Petition Launched To ‘Save Black Brunch’ At Woodland

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PARK SLOPE – Ahead of the next New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) hearing to consider the fate of Woodland’s liquor license, The Black Institute (TBI) has launched a petition in support of the beleaguered business.

Woodland, 242 Flatbush Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/Bklyner)

The “Save Black Brunch” change.org petition states, “Woodland Is Under Attack,” and asks fans of Woodland’s popular weekend brunch to sign and show their support. As of Sunday, the petition has collected nearly 400 signatures of its 500 goal. “Let’s keep black brunch in Brooklyn!” the petition pleads.

TBI, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping local black families and immigrants resolve problems in their communities, hopes to keep Woodland from being shut down and bring attention to the prejudices black-owned businesses and businesses with black clientele often face, a spokesperson for the group explained to Bklyner.

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Several employees of TBI have had the brunch at Woodland and say that the venue offers a “fun and friendly environment” where they “feel comfortable.” Members of TBI  believe that the accusations against the business “are blown out of proportion,” the spokesperson said.

Located at 242 Flatbush Avenue at the corner of 6th Avenue, Woodland serves a bottomless mimosa brunch on weekends which attracts large, young crowds. Many neighbors have complained about the venue over the years claiming the business over serves customers and plays loud music while accusing patrons of public drunkenness and unruly behavior.

On June 6th, the SLA issued an Emergency Order of Suspension on Woodland‘s liquor license only to have a Supreme Court judge issue a restraining order the next day, allowing the venue to return to normal operations. Woodland, or Prime Six Inc. (the licensee), filed an Article 78 against the state, arguing that SLA’s decision to suspend Woodland’s liquor license was “arbitrary and capricious.” A judge granted the business a temporary restraining order allowing it to resume serving alcohol until its next SLA hearing.

A second SLA hearing took place on June 18 in which representatives from Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon’s and Council Member Brad Lander’s offices attended to observe the proceedings and submit testimony from the officials. The Assembly Member and Council Member Lander have co-written three letters to the SLA in the past two years expressing their concerns about the business and its impact on locals.

A third hearing—that was scheduled for Tuesday, July 9th—has been postponed until Wednesday, July 24th. This hearing will focus on 11 charges against the business dated  March 4, November 17, and November 25, 2018 as well as March 28, 2019. The charges include permitting dancing; permitting the premises to become disorderly; a “continuing pattern of noise, disturbance, misconduct or disorder”; and the licensee principal “knowingly permitt[ing] Robert and Zhan Petrosyants to manage the licensed premises when he knew or should have known said individuals were charged and later convicted of federal crimes involving moral turpitude.”

Representatives of TBI attended the last SLA hearing and plan to give testimony at the July 24th meeting. They encourage Woodland patrons to do so as well.

In March 2018, following a Community Board 6 vote rejecting Woodland’s liquor license renewal application, Woodland owner Akiva Ofshtein told Bklyner that he and his staff have taken several measures to appease neighbors, including the use of crowd control barriers to keep large groups from blocking the sidewalks and stationing a security guard at the corner of 6th & St. Marks Avenues on weekends.

In April 2018, SLA scheduled a hearing regarding the renewal of Woodland’s liquor license amid five charges filed against the business from October 1 through November 10, 2017. On May 2, 2018, SLA agreed to dismiss the charges if Ofshtein paid a $12,000 fine, though it was noted that the agency had “further charges coming” against the business.

Following the April 2018 hearing, Ofshtein said despite his efforts to compromise with the community, neighbors remained unhappy. “I firmly believe it’s because we mainly have an African-American and Caribbean-American clientele,” he told Bklyner.

TBI agrees with Ofshtein, noting that many bars and restaurants often experience noise complaints, but that “Woodland has gone out of their way to implement extra security and more staff to ensure that local neighbors are not impacted,” according to the spokesperson. Members of the group say they do not understand why Woodland is still being targeted as the business has “fixed issues in the past and have the proof to show it.”

Go to change.org for the “Save Black Brunch” petition.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Extra security and more staff does not control the excessive disturbance on the sidewalk caused by people going to Woodlands. Every time I pass by, the music is blaring through the door across the street. There are many other black businesses in the neighborhood and they don’t have the same conduct. If Woodlands really wants to save their spot, they need to clean up their act.

