A group of Brooklyn industry people, led by Dave Rosen, the owner of the Williamsburg bar the Woods, has just formed the Brooklyn Nightlife and Restaurant Coalition, with the hope of smoothing out some of the regular issues restaurants run into. Members so far include staff from Roberta's, Brooklyn Brewery, Project Parlor, and the Van Brunt Stillhouse, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is the chair of the board.
The alliance, which was announced earlier this week, has a few main goals. For one thing, it hopes to help restaurants build better relationships with their residential neighbors. It also hopes to ease the process of communication between restaurants and the various city agencies they have to answer to – the Health Department, for example, or the Buildings Department. As Rosen explained when the coalition was announced, "Our industry is plagued with stories of conflict, confusion, and miscommunication, and we want to change that into a narrative of cooperation."
The main plan, for starters, is to install representatives on local community boards, who would communicate more actively and regularly with residents. Eventually the coalition hopes to form smaller neighborhood-focused groups within it, to adjust to the specific demands and issues of different neighborhoods.The goal also, in making it easier for restaurants, is to encourage the establishment of more restaurants across the borough, which, Rosen argues, would create jobs and draw tourists.
Some community board members are in favor, but not all. While one Community Board 1 member told the Brooklyn Paper that he hoped better communication would prevent locals from opposing restaurants before they knew what they were really about, another was convinced "just trying to take over the community boards so they can do what they want to do."
At the moment, the coalition is actively recruiting members, and it remains to be seen what effects it will have.