Welcome to The West 45th St. Block Association!

Since 1976 we've been working with our neighbors to improve the safety and quality of life in our community, and beautify the block. If you live on 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues and have a question, a suggestion, an issue you'd like to work on, or just want to meet some great neighbors, we invite you to come to an event, or drop us a note and say hello.

Come Out and Join Us!

Our members help shape the future of our community and improve the quality of life for everyone living on 45th street. Send us an email if you'd like to get involved, receive news alerts about local events, and stay up to date on neighborhood happenings.

Our Block

CB4 BLP Meeting May 14th

posted Apr 30, 2018, 1:13 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Apr 30, 2018, 1:21 PM ]

Dear neighbors,

As many of you know all too well - we've heard the complaints about safety, noise, vomit, public urination, traffic and crowds - our community is quickly being turned into a bar destination.

Your BA is working with other BAs and elected representatives to address this, but we are in for a very tough fight. Our first step is to address the Business License and Permits (BLP) Committee of Community Board 4 (CB4). We have set up a meeting for May 14th at 5:30PM. I'll post the final location here as soon as we know it. Please email me at west45ba@gmail.com if you'd like to attend.

Some history:
For years now, the BLP Committee of CB4 and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) have rubber stamped new bar and liquor serving applications - overruling community objections - creating a crisis in our community. Driving these rubber stamps is of course lobbying and money. The city and state get a lot of operating revenue from these bars in the form of fees and taxes. And property owners are an immensely strong lobby for more bars since they can demand huge monthly rents from bars that other businesses can't afford to pay.

The 500 foot rule:
According to the 500 foot rule - a state guideline used by CB4 to determine whether a community is over-saturated with bars and liquor serving establishments - generally, no more than three on-premise liquor licenses are permitted within 500 feet of each other. However, there is an exception to this Rule known as the Public Interest Exception.

If the location is subject to the 500 foot rule, and no “grandfathering” or other exception applies, the license cannot be issued unless the State Liquor Authority makes an affirmative finding that it is in the public interest to issue the license. This clearly creates a presumption that the license should not be issued. The 500 foot rule requires that the Authority consult with the municipality or community board and conduct a hearing to gather facts to determine whether the public interest would be served by issuing the license. This is commonly referred to as the “500 Foot Hearing”.

When considering whether it would be in the public interest to approve the application, the Authority may consider the following:

      • the number, classes and character of other licensed premises not only in the area where the proposed establishment will be located but also in the particular municipality (or subdivision of the municipality)
      • whether the applicant has obtained all other necessary governmental licenses and permits
      • the effect on vehicular traffic and parking in proximity to the location
      • the impact on the existing noise level
      • the history of ABC violations and reported criminal activity at the location
      • any other factor specified by law or regulation that would be relevant to deciding whether public convenience and advantage, as well as the public interest, would be served by approving the application

2018 March For Our Lives

posted Mar 27, 2018, 12:30 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Apr 30, 2018, 12:50 PM ]

To friends and neighbors on 45th street,

As many know, this past Saturday, March 24th, 2018, students from Parkland High School in South Florida organized the March For Our Lives in Washington DC and dozens of other cities across the country.

In support of this march, Senator Brad Holyman's office chartered a bus to take constituents from New York City to DC and back again. The trip, organized by Deputy Chief of Staff Eli Szenes-Straus, was a great success. Eli did a wonderful job organizing every detail of the trip.

The march itself was also exceptionally well organized. The day was sunny; the crowd huge and hopeful; and the kids leading this movement were articulate, compelling and inspirational. Their speeches displayed poise far beyond their years. Their passionate words - and in the case of Emma Gonzalez - their purposeful silence, brought many to tears (if you're not sure what I'm referring to, check out her speech her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u46HzTGVQhg).

A HUGE thank you to Senator Holyman and Eli for arranging this trip.

