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Living Near A Port Chester Nightclub: Noise, Fights and Public Urination

What do residents do when local law enforcement and officials won't step up to keep unruly businesses in line with the town ordinances?

The thing that attracted us most to Port Chester was the great diversity of restaurants and the success of small, local businesses.

We live in a neighborhood that the zoning department has designated as mixed use, so we share our lives with several of the aforementioned businesses. One of them, unfortunately, is a .  

The club seems to cater primarily to Connecticut residents who get turfed out of bars between midnight and 1 a.m. So, just as my neighborhood is entering into a deep slumber, the club is gearing up for a busy night. If handled properly, this would probably not be a bad thing. However, in this situation, it is not being handled properly.

My neighbors and I have been trying now for about nine months to see some action taken about the excessive noise between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., six nights a week. (Tuesday nights are a blessed relief.) Specifically, very loud music.  

The club has never bothered to install any type of noise insulation. Any music played inside the establishment is also blasting into the back yards of all of the local residents.  

So, we figured, we’d call the police. Several nights a week, we crawl out of bed around 1 or 2 a.m. and go downstairs to phone in a noise complaint. My guess is about 50 percent of the calls are responded to. I understand that there are many times when the police have more pressing situations to deal with, and I understand that completely. The problem is actually the 50 percent of the time when they do respond.  

If the complainant is not waiting outside to meet them, they often just drive by and decide the noise isn't too loud. I don't blame them for thinking this, because the street-side noise isn't all that bad. The real problem is at the back of the club, where you can only hear the music when you're standing in our back yards. (Or attempting to sleep in our bedrooms at the back of our houses.)

If we happen to catch on officer, it then becomes a struggle to get them out of their car to investigate the noise. In all fairness, they used to be more willing, but it seems they've grown tired of the complaints. The last officer that came out actually told me that if the noise wasn't present on Main Street itself, it was out of his jurisdiction to investigate.I’m no lawyer, but Chapter 224-2 Section C Number 12 doesn't seem to state any requirement for the disturbance to occur on public property. 

It gets better. I was eventually informed by the police that the noise laws in Port Chester are old and were written before modern-day music systems existed, therefore they’re not really relevant anymore. Huh? I always thought that if the law was on the books, it required enforcement. Not to mention that according to the laws, this section was amended on March 21, 2011.

And the problems have become worse than mere noise. Fights have broken out in the street in front of our homes. Someone has fired off a gun, twice! Patrons have smashed the glass in the door of the establishment. They also trespass on our properties and use them as latrines and dumping grounds. We have found everything from empty and broken beer bottles to drug packets littering our properties. 

Once the police stopped being interested in assisting me, I took my complaints to both Mayor Dennis Pilla and Trustee Luis Marino. While they both seemed very willing to lend assistance in the beginning, I have stopped receiving follow ups from either of them.

So, I'm reaching out to the public at this point for either help or suggestions. Nobody should have to live under these conditions.

P.S.  As of last night, it turns out the owners feel it's acceptable to pump sewage into the street.  The Department of Health is investigating this today, but they've already confirmed to me that the worst-case scenario for the business is a fine, but most likely, the owners will just be told not to do this again. Children live in the apartment building right next door.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

