The rapidly escalating battle between residents of Jane Street and the owners of the new boutique hotel on the block?with its crowds and its loud music and its sidewalk smokers and its taxi cabs?is getting down and dirty. Very dirty! The feud was supposed to go big this weekend with a story on the front page of the Times's Real Estate section. That is, until Jane Hotel co-owner Richard Born stepped in. Here's a bit of inside baseball: The writer of the story is Teri Karush Rogers, longtime NYT freelancer and co-creator of the newish homeowners' blog Brick Underground. Last month, in response to the hubbub in the West Village over fellow punching bag Beatrice Inn, Rogers wrote a post entitled "Enough!! 5 steps for putting a neighborhood nuisance out of your misery." That makes her biased on BallroomGate, or so Born protested to the paper's editors. The Times killed the story, so Rogers decided to run it on BrickUnderground. Spicy! So what does it say?
The alliance fighting the Jane's after-hours debauchery is made up of neighbors from three buildings, 99, 111 and 130 Jane Street. Some even share a common wall with the Jane's Ballroom, a fate we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. So far they've invested around $10,000 from their buildings' reserve funds in the fight, Rogers reports, including hiring a lawyer and a political consultant to put the pressure on the hotel. (The State Liquor Authority won't confirm they're investigating the Jane, but formal complaints have been lodged.) Says one resident of Curbed fav. 99 Jane: "What was presented to the community board — a nice, pleasant restaurant and bar with background music only — is not what is being developed."
So yeah, the Jane Hotel kind of sounds screwed, no? Nobody keeps West Villagers up into the wee hours! But there's another side, of course. The Jane's owners say they're paying $1,000 per night for a team of security guards to patrol Jane Street due to the complaints regarding drunk and disorderly behavior. They also claim that there's "swaying" but not the forbidden "dancing." But then:
On a recent visit to the Ballroom — a Tuesday that regulars described as much slower than usual — dancing, not swaying, was much in evidence. It started around 12:30 in a well-lit corner of the main floor: A lithe dark-haired young woman appeared to be pole-dancing around her husky companion.
By 2 a.m., the thonking music had long since ruled out casual conversation, and as many as 50 people gyrated under the dormant but suggestive disco ball in full view of what Mr. Born called the club’s “smoking and dancing police,” who doused neither the dancing nor the dozens of cigarettes being smoked in violation of local health department laws.
Pole-dancing! Thonking! Smoking! Folks, welcome to the greatest West Village controversy of all time. Sorry, Olsen Twins.
· Why the Times won't be running my story on the Jane Street Hotel this weekend [Brick Underground]
· Jane Hotel coverage [Curbed]