266 Elizabeth Street # 4    New York, NY 10012    Tel (212) 502 3591    Fax (212) 219 2176   Email sante@thing.net

January 11, 1999

The Honorable Members
Manhattan Community Board 2
Sidewalks, Public Facilities and Public Access Committee
3 Washington Square Village
New York, NY 10012

It is my understanding that Porto Alegre / Cafe Colonial is coming before this committee tonight with a renewal application for revocable consent to operate an unenclosed sidewalk café with 7 table and 15 seats.

This application should be denied, as it was the last time this applicant came before this committee. In spite of that denial, of insufficient sidewalk space available for such use and of the lack of architectural drawings, a sidewalk café permit was granted and the community has been damaged in the following ways:

1. The operator posts a sign, with a headline from the New York City Department of Consumer Affair that claims 25, not 15 seats. Café Colonial has been disregarding even the latter capacity, adding tables and chairs to accommodate customers as it sees fit, in complete disregard of any inconvenience it causes its neighbors. In the summertime, metal shelfing measuring approximately 20" x 40" x 6 ft is stationed in permanence, chained to the frame of the gated entrance on Elizabeth street, effectively and abusively extending the table setting facilities to the public sidewalk.

2. The establishment is located at the South-East corner of the intersection between East Houston and Elizabeth Streets. The sidewalk on the Houston Street side is very narrow and the sidewalk cafe' is pre-empting the wlaking public from what space is not already taken by a traffic light, a fire hydrant, a tree and a Department of Sanitation waste basket. In addition, there are trap doors on both sides, which are used while the restaurant operates. At busy times the sidewalk on Elizabeth Street becomes the waiting room this establishment does not have, with over a dozen customers waiting to be seated. This situation is particularly bad on Saturdays afternoons and Sundays, from morning until evening, when the weather is warm.

3. Recently, Café Colonial installed an enclosed and cumbersome vestibule on the sidewalk at its entrance on Elizabeth Street. It may be meant to be a waiting room, although it cannot accommodate more than three people without preventing egress. I have no knowledge of whether permits required for such facilities or if one has been obtained, or if there has been any input from the community on this subject.

4. Since Café Colonial has opened in 1995, its neighbors on Elizabeth Street have been unable to open their windows, due the smells emanating from their exhaust system. Several contacts with DEP have been unfruitful at the time of this writing, although questions remain on the legality of a 2 ft diameter exhaust pipe installed in an air shutoff only 3 feet wide.

For these reasons, we ask that the pending application be denied.


Sante Scardillo
For L.I.N.A.