Posted in music | venues on January 3, 2011

Ridgewood Masonic Temple (more by Jessica Amaya)
Blissed Out

"A local events venue is in trouble with the police after a series of liquor licensing issues, with possibly dire financial consequences for the organization that owns it.

The 83rd Precinct elected to block alcohol sales at the Ridgewood Masonic Temple, at 1054 Bushwick Avenue, which caused a last-minute site change for a scheduled New Year's Eve show thrown by local indie-rock promoter Todd Patrick. Patrick is known to Brooklyn showgoers as Todd P.

...According to Ridgewood Masonic Temple manager Frank Williams, an organizer for a non-music event in November did not get his permit in time, but threw his event anyhow. The police randomly dropped in on the event and discovered the infraction. Because of this and other previous incidents at RMT, the precinct decided to block the issuance of any more temporary liquor permits for events held there. Patrons are not even allowed to bring their own alcohol. Though the NY State Liquor Authority issues the permits, the local police precinct has jurisdiction to deny one. As a result, Patrick moved the event to 285 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, where he could legally sell alcohol.

"[Community Affairs] Officer [Damarys] Franco was very understanding," Patrick told BushwickBK, "her feeling is just that they've given [RMT] a lot of chances, and she's going to stop cutting them any slack."...

..Patrick's decision to move the event was social as well as economic. "New Year's Eve is not any fun dry," he said. "If we don't sell alcohol, we can't pay for the place. Unless you're not paying the talent, you're either [charging] $25 a head or you're selling alcohol." $15 tickets for the show sold out shortly after the location was moved. -[BushwickBK]

That scheduled New Year's Eve event was Todd P's Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Andrew Cedermark and Julian Lynch show which relocated to 285 Kent Ave and sold out quickly thereafter. 285 Kent Ave is the same venue that will house Monotonix on February 5th.

Deerhoof is is scheduled to play Ridgewood Temple on 2/8, but the BushwickBk article makes it seem like there's not much of a chance we'll be seeing a show at the venue anytime soon (unless someone buys the building, changes the zoning and keeps having shows there). We'll keep you posted if the venue changes. Tickets are still available for advance purchase @ Desert Island Books (540 Metropolitan Ave @ Union Ave | 718.388.5087).

We're not sure what the non-music event that caused the trouble in November was (see above article if you don't know what I mean), but Todd P last succesfully hosted a show at Ridgewood Temple on Halloween.

Oh, and as some commenters pointed out last week, this is not the first time a Todd P show (that Titus Andronicus was playing) that didn't happen at Ridgewood Masonic Temple because of alcohol issues. In 2008 a Titus Andronicus/Black Lips show was moved to Market Hotel last minute. Market Hotel meanwhile still can't host shows anymore either.

Listen to the speech Titus singer Patrick Stickles gave on New Year's Eve (at 285 Kent), below...

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Comments (40)

Well...he can still book those lame straight edge bands there. They all just say no.

Posted by TheSloot | January 3, 2011 3:27 PM

Todd Patrick wrote this in the comments on the bushwickbk.com story about this...

"Thanks for covering this situation – if the Ridegwood Masonic Temple goes, it'll be sad loss for the community, far beyond the small impact on indie rock concerts. The space is really a multi-generational, multi-cultural facility used by many parts of the Bushwick community for to host events and ceremonies.

One key detail that should also be mentioned is that, it’s not just alcohol SALES that are impacted at the Ridgewood Temple – the police precinct and the SLA are also blocking byob. It’s not legal to have alcohol anywhere inside the building, and that is why this destroys their ability to keep operating as a rental hall.

We would have loved to do the event byob, but the police would not allow it, as NY state law requires a permit for “bottle clubs” aka byob events, and the licensing rules are essentially the same as a proper license.

Also, the issue with their getting a license is that the State Liquor Authority has made obtaining a “cabaret license” a condition of any liquor license being issued to the building.

It’s important to note that this is not always a requirement, but the SLA is invoking the requirement for a “cabaret” here at their discretion.

This is a death sentence for the space because a cabaret license would require adherence to current building code for public assembly spaces (they are grandfathered in under old code), and thus possibly millions in renovations. They would have to add fire sprinklering throughout the building, a modern fire alarm system, many more bathrooms, an elevator, and endelss more architectural upgrades. Since they are not zoned as a commercial space, they could not find an investor who would be willing to back them to finance these changes, since the space can’t be a “proper” club legally. It can only be fraternal organisation or a religious space.

The Ridgewood Masonic Temple is facing a sad series of catch-22′s and unfortunately all signs point to the place disappearing from the Bushwick cultural map.

This is a real tragedy for Bushwick, and not because we lose an occasional venue for indie rock concerts. The space is more commonly home for events that serve the old-school demographics of the neighborhood – hip hop concerts, car and motorcycle club parties, big dj dancehall reggae parties, family reunions, weddings, quinceañeras, and the like. Where will they go now? The neighborhood has no other similar facility."