I've attached a photo to show the size of the crowd. To see more photos of the march, the marchers and the signs they made, please follow this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dcstuart/albums/72157693180668661

Aladdin in the News

posted Dec 17, 2015, 5:38 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Dec 18, 2015, 10:02 AM ]

Here's a link to a recent article in Chelsea Now, detailing some of the problems we have faced at the Aladdin:

These problems included:
* a man slashed open from his hip to his collarbone in a street brawl in broad daylight (one takeaway: don't bring a "Don't litter" garden sign to a knife fight)
* a flourishing drug trade in and around the Aladdin shelter
* neighboring businesses broken into to get at stored booze
* neighbors, pedestrians, and business employees intimidated, harassed and chased down the sidewalk
* litter, food, empty liquor bottles dumped into our tree beds
* tricks turned in the parking lot--blow job in plain sight of the sidewalk
* public urination and exposure to small children (one proud owner boasting to a little girl and her mom, "I'll bet you've never seen one that big!")

As we reflect on the year that was on W 45th St between 8th and 9th Ave, and our efforts as a block association, we remember the words of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham (with thanks to Wodehouse): "I look about me, even in a foul hole like Mitching Hill, and I ask myself--How can I leave this foul hole a better and happier foul hole than I found it?"

Annual Report - 2015

posted Dec 15, 2015, 9:41 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Dec 18, 2015, 9:59 AM ]

To all Friends and Neighbors of the W 45th St. Block Association (8/9th Ave),

Attached is our annual report for 2015.

Thanks to everyone who helped this year and please get in touch if you'd like to help next year. Together we can make a difference and improve our community!

Wishing you and yours a very happy holidays,

Timothy Tanner
West 45th Street Block Association
Serving our community since 1976

Thomas Aiello (July 19, 1949 - September 22, 2015)

posted Oct 7, 2015, 9:17 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Oct 24, 2015, 12:16 PM ]

Tom Aiello, a jazz musician who provided the soundtrack to W 45th Street for the past 30 years or more, has passed on. He was in poor health in recent months and was taken by ambulance in the early hours of Sunday September 20 to Roosevelt Hospital, where he died shortly thereafter.

Tom was a fixture on this block and lived and played his flute outside 360 W 45th St. You saw him there day in and day out, spring, summer and fall, and wherever you were on the block you heard his flute and his exuberant shout of "Hey!" punctuating the breaks. Tom was an accomplished musician--saxophone and flute--and in earlier days played gigs at the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, other clubs both big and small, and even Carnegie Hall. He was a kind soul, always had a good word and a ready joke, and held court on his stoop, being sociable with his many friends, neighbors and passersby. Hopefully you said hello, stopped to chat, or dropped him an occasional dollar. He was kind to children, learned their names and played songs for them spontaneously or by request. He was a big presence on this block. Rest in peace Tom--you will be missed.

Thanks NYC Parks Dept!

posted Oct 1, 2015, 9:22 AM by David Stuart

This spring/summer the NYC Parks Dept showed some love to our block. In May they surveyed and pruned our trees, removing dead branches and plastic bags stuck in trees up and down the block. Then last week they returned to cut down two trees that had died--a honey locust in front of 330 W and one of the two beautiful zelcovas in front of 305W. We called these zelcovas the "King" and "Queen" of the block because they were two of the most beautiful street trees anywhere in NYC. Both trees have been dying, we think because the ConEdison dig three years ago disturbed and cut their roots (Parks Dept confirms that many trees die after such digs). The Queen is dead, long live the King! (but he's in bad shape too). We will work with the Parks Dept to get some new trees planted in those spots--stay tuned!

Aladdin--Our Plea to Midtown North Police Precinct

posted Oct 1, 2015, 9:00 AM by David Stuart   [ updated Oct 1, 2015, 12:08 PM ]

On Sept 15, 2015 block residents Randy L., Katherine C, and Megan H., Tim T. and business owners/managers Ray R.(Iron Bar) and Peter M. (Beer Culture) took time out of their evening to attend the Midtown North precinct community meeting. They spoke calmly, factually, passionately and persuasively about the rise in crime this summer centering around the Aladdin homeless shelter on our block, including the recent stabbing, fights, breaking and entering, knocking down pedestrians, chasing women down the sidewalk, menacing business employees and patrons, menacing and intimidating passersby on the sidewalk, drug sales in the Aladdin (including reports from Aladdin security officers themselves), drug and alcohol use right outside the Aladdin (with the knowledge and even participation of Aladdin security), public urination and indecent exposure, and littering on the sidewalks and flower beds. The testimony of these residents and business managers, individually and collectively, was incredibly powerful--you could see there were a lot of concerned community leaders and cops in that room, from the Commanding Officer (Inspector Hart) on down to the various Lieutenants, Detectives, Community Officers and patrol officers.

