In a bid to appease neighbors complaining of noise by patrons smoking in the small outdoor area behind Maguires pub, the bars owner promised last week not to allow customers there after 11 p.m.
Its the smoking ban, said Gerry Conway, who has owned the Bell Boulevard bar and restaurant for 2 1/2 years. Its pushing more and more people outside.
The bar owner also believed that since people were not running their air conditioners yet, they were keeping the windows open and letting in the noise.
Conway said he initially thought it would bother the community less if his customers congregated in back of the building, where there is a small outdoor passageway sandwiched between the bar and a commercial building, rather than on Bell Boulevard.
I know some other owners in the area are having some of the same problems, said Conway, who added that until the police called him last week he had been unaware of neighbors concerns.
Harsha Perera, who lives on Corporal Stone Street one block up from Bell Boulevard, said he can hear yelling, shouting, screaming, giggling, laughing, everything you can think of coming from behind Maguires until the middle of the night.
They never think of the neighbors. They never think of anyone, said Perera, owner of the Zoo-Rama pet supply store on Bell Boulevard, who has frequently called the quality-of-life hotline to complain ever since the smoking ban took effect two months ago.
We cant sleep till 2 a.m. the noise is so loud, he said.
Conway said such concerns were legitimate and that he had even given his phone number personally to a neighbor in case of any future problems.
If they had called me directly, I would have taken care of it, said Conway.
Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, said he was rebuffed when he called the bar to complain on behalf of neighbors who had contacted him about the noise.
Skala was unimpressed by Conways vow to close the back area after 11 p.m., calling the space an unlicensed outdoor cafe where patrons should not be allowed at any time.
Theyre not allowed there at all, period, he said, adding that he intended to bring the matter up with the 111th Police Precinct at his civic associations June 3 meeting with police.
While acknowledging that smokers were forced outside because of the smoking ban, Skala expressed pessimism that Conway could enforce his new rule at all times.
I have little faith that promises will be kept, especially if the owner is not there at the time, said Skala.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community News Group
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