All sleep till Brooklyn Bowl: Kids rock shop foes say venue will end decades of quiet

Dispute rages over whether the planned Gowanus home of the Rock and Roll Playhouse ever saw activity

By Megan Riesz - Source:
Photo © Rock and Roll Playhouse

Photo © Rock and Roll Playhouse

A kid-friendly restaurant that will double as an adults-only nightclub after 8 pm will turn a quiet block in Gowanus into a madhouse, opponents of the plan claimed on Tuesday.

The Rock and Roll Playhouse planned for the industrial building at the corner of Bond and Degraw streets will flood the neighborhood with noise and boozed-up music fans, opponents said at a city hearing, claiming the warehouse where it will be built has been silent as a morgue for as long as they have lived there, and any business that moves in must keep the peace.

“I have not ever seen any commercial activity on this property,” said Emilie Poisson, a Degraw Street resident and member of the anti-Playhouse group We Are Gowanus.

Opponents also claim that the building hadn’t been used in years, and a zoning variance that will allow the nightclub to open is void as a result.

But one of the structure’s owners, Sharon Ackerman, who handed over the lease to Brooklyn Bowl honcho Peter Shapiro in 2012, claimed the warehouse has been a bustling piece of her plumbing and heating business since 1982, though neighbors with day jobs may not have been around to see it.

“People who work 9-to-5 or 9-to-6, would not see our trucks leaving and entering the building unless they stood there all day,” she said at the hearing. “We maintained the entire building at 280 Bond St. for our business.”

We Are Gowanus reps countered that there is no evidence work happened there for at least the last two years, meaning the building should be stripped of its commercial use since it sits within a zone that does not allow the business to be there.

A local pol concurred, saying the city should revisit its October decision to approve the family-oriented eatery that will turn into a music venue at night.

“It is an exceptionally quiet block,” Councilman Steve Levin said.

“This deserves the highest level of scrutiny.”

Activists fear the play place will be an unruly rock hall, but Shapiro has insisted that it will be a low-key jazz club with occasional lectures and theatrical performances.

During the day, it is slated to offer kids music classes with names such as Reggae for Babies and Little Rockers.

The city asked the venue to submit phone bills and evidence of employment at the Bond Street warehouse before another hearing on March 25.

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