There are probably more bars and restaurants in New York City than anywhere else in the world but with gentrification spreading across the city, its getting harder and harder for business owners to hang a shingle in the Big Apple.
Boxers NYC is a highly popular gay sports bar in Chelsea that’s become a favorite of sports fans, LGBT athletic teams, Kathy Griffin (who guest-bartendered there once) and even The A List: New York (which has filmed there). So its not surprising the owners decided to open a second location in New York’s other gay ghetto, Hell’s Kitchen. They received provisional approval from Community Board 4, but grumpy residents worry it’ll disturb their tranquility and that the proposed location is too close to P.S. 111 on West 53rd Street. (New York zoning laws forbid bars from being within 200 feet of a school.)
Boxers co-owners Bob Fluet and Rob Hynds have tried to appease residents, but the situation has turned into a long-running saga, even by New York standards. Fluet and Hynds current proposal is to split the building into two businesses, a full-service bar and a no-alcohol taco shop on the side closer to P.S. 111. They’ve also discussed opening the bar at 4pm, after schoolchildren have gone home.
“Should it be a night club? As a gay parent of two, I would never want a nightclub there. Could it be a tavern that sells food? Yes, in my opinion I think that’s fair, Fluet told local news channel NY1. “Other than that, there may be nothing but having a derelict building for three, four years. Is that good for the neighborhood?”
Hynd’s and Fluet’s plans aren’t good enough for P.S. 111 principal Irma Medina, though: She e-mailed parents warning them that if the bar opened as planned, it would have scandalous underwear-only nights (something Fluet denies) and that the bar was “inappropriate for school-age children to be exposed to during the day while they are in a learning environment.”
Hey, this is New York City: We’re pretty sure these kids have seen worse than a few gay sports fans drinking beer.
The Community Board will make its final vote on October 5.