, fried-cheese-eating, noisemakers outside over a hundred of our neighbors’ bedroom windows) was postponed, and the next one is at 10 AM, Tue. May 5, 2015. Address and details below.

We hope you can make it, let us know if you are coming, and if you can’t come, you should be able to watch it live and/or after the hearing here:

backyard caption(Click on photo to enlarge)

If you haven’t signed our petitions PLEASE CONTACT US ASAP (see the Contact Us links on this website); either way, contact us for more information on how you can help 100’s of your neighbors preserve peace and quiet outside their walk-up apartments’ windows.

If you plan to attend this hearing, please let us know ahead of time. And please sign up for updates by email and via this web page.

The meeting is at:

Zone 1 Harlem Center Tower Office Building
317 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Entrance to the Main Lobby is located on Lenox Avenue near 126th Street.

It is requested that any additional materials to be presented for the Members’ consideration for matters already scheduled, be submitted only to the Secretary’s Office by noon on the Friday prior to the Board meeting.

Send materials to:

New York State Liquor Authority
Secretary’s Office
80 South Swan Street, Suite 900
Albany, New York 12210

It is further requested that a copy of any additional materials pertaining to licensing matters, be simultaneously forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner of Licensing Kerri O’Brien at the Albany office location when the materials are submitted to the Secretary’s Office.

For more information, contact Secretary’s Office:
Phone: (518) 474-3114

Earls’s Tuesday 01/27/15 SLA meeting POSTPONED to 02/10/15

The hearing has been moved to Tuesday 02/10/15, 10 AM. “Watch this space...”

REVISED 05/06/15: Resident-Focused Policies For Backyard/Rooftop/Sidewalk Bars

REVISED 05/06/15 Resident-Focused Policies For Backyard/Rooftop/Sidewalk Bars

Attention CB11M, & CB11M Licenses & Permits Committee
re: revising the Application process for outdoor, sidewalk or rooftop bar & restaurant expansions.

This document is available as a PDF on request: contact

Community Board 11M’s Licensing & Permits Committee is in the midst of revising their application process for bars trying to open or expand into residential backyards & rooftops. They briefly discussed it at the last two meetings, & we are hoping to help them come up with new procedures ASAP, before any more blocks are disrupted by outdoor bars & restaurants that ruin the lives of those who live above & next to them.

Because the previous L&P Chairwoman recently moved to another Committee, last winters’ CB11M L&P meetings never had a chance to get started on

“a. Committee discussion on establishing a review procedures
ii. Liquor Licenses in rear yards & roof tops”

The new Chair has stated he is interested in the process but has not yet added the above to his agenda yet.

Our suggestions are at least partially due to the ongoing noise & friction raised during our community’s battle to stop Earl’s Beer & Cheese from expanding into 3 adjacent backyards. Visit for the details on that issue. We hope to avoid a repeat situation, similar to the contentious fights over Earls, where our block association had to attend 4 NY SA hearings before prevailing, & we pray that the Chair starts this review as soon a possible.

We are leaning very strongly to opposing all commercial & entertainment-type development in NYC residential backyards, with or without liquor, but in the interim, if these proposals are at least reviewed & taken into consideration and some are implemented, we are open to the CB’s serious revision of the process.

Currently the CB11M L&P committee requires a semi-detailed application, as well as posting on the door of the bar & “200 feet” from the establishment only SEVEN DAYS ahead of the hearing, & require “circulated petitions of support”; these latter vague & short-date requirements giving neighbors virtually no notice to find out the hours, details of operation (i.e., HOW LOUD, HOW LARGE ARE THE NEW CROWDS), to show their support or opposition, etc. And in the past, even that minimum posting requirement has been ignored.

Being grateful that the CB11M Licensing Committee has, on their own, suggested requiring more affected residents’ approval for future bar expansions, we have created a set of modest suggestions for how CB11M can revise their application process.

We hope this could become a city-wide issue to help both renters & residential property owners stop the noise & the lessening of the quality of life outside their rear windows, & on their street-side of their blocks as well.
Continue reading REVISED 05/06/15: Resident-Focused Policies For Backyard/Rooftop/Sidewalk Bars

“They Might As Well Brick Up Our Windows!” Recording of SLA Hearing.

Below are links to video and audio recordings of the Dec. 10, 2014 NY State Liquor Authority hearing, where we opposed Earl’s Beer and Cheese’s application to put a noisy beer garden into 3 backyards surrounded by hundreds of residents.

We are trying to do a transcript (any volunteers?) but in the meanwhile, you can watch and listen to the video here on your computer*, (scroll down on the page that pops up to Agenda item 8 and click on “Earl’s” Beer and Cheese”), or you can listen to just the audio by clicking here (the audio for our hearing starts at 41:38).

(Some neighbors reported they could not get the video to play on an ipad or iphone, but we have tested and it played fine on both PC and Mac; anyone with an Android / Windows phone, please let us know if the video plays).

At the end of the hearing you will hear Earl’s attorney asking for a holdover to 12/30/14 so they can do noise studies from apartments surrounding the backyards. Go here please to see the update on that issue.

If you agree with and support our efforts to stop businesses from destroying our peace and quiet in NYC backyards, please:

Sign up below for our mailing list, and please sign up in the upper right corner of any page to follow this website for new articles and posts.

Follow and retweet us on Twitter @9798LexPark;

Print out pages for your neighbors who have no internet, and forward our website URL to your neighbors and anyone in NYC interested in this issue;

Make sure you contact your local politicians on this issue, and any donation, even a few dollars to help with postage would be appreciated here.