  2. Dear Racist Neighbor,

    I live in the neighborhood too, in fact, I live very close to woodland and I can tell you straight to your face that you’re full of shit. The people who patron the restaurant are joyful, happy and very pleasant people who are just enjoying themselves.

    I think the only that disturbs you is the fact that the majority of them are dark skin people and you’re afraid that people who spend their money to go eat some great food and listen to music while smiling and laughing scares you.

    People like you make me sick, do us life long members of Park Slope a favor and go fuck yourself! I’m sick of you techies who move to our city and decide you can change our city’s culture. The black and brown people of New York spend lots of money here and do more for our city than they are given credit for despite living in a nation of oppression and injustice and you want to take away their restaurant?

    Well this real New Yorker say you can go fuck yourself!

  3. Hey Neighbor, if you want quiet don’t move to the largest city in the United States. This whole situation is blown completely out of proportion. Move back where you came from

  4. Is Woodland’s owner paying Bertha Lewis or her organization (The Black Institute) for this public relations work? Ms. Lewis’ organizations have a somewhat sketchy history of being funded by real estate developers (Ratner of Forest City Ratner financially supporting ACORN when it supported the Atlantic Terminal project; see also the Crane’s article re: Upper East Side real estate interests funding her opposition to the waste transfer station there). Woodland’s owner (who is not Blsck) seems to be using Lewis to make a racial issue out the bar’s Liquor Authority woes. Follow the money??

  5. Whenever I exit the Bergen Street subway stop and walk past this corner, I thank my lucky stars I don’t live on this block. It’s incredibly noisy, even on a weekday. There are tons of people loitering on the sidewalk impeding pedestrians from walking through easily. Quite a few patrons are visibly intoxicated. For a while, a patrol car with its lights flashing was regularly stationed at the corner. I shouldn’t feel like I have to cross to the other side of Flatbush to avoid whatever drama is happening there.

  6. Been in park slope for 40 years ,This our home! Go back to the midwest and leave us real New Yorkers alone !

  7. Whenever I exit the Bergen Street subway stop and walk past this corner, I thank my lucky stars I don’t run into uncultured, racist, and plain sad neighbors from Ohio. They are incredibly annoying, even on a weekday.

    There are tons of these transplants loitering on the sidewalk impeding pedestrians from walking through easily.

    Quite a few of them are visibly bored with their sad cookie cutters lives. For a while, a wammmmmbullllaaance car with its lights flashing was regularly stationed at the corner. I shouldn’t feel like I have to cross to the other side of Flatbush to avoid whatever drama is happening there.

  8. As a person who lives off the block of Woodland, Ive have had people puking on my stoop. Ive watched girls pee on the sidewalk in front of my house. Also drive off in cars wasted. BTW this is all during the day on the weekend. I just seriously am concerned with drunk driving and over serving of the girls that is happening. Im walking down the street with my toddler and worry about being hit by drunk drivers on the weekends.

  9. As a person that lives on the block, I saw Alyssa drive drunk with her toddler after puking all over my god damn stoop. During the weekday mind you! I’m very concerned about what kind of drugs she is taking in the privacy of her home around that rowdy toddler. Literally scared to go to Woodland because I’m worried she would hit me with her stroller while hurling incoherent insults.

    Does anybody know how to get this trash out of the neighborhood so I can feel safe again for me and my 10 toddlers?

  10. Woodland isn’t a black-owned business! I think if its clientele were to be quiet and remain inside the restaurant nobody would care two bits about it. There are loud people loitering on the sidewalk, people screeching up in their cars to this corner, and drunk people staggering all around. This is not an establishment that’s working to be a good neighbor

  11. People that aren’t black will always have a problem with black people having fun. Ive been to Williamsburg twice where so called hipsters live and party and was scared for my life when I saw “hipsters” cursing loudly, violently pushing each other, staggering from the sidewalk to the street because of drugged up and drunk they were. I’ve never been back. Not my kind of crowd! Yet no one is trying to shut their fun down! I’ll rather go to woodland be amongst young professionals that want to eat great food, drink awesome drinks and shake their asses! Yes shake our round asses because we can! Move out the neighborhood since you’re so scared and hurt!

  12. Woodland is not black-owned.
    Black folks, please spend your money, time and energy on businesses that we own, run, and represent. Don’t be hoodwinked!

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