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:28 PM

Well, that blows. Guess I won't be going to any further shows there (not that there were many).

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:40 PM

now, it is the Ridgewood Mehsonic Temple

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:50 PM

"They would have to add fire sprinklering throughout the building, a modern fire alarm system..."

Probably a good thing?

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:56 PM

probably an overkill thing that they can't afford and will force them to close

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:13 PM

In short, they can't rape the public anymore so they lost interest. Shamelessly invoking morals and community. Who cares, fuck em.

Before long Bushwick will be Williamsburg, nobody will be able to afford it, and the only people who will want to live there will be the people who killed it and turned it into Disney World, so that they can raise their kids, who will go to private school and later colonize Brownsville...

All while the best artists sellout and get day jobs, and the worst go on to fame and fortune and play concerts for politicians.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:16 PM

"They would have to add fire sprinklering throughout the building, a modern fire alarm system..."
Probably a good thing?

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yea after reading that it doesnt seem like it should be legit to host big events there.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:18 PM

thanks for saying nothing in a longwinded way, 4:16

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:19 PM

while they're at it, every building everywhere should have to have 300 trained firemen on hand at all times! otherwise everyone will die! it's safety!

how about tiny cameras in every room of everyone's house to catch people committing crimes!

also everything everywhere should be made of stone. won't burn! safety!

I want to see fire sprinklers in people's cars!

PROTECT US!
WE CAN'T LOOK AFTER OURSELVES!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:24 PM

seems like lots of places do just fine without following whatever the building code says is essential, as of this moment. ten years ago they said something else was essential, and ten years before that, it was different too. yet, is anything really safer, or is it just harder to follow the rules?

if you don't feel like a place is safe, you could you know, just not go to that place.

building code is a lot like certification processes they have to be a masseuse or a to be a dental hygienist, or to be an attorney, or to be an optomotrist... the rules are as much about raising the bar to new entrants to the field and protecting jobs and monopolies for the already licensed places and people... as they are about making the public safe.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:35 PM

Bottom line is forcing places to follow all these byzantine rules is killing off places for anyone who isn't powerful and or rich.

It's all overdone and the safety pluses don't outweigh the cultural negatives if it means everywhere that doesn't have millions of dollars has to close.

Us white folks gentrifying Brooklyn are as naive as we are privileged if we think that our do-gooder laws and regulations don't make life exponentially more expensive and prohibitive for everyone else.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:59 PM

Us white folks gentrifying Brooklyn
Us white folks gentrifying Brooklyn, uh
Us white folks gentrifying Brooklyn
Us white folks gentrifying Brooklyn, uh

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 5:12 PM

we can just sneak the stuff in now. it is a lot cheaper that way.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 5:30 PM

i sleep in a big bed with my wife.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 5:32 PM

here's something i don't understand, and i say this as someone who has been to many todd p shows --

why in the world wouldn't he want his venues safe and up to code? many of them (market hotel with bars on the windows; monster island basement with one tiny stairwell) are held in inherently dangerous, cramped, oversold spaces, where people are free to smoke and pose very real fire hazards. nightclub fires aren't new, and when they happen, seemingly everyone trapped inside dies.

i hate to say it, but i swear that it's only a matter of time before something terrible happens at one of these events that really leads the nypd to crack down on them, with very real safety concerns. and more than likely, todd would be in giant trouble and, if like the case in other areas, probably face very real and very serious criminal charges.

and no, i'm not a cop or someone out to get todd p -- like i've said, i've gone to many of his shows and appreciate what he does (cheap all ages shows, etc); but i'm also being realistic here that he's taking a huge risk each time he puts these events on.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 6:14 PM

I watched a video at school cause public safety made us and it showed a concert venue burning down. It was fucking awful. I had to watch like 150 die and the public safety officer pointed out people running out of the building on fire, coughing, or stomping others being huge dicks. Fucked up firecode was the cause of the fire.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 6:33 PM

So people left Manhattan to escape the high prices and went to Brooklyn, so now where to people go to escape the high prices of Brooklyn?

Posted by Willy the Jeep | January 3, 2011 8:11 PM

todd p uses those venues because they are cheap and he can make some $. what legitimate venues can he use?

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 8:24 PM

Deport Todd P back to Canada!

Posted by Stevie Pills | January 3, 2011 8:33 PM

CAN WE STILL HAVE HUMMUS?!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:05 PM

Yes Todd says its ok for you have hummus as long as you come to all of his upcoming shows.

Posted by Todd Ps intern | January 3, 2011 10:15 PM

The Lavatory > Ridgewood Masonic Temple

Best strawberry daiquiris for miles

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:16 PM

But overall, we have to all listen to Stickles and take some personal responsibility by cleaning up your trash, beer cans, taking care of your garden, walking your neighbors pitbull and Havanese, but most of all paying attention to fire codes while thinking about rocking out.

Posted by third shift | January 4, 2011 4:11 AM

But overall, we have to all listen to Stickles and take some personal responsibility by cleaning up your trash, beer cans, taking care of your garden, walking your neighbors pitbull and Havanese, but most of all paying attention to fire codes while thinking about rocking out.

