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Shark Bites: Hard Up in Harlem

Shark Bites is a regular Curbed feature in which the fine folk from NYC research hub PropertyShark drop by to share goodness from their map archive. Today, we've invited them to Eater to shed light on the ongoing liquor license proximity debate and what it might mean for the up-and-coming Harlem dining scene. Do enjoy as we hand them the reins...

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Sometimes an approximate result is better than no result at all. This week's PropertyShark map is a great example of that. According to recent Eater coverage about the liquor license brouhaha in Tribeca, a restaurant can't get a liquor license if its main entrance is within 200 feet of the main entrance of a school or house of worship. Since Harlem is thick with churches, a recent New York Times article speculated that it's going to be very hard for restaurants to open there.

The above PropertyShark map shows churches (and other houses of worship) and schools in dark blue and a 200' buffer zone of light blue around the entire parcel. We used each building's Department of Finance tax class to determine whether the building was being used as a church or school. We're not sure if the state uses the same classification in evaluating liquor license applications. We don't know if storefront churches renting commercial space count, either. And since we don't have data on the locations of the main entrances, we just drew the buffer zone around the entire lot.

Still, as the NYT article states, there are large sections of Harlem that look to be pretty difficult territory for liquor licenses. But Seventh Avenue (Adam C Powell Jr Blvd) and Eighth Avenue (Frederick Douglass Blvd) seem like good places to start a search. Nevertheless, from a satellite view the PropertyShark map shows that the article's main thesis is correct: there are a lot more churches and schools in Harlem than most other neighborhoods, and finding a location for a liquor license is going to be a much bigger challenge.
· PropertyShark Maps [PropertyShark]
· Harlem is Rising, but Where to Eat? [NYTimes]
· Cercle Rouge, Bubble Lounge Fighting for Liquor Life [~E~]

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