t February 15, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Call the news stations like the shame on you segment or get your own video footage and put it up on Facebook and tag groups like ” you know your from port Chester if” and put it on youtube and make the video related to PC and the Mayors name and other people or groups this can bring more attention to the problem.
Sean A. McNerney February 15, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I just received a call from Luis Marino. He has told me he will set up a meeting with the police ,him and myself for next week to see what can me done. He mentioned that he will invite the mayor to join us. I'll be sure to keep people posted.
Bart Didden February 15, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Sean, Over the last 19 months besides working on constituent concerns, I have been introducing legislation on such items as Certificates of Occupancy updates, increasing methods to catch scoff law violators, making presentations about the proliferation of Group Homes, and starting discussions about eliminating billboards, new criteria about clearing violations prior to site plan review, and requiring permits for installing impervious materials in the Village. Many of these items were either blocked or opposed by the Mayor. Additionally, with Trustee's Branca, Kenner & Terenzi, I worked to avoid a 14.7% tax increase in the current tax rate. As to the meeting that Trustee Marino is putting together, I would be happy to attend if you through it would help. It is unfortunate that you relied on the Mayor's Office alone or Trustee Marino. Usually Trustee Marino follows through and that is why I asked him what was happening at your home this afternoon after I read your post. I am glad to see its back on his radar. An open note to the Patch readers, I am always available by e-mail bdidden(at)portchesterny.com or bdidden(at)aol.com for any concerns you have with local government.
Sean A. McNerney February 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Thank you for the follow up Bart. When I know the exact timing for the meeting, I'll let you know. I'd be happy to have you attend as well. For myself and my neighbors, this is not a situation that can continue to go unattended.
JJ February 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Sean............I NEVER had the issues resolved and I moved away from that area. I already wrote about this on another PC Patch Blog. This was a few years ago but all I got was lip service from the village. Good luck Sir.
JJ February 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Mr. Didden, you seem like a decent guy and I enjoy reading your responses. How about the Board of Trustees getting out to these locations on Friday & Saturday nights to see first hand what the Public is talking about? Spend some after hour time with the PCPD and see what they're facing. This is the BEST Board PC has had in a long time and maybe it's time for some/ all of you to get some "boots on the ground" AFTER HOURS IN THE VILLAGE. Quality of Life issues are a BIG problem in Port Chester so please help this guy. I ask this with all due respect Sir.
Sean A. McNerney February 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Sorry to hear nothing was ever done JJ. But thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in these problems. And in response to your other post, the really bad nights for us actually seem to be every night EXCEPT Fri and Sat nights. The noise tends to be worst on Wed and Thu. But Sun and Mon are issues too. I actually accept that we moved to a mixed use area and realize the Fri and Sat nights may be noisy. But I find little reason to be so accepting on nights when the rest of the world has to get up for work in the morning.
Rafael Amaya February 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM
No need to suspect it, it's true. It is what it is. La Dolce Vita and La Gratta are the two ficha bars in Port Chester.
Rafael Amaya February 15, 2012 at 11:39 PM
La Dolce Vita was shut down for a while, though I don't know the reasons why.
Rafael Amaya February 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I have yet to hear of a reprisal from someone who has spoken out against a ficha. My understanding is that Fantasy on Main St was either a ficha or a strip club and that place hasn't been open in YEARS. A good number of gals that work in either spot are from the DR, I don't know how that plays into the trafficking angle.
Sean A. McNerney February 16, 2012 at 12:05 AM
They were closed due to the previous owner not paying their taxes. The place was bought at auction a few years ago. I believe the owner of the club is the father of the woman who bought the building, but I'm not 100% certain that is the case.
Rafael Amaya February 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Thanks, I figured as much... Despite the nonsense that goes on there, I miss Port Chester terribly.
Bea Conetta February 16, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Sean, Glad to see that someone is fighting against something that is radically wrong and is not giving up. Bars have been a thorn in Port Chester's side for decades. When I was a young woman we had 60 bars in PC. They flocked here from all the surrounding towns and especially from Connecticut, because their bars close at 1AM weekdays and at 2AM on weekends. Make as much noise in all directions and eventually something concrete will happen. The Picketers of the Diamond Club didn't give up for almost nine years and we were fighting the Gambino family. If it wasn't for the picketers, we would have a red light zone in PC now. Believe it or not, we even fought our BOT because they thought it was a law that we had to have an adult zone. Fortunately, we were able to convince them otherwise. It's great that that you will be having a meeting with some of the bigwigs in town. It'a a good beginning. If that fails, go higher up. Your cause is honest and legitimate and certainly worth fighting for. Wish I could help.
Bart Didden February 16, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Mrs. Conetta, maybe you can help. Since you have a great relationship with the Mayor, please ask the Mayor why this resident, who in my opinion has reasonable issues and expectations, seems to have been forgotten by the Mayor and still without a resolution? In the meantime I will ask Trustee Marino. Thanks for trying to help.
Nik Bonopartis February 16, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Here's a poll asking readers if they think Port Chester should crack down on nightclubs: http://patch.com/A-qTps A Google search for "ficha bar" and "Port Chester" turns up an alarming number of posts on sites related to prostitution and escort services. That's not proof, of course, but there are lots of anecdotes on those sites where customers name existing and defunct bars in Port Chester. Warning: The search will turn up several NSFW links, so be careful before you click.
Sean A. McNerney February 16, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Thanks for that research Nik. I just voted in the poll (naturally). I did do the same search you did and found this report from someone who visited my local establishment: "Finally I went to La Dolce Vita, on the far north end of Main St., near the Connecticut line. $10.00 cover. This is a ficha. The women were openly getting tickets for every drink." While this is hardly concrete proof, it's mounting evidence of what is alleged to go on in these places.
t t February 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Everthing has to be on video these days!!!it speaks for itself send it to news 12 PC is growing in a good way im sure they wouldn't want the bad press or maybe they do than they can clean it up and make themselves look good