After the meeting we were approached by the civilian leadership of the Community Council--they are influential neighborhood leaders and were very sympathetic to our situation and wanted to learn more. The secretary of these monthly meetings said that in all the years he has been taking notes he's never heard anything so alarming as what he heard that night about the Aladdin. Inspector Hart pledged to devote more police resources to our block and a couple high-ranking police officers in attendance personally pledged to solve these problems.

To the Midtown North Precinct, the Community Council for providing the forum, and to those who served their community by coming out and speaking up--THANK YOU!!! It's amazing how much can be accomplished when you speak to the right people in the right places. It's been a rough summer and while we're not going to solve these problems overnight, things are already better and will continue to get better.

Stabbing on W 45th St. outside the Aladdin

posted Aug 19, 2015, 9:04 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Oct 1, 2015, 9:20 AM ]

We are all upset by today's events, and by all that
 has been happening over the past several months that led, predictably, to today's stabbing on W45th St. outside the Aladdin.

This neighborhood has complained for years, especially every summer, and increasingly this summer--the worst in years--of loitering, littering, routine disturbances of the peace late at night right outside people's windows, harassment of neighbors and businesses, and other safety and quality of life issues. We have reported these issues to police, elected officials, DHS and the Aladdin landlord. Just last week the neighborhood called an Emergency Meeting with electeds, DHS and the police to plead for help. They are all well aware of the problems and the fact that things have been allowed to reach this point is a disgrace. 

The night watchman at a neighboring building reports that from 10pm to past midnight last night there was a large gathering of people outside the Aladdin that turned more unruly than usual--he said it was the worst he has seen in a long, long time, with pedestrians being harassed, women being chased down the sidewalk, and public urination right on the sidewalk. He said Aladdin security did nothing and in the middle of it all an NYPD squad car rolled by and also did nothing.

It's no surprise there was then a fight outside Broadway Dance Center around 1am (employees arrived this morning to find a large pool of blood and bloody bandages on their stoop--their security footage confirms that participants came from the Aladdin) and it's no surprise there was another fight today which led to the stabbing.

It's all too predictable, and too frequent.

This is not an isolated incident. It's part of a larger systemic failure by many city agencies and actors (and of course the Aladdin owner, Alan Lapes). This block, this neighborhood (including many law-abiding Aladdin residents) is suffering.

ConEd manhole explosion -- 9/14/15

posted Aug 16, 2015, 2:48 PM by David Stuart   [ updated Oct 1, 2015, 9:13 AM ]

On the morning of Friday Aug 14 a ConEd manhole exploded on our block, just outside of Schmackary's. The manhole cover, weighing upwards of 200 lbs., shot 150 ft into the air, landing across 9th Avenue near Southern Hospitality. Amazingly enough, no one was killed or injured. ConEd crews worked through the rest of the day and night to repair the damage, and Beer Bar (halfway down the block) reported a strong burnt smell in their basement throughout the day. One of our friends at Broadway Dance Center noticed the smoking manhole, took out their phone and was able to capture the explosion on this dramatic video:

YouTube Video

Daily News: NYC Comptroller Rejects Aladdin Shelter Contract

posted May 13, 2015, 9:34 AM by David Stuart   [ updated May 13, 2015, 10:02 AM ]

We applaud Comptroller Scott Stringer for calling further attention to safety concerns at the Aladdin shelter, and pressuring the city to do something about it.

We also applaud Mayor de Blasio for creating shelter "SWAT Teams," composed of workers from five city agencies — the FDNY and the departments of homeless services, housing, health and buildings -- to inspect and remedy problem shelters such as the Aladdin.

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David Stuart,
May 10, 2012, 5:10 PM