Some people will tell you that you can’t see stars in New York City. This is false. You can indeed see stars, and not just in some metaphorical celebrity sense. The sky might never look like it did that time you slept with the bushmen in the Outback, but on a clear night in Manhattan, you’ll see more stars than you can count. The Big Dipper. Orion. Ursa Major. Maybe even a planet. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see those celestial bodies with a well-crafted cocktail in your hand and a plate of sashimi before you on the lovely outdoor patio of CATCH Roof in the Meatpacking District. But for this to happen, CATCH needs your help.
The thing is, the EMM Group, which owns the restaurant CATCH, as well as its rooftop lounge, needs the approval of Community Board 2 to serve liquor on the outdoor patio of CATCH Roof (they’re currently only approved for the indoor part of the roof). If the community board approves this request, the space will be turned into a full-time sushi lounge, with indoor and outdoor seating. The EMM Group is only asking to use the outdoor liquor license until midnight.
Most BlackBook readers tend to be enthusiastic fans of nightlife, and will likely be inclined to side with CATCH in its efforts to bring a new level of outdoor drinking to the neighborhood. It’s not a hard sell with this crowd. And we’re certainly fans, having only recently had an amiable chat with CATCH Roof manager Greg Bach. (And it seems like only yesterday we interviewed EMM Group partners Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum, and Michael Hirtenstein – as well as CATCH chef Hung Huynh.) But it’s important to address the concerns of the Community Board.
This is not a group of curmudgeons looking to turn Manhattan into some kind of dry city like Lynchburg, Tennessee. They’re well aware of the value–both economic and creative–that the neighborhood’s status as an epicenter of high-end nightlife has brought. But they live here, and are tasked with creating a balance between the nightlife industry (which has all but replaced the packing of meat) and residents who have to wake up in the morning, get their kids to school on time, and hustle to their jobs.
The Meatpacking District wouldn’t be the same if nobody actually lived there, if it was a nightlife-only destination. It feels good because of its human element, its walkable streets and affable shopkeepers. Mayberry it’s not, but it’s as much a community as any other in lower Manhattan, and well worth protecting.
But I believe a balance can be achieved, and if you agree, click on over and sign the petition. You can even show up at the meeting to offer your support. It’s on Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 pm in the lower hall of St. Anthony of Padua Church, 151-155 Sullivan Street. CATCH Roof is one of the nicest new nightspots to open in the area in a long time, and it would be a shame not to be able to venture outside and feel the breeze on a warm summer night.
If the license is granted, try to be a considerate drinker. Instead of shouting and carrying on like some kind of lager lout, sip your cocktail, gaze up at the sky, and try to count the stars. It’s a beautiful universe and we’re a very small part of it, but important all the same.