Upper East Siders complain about a lot of things. Newsstands. Waste transfer stations. Store signs. But all of these fights pale in comparison to the epic 7-year battle that a handful of tony residents has waged against the catering company of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist on Park Avenue at East 63rd Street. According to the Times, the angry rich folk have invested so much time and money into fighting the caterer, Rose Group Park Avenue, that a bill regarding the matter currently sits on the desk of Governor Cuomo. "We're not talking about the 1 percent," said company owner Louis Rose, "we're talking about the one-hundredth of 1 percent."
The whole thing started because the neighbors complained that catered events held at the church (weddings, charitable events, fashion shows, etc.) led to excessive noise, "double-parked limousines" (not regular cars, obviously), and outsiders (a.k.a. event guests) crowding the streets. Last January, the opposition won a victory when a state court revoked the Rose Group's liquor license on the grounds that liquor sales can not occur within 200 feet of a church. Sometimes churches are allowed exceptions, but Liquor Authority did not give one to the Rose Group because they felt the church put catered events above church events. If they had they not removed the church pews, maybe things would have gone differently.
Since it couldn't get a normal exception, the Rose Group sent lobbyists to Albany in order to pass a bill "granting it special dispensation from state law" so it can regain its full liquor license (currently it can only serve beer and wine). After three attempts, the bill finally passed in June, and now it awaits the governor's signature. Rose says his company needs the license to stay in business, but the opposition wants Cuomo to veto the bill, arguing that granting this exception would "send a dangerous signal."
· Neighbors' Battle With Park Avenue Caterer Goes All the Way to Cuomo [NYT]
· All Neighborhood Beefs coverage [Curbed]
Photo via Third Church of Christ, Scientist Facebook