Owners of a popular gay bar in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood want to expand their reach in the city by opening a sister bar in Hell's Kitchen.
But angry residents and a nearby school are attempting to thwart their efforts saying that a "no pants" promotion (which offers reduced prices for drinks if patrons only wear boxer shorts) and selling alcohol in close proximity to children are unacceptable.
Bob Fluet and Rob Hynds are looking to bring their Boxers franchise north of their original outpost in Chelsea. They've already received preliminary approval from Community Board 4's Business Licenses and Permits Committee but their would-be neighbors have been anything but welcoming.
Principal Irma Medina of P.S. 111 emailed parents last weekend to warn them of Fluet and Hynds plans, reports DNAinfo.com. The letter explained Boxers NYC intends to "have a pants check-in, leaving the patrons wearing only their boxers" and argued "this is inappropriate for school age children to be exposed to during the day while they are in a learning environment."
Fluet and Hynds claim that because very few patrons took advantage of the previous promotion, they won't be bringing it to the Hell's Kitchen location. However, even if they did, the co-owners say there would be little to worry about. "The reality is a lot of people would show just their waistband, and even so boxers cover as much as bermuda shorts," Hynd says.
Others are upset that the bar would be situated next to the school's playground and across the street from Sacred Heart of Jesus School, thereby standing within 200 feet of the learning institutions, which is against NYC zoning laws. However, the Boxers co-owners plan to split the building into two businesses, creating a booze-free taco shop on the side closer to P.S. 111 which would free the bar from zoning issues.
At a local block association meeting on Thursday night Fluet and Hynds met with residents and insisted that Boxers NYC would would be good for the area.
“Should it be a night club? As a gay parent of two, I would never want a nightclub there. Could it be a tavern that sells food? Yes, in my opinion I think that's fair. Other than that, there may be nothing but having a derelict building for three, four years. Is that good for the neighborhood?” Fluet told NY1.
The co-owners also proposed keeping the bar closed during school hours and opening at 4pm. "We are revisting the 1 p.m. [opening time]," Hynds said. "We want to be good neighbors."
NY1 also noted that both "police and the community board that oversees Boxers’ Chelsea location recommend [the necessary licenses] be approved" when the board meets to vote on October 5.