Sean A. McNerney February 16, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I've got audio recordings I made at 2 in the morning one Wednesday night. As soon as I can get my hands on a decent camcorder, I'll try to get some video. It's definitely on my road map!
Ana Dejesus February 17, 2012 at 09:52 PM
In 2001 my parents move out of Port Chester after living here more then 35 years. The apartment were they lived in was above Pick and Shovel, that was there for many years with no loud music or loud obnoxious drunk people . After Pick and Shovel closed a new restaurant/nightclub open. That is when my parents nightmare began. From Sunday to Sunday it was LOUD pumping music and drunk TEENAGERS yes TEENAGERS til 5am. Many or may I say hundreds of times my parents called the police to have the music lower. BUT nothing was done. My parents also spoke to the mayor which also nothing was done. Took it to court which nothing was done. There answer was "JUST MOVE!" Our answer to them was "Why should we if we have lived here for MANY years in PEACE!" My parents dealt with it for about 2 years. They were very disappointed that after living in Port Chester for many years with no problems they chose to move away. SO sad that Port Chester has turn out to be this way...So I hope you get this resolved because my parents did not...BEST OF LUCK!!!
Sean A. McNerney February 17, 2012 at 09:56 PM
HI Ana, I'm hoping significant progress has been made to weed out bad local government since that time. It's a shame they had to go through that. Thank you for the good wishes though! I'm sure I'll need as many of those as I can get:-)
JJ February 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I remember the Pick and Shovel. It was a pretty small place that was formerly known as Rappaport's (SIC?) or something like that if I'm not mistaken. I was amazed that they actually had bands in the "Pick" ; mostly for the CT "kids" who came to PC to drink and raise Hell because they COULD in Port Chester. Thanks for the story and your insights. I hope the reader's understand that this HAS BEEN A LONG TIME PROBLEM IN THE VILLAGE. The Quality of Life STINKS in PC UNLESS you live around / off of King Street or around the HS.
LL February 19, 2012 at 04:09 AM
As I read this at 11:00 at night, the noise is picking up from Bar Taco. Since it is on the river, many are not concerned about the noise. People intending to move into "The Mariner" are in for a rude awakening when they find they have to listen to loud noises every night as their window reverberate to the bass.
Sean A. McNerney May 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
It really is a shame that these places are allowed to operate at the detriment of the residents who live around them. All I can say is it's a constant battle. It took me several months of constant calls to the police, documenting the incidences and writing a public blog post before I got any real change! And even now, my situation is still not perfect. It has improved, but there are still nights where the music is clearly louder than it should be. I actually installed a video surveillance system recently because I was still having problems with club patrons trespassing on my property at 3 and 4 AM when the clubs let out. The best thing I can tell you to do is to try to get support from your neighbors. Usually you aren't the only ones suffering and the more people you can get to be vocal along with you the more action you'll see. Good luck to you!
Linda Turturino May 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Sean, keeping fighting call, and email and keep a journal of all your failed attempts and start going to Village meetings and speaking. It is the only way to get your point accross and keep a log of everything and question why police are not around I bet you will get many different answers one more interesting than the next ..
George Datino May 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Well, all I can say is you guys have a lot more self control than I do. I think if thinks got so bad that people were urinating in my entrance way, I would be doing things to get back at them. Probably setup a hose or something over the door and when people came in to relieve themselves, I would turn the hose on and blast them. If they continue to do it, I might give them an even swap and load the hose with urine and when I blast them, they would get covered in it! But like I said, you guys have much more self control than I do.
Sean A. McNerney May 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I've had meetings with the Mayor and numerous members of the police force. I'm certainly not going to accuse them of not doing their job. My understanding is that the current budget can only support so many night officers and PC is not exactly a quiet town. And honestly, I sincerely hope they put more serious priorities ahead of mine. I think this is really more of an issue that the town needs to address. Stricter enforcement of noise, loitering and other ordinances. While I certainly want things to improve, I want it know that I do believe the police are doing their best with what they have to work with.
Sean A. McNerney May 16, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Don't think I don't have fantasies about that sort of thing! Fortunately or unfortunately, I think trying to fix this from within the system will bring about better long term results than retribution style reactions.But yes, self control is a very hard thing to maintain at 1:30 in the morning.
George Datino May 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM
You know, if the village doesn't want ot enforce its own laws (which I believe are in effect 24 hours a day, not just when the budget says they can be enforced), you may want to try and make an inquiry with the State Liquor Authority. I do believe there are certain rules that are attached to the establishment's license. Maybe they can help. If you want to get their attention, going after their Liquor License will do it. Without that, they might as well close. That is where the money is.
Renee Pastore November 01, 2012 at 12:10 AM
pc bar fly i am a patron of la dolce vita i have first hand witnessed the security from the bar help customers as well as police the people in front of your house sean you should have looked around before you bought your house what thriving business did you notice in the town 1/3 of main st is vacant without these bars their clientel would be drinking on the street also it seems you have a blind eye to the bar that YOU DRINK AT JT STAWS you dont seem to notice anything from there or dont your cameras go that far second your cameras should face your home not a bar dont like pc fucking move prick
Sean A. McNerney November 01, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Renee, I'm not 100% what you mean about my cameras. They are absolutely positioned to protect my house. The fact that LDV and JTS (yes, both of them) are in the view of one of my cameras is coincidental. Also, you really should get to know me before throwing accusations at me about what I do in my free time and where I patron. As far as the security there goes, I happen to know them from many late night conversations I’ve had to have with them. They tell me each and every time that they are doing there best, but there are only so many people they can keep an eye on. So while I do believe they mean well, I don’t think they’re enough to make a real difference. And if you’re right, that the patrons of LDV would be drinking in the street if not for the existence of the bar, then I think that proves my point that the clientele do not belong in a largely residential neighborhood. Lastly, I think you are confused, because I absolutely love Port Chester. If I did not care about the town, I would not be making a concerted effort to improve living conditions here.

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