Posted by third shift | January 4, 2011 4:13 AM

6:14 is right on. just a matter of time before something bad happens and some lawyers get involved.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 9:30 AM

here's a thought... have you ever considered the social cost of endless do-gooderism? you make the rules stricter and stricter and eventually it becomes cost prohibitive for everyone except the powers that be.

do you want to live in a world where everything is "safe" (who defines the term?), but there's nothing to do except watch american idol or see a concert at Roseland Ballroom?

who writes the rules, and are you sure their agenda is "safety" and not just making the situation too expensive for anyone to compete with them? have you ever looked into it?

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 10:58 AM

Hey uptight indie rock people, I gotta stop and point out to you that Ridgewood Masonic Temple is up to code. The city has sanctioned them to have the place be full of people. They have an occupancy permit and a permit for assembly. It's a legal venue.

What the fuck does the New York State LIQUOR Authority, or the local NYPD precinct, have any business telling them they have to have an elevator or more bathrooms, or anything, frankly.

If you don't see this as government overreaching, then you've obviously never run a business and had to deal with this shit. This kills enterprise, and in this case is snuffing out culture. There are limits to government authority, and there should be!

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:04 AM

If you feel all funny and frightened going to concerts at places that you think aren't fire safe, why don't you just police yourself and not go to those places? Why is it society's responsibility to worry about your personal safety?

You know what's unsafe? Subway platforms. There's a 5 foot drop with no guard rail, and every few minutes a huge steel machine comes barreling through at high speed with nothing except our common sense to keep us from getting hit and killed. Let's close down the subway, it's UNSAFE.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:10 AM

New York would be so much better if the police shutdown independent places to see shows and great spaces like the Big Apple Circus and their very intelligent security guards ruled the scene

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:17 AM

Yeah every promoter and every venue should just go down to the local fire safety store and buy all the stuff the city is saying today they're supposed to have, and every time the government changes its mind and wants some new bullshit too... 'cuz the government is real smart and is always right and never corrupt or serving the interests of the rich and powerful, they just care about our safety, right?

I'm sure it only costs fifty bucks or so to follow them rules, right?

Those guys are real jerks if they don't make this THE BIGGEST PRIORITY IN THE WORLD, RIGHT NOW.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:26 AM

"Why is it society's responsibility to worry about your personal safety?"

um... did you just wake up in the 20th century?

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:34 AM

bottom line: MOST (not some) places you go everyday aren't up to current building code and would go out of business is they were suddenly forced to be.

do you want to live in a world where every business can't afford to stay in business, just in the spirit following rules?

surf on the New York Department of Buildings website for all your favorite businesses' addresses... you'll find that the majority don't have a Certificate of Occupancy and therefor aren't legal to be open to the public. The exception to the rule are brand new building and corporate outlets.

Let's cerate a world where that's all that's open!

http://nyc.gov/html/dob/html/home/home.shtml

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:44 AM

I think you guys are all missing the point here. This IS a legal plaace, and the police are shutting it down anyway. That's what you get for following the rules...

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 2:40 PM

10:58 and subsequent posts that sound suspiciously like her/him--

i appreciate the attempt at marxist dialectic but anyone who has ever been to a market hotel show ever knows that 6:14's concerns are not lunacy/that of a worry wort. on top of that, i don't know if you've noticed, but todd p isn't exactly the "little guy" anymore.

Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2011 12:31 AM

When the Police are allowed to control our culture it is a POLICE STATE.

Posted by nygrump | January 5, 2011 11:11 AM

who cares about Todd P in this equation, if that space goes it removes one of a dwindling number of legal options for less privileged members of the bushwick / bedstuy community to put on any events.

what does society gain by closing this place down?

Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2011 10:34 PM

so... this place has a certificate of occupancy and a permit for assembly. if the building dept doesn't have a problem with this building, then why do the police and the liquor authority?

maybe they should stick to policing and worrying about whether people follow liquor laws, and leave the building code to the people who's job it is to worry about the building code.

Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2011 10:32 AM

hey to all those do gooders saying that this place SHOULD be shut down because they don't have a Cabaret License...

a short list of venues without Cabaret Licenses:

Bowery Ballroom
Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Warsaw aka the Polish National Home
Brooklyn Masonic Temple

(and the list goes on and on...)

don't believe me? Call the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and ask: 212-487-4283

So why don't you go and call for the shutdown of that fire trap Bowery Ballroom? Since you know all about safety and aren't just an uninformed self righteous windbag and all...

Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2011 11:32 AM

Perhaps the main reason the alcohol was stopped is because it's a "masonic temple" (religious hall) where NO forms of alcohol are supposed to be served. Then again, since the building hasn't been renovated in many many years, perhaps what was 'allowed in the past' is NO longer possible, as now they're looking to sell the building asap.

Posted by Bea K. | June 2, 2011 4:08 PM

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