Video By 'We Are Gowanus' Shows Potential Impact Of Peter Shapiro's Rock And Roll Playhouse On Its Neighbors

280 Bond Street in Gowanus
Open space attached to 280 Bond Street
Members of We Are Gowanus collecting signatures for petition this past Saturday

Since learning of Peter Shapiro's plans to turn an industrial warehouse at 280 Bond Street into The Rock & Roll Playhouse (RRPH), opposition from area residents against the venue has been mounting

Homeowners on Sackett and Degraw Street, whose property abut the 6,570 SF building, first got wind of the proposed venue in late April, when they received a certified letter from Burda Construction Company indicating that work to turn the warehouse "into a theatre and a restaurant that will include daily programing for children 10 and younger" would commence shortly.

To better understand the plans, the homeowners reached out to Amy Striem, RRPH's executive director. When Striem indicated that Shapiro, who also owns Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg and the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, would be applying for a full liquor license as well as a Place Of Assembly Certificate, they ask for a meeting with Shapiro.

The meeting between residents, Shapiro, Striem, Larry Burda of Burda Construction and Devlin Goldberg, the Children's Program Curriculum Director, took place on May 14th, 2013. Father Robert Powers of nearby St. Agnes Church was also present.

During their conversation, homeowners learned that besides the kids classes and family-friendly programming,  Shapiro intends to operate an over-21 jazz club after 8 PM that would offer live music seven days a week and feature a full bar with a last call at 1:30 AM, 2 AM on week-ends.

The residents also learned that Shapiro had no plans to soundproof either the inside or the outside walls of the brick warehouse, though the building extends deep into the backyards of several homes on Degraw and Sackett Streets. To make matters worse, the music stage will be placed at the back of the building, closest to the residential buildings.  In addition, Shapiro plans on installing large doors between the building and a large 3686 SF outdoor space.

In response to the initial misrepresentation of the project and of Shapiro's disregard for their concerns, the residents have joined together and have formed We Are Gowanus. In an impressive effort to protect their quality of life, they have reached out to the community and local business owners and have collected over 600 signatures so far.

They have just released the video above, showing the impact of the Rock & Roll Playhouse on the neighborhood.
From We Are Gowanus:
"The animation is based entirely on plans submitted to the NYC Dept. of Buildings. Everything is to scale. The purpose of the video is to help folks in the neighborhood visualize Shapiro's plans. The animation is based entirely on the plans he submitted to the DOB. Everything is to scale. The building is HUGE and can fit a lot of people. This is its real, legal occupancy potential. The video makes the fact clear: It's location on a residential block is entirely inappropriate."

To refute Peter Shapiro's recent assertions that RRPH will primarily be a" family-focused destination", WAG has also sent PMFA the following statement:

Father Powers was one of many citizens who heard Mr. Shapiro lay out his plans on May 14, plans supported by Mr. Shapiro’s own filings at the Department of Buildings. Mr. Shapiro is being disingenuous when he tells Daily News readers and the public in general that his Rock & Roll Playhouse will be a small family-friendly venue focused on childhood education. Such a child-centered venue does not need a full liquor license, which Mr. Shapiro is seeking, and cater to the 21-and-up crowd, which Mr. Shapiro has said it will.

Father Power’s comments follow below:
On May 14, I was invited to a meeting with neighbors whose homes on the block are closest to 280 Bond Street and with Peter Shapiro and his staff, and I attended the 90 minute meeting. One of the two churches of my parish, St. Agnes, is on the block. 
I don't hang out in nightclubs but Mr. Shapiro's description of what Rock n Roll Playhouse will be after 8 PM---jazz shows with a full service bar that will close at 1:30 AM on weeknights and 2 AM on weeknights--sounds like a nightclub. I was surprised to see the statement attributed to him in the online version of the Daily News today: "This is not a nightclub." 
My neighbors' concerns are legitimate: noise from patrons leaving the venue; noise from an old brick building that has no soundproofing; discrepancies between Mr. Shapiro's claims of an occupancy of 200 and the building's and property's square footage that could potentially hold hundreds more. This nightclub could ruin the tranquility of this neighborhood, and my neighbors deserve better. 
Father Robert M. Powers 
Administrator,  Parish of St. Paul &  St. Agnes

You can reach We Are Gowanus via their new website here.
You can find the group's new Facebook page here.
And if you would like to sign their petitions, click here.