Are you ready to rock, Ridgewood?
Two event planners are looking book Ridgewood for a live music venue at 1658 Summerfield St., the former Barker Brothers manufacturing company.
Paul Devitt, co-creator of Sid Gold’s Request Room in Manhattan, and Todd Abramson, who books events for the famous Maxwell’s Tavern in Hoboken, NJ, approached Community Board 5 (CB 5) with a request for a liquor license during the board’s Sept. 14 monthly meeting at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.
The duo feels that the large, former manufacturing site is the prime location for a live music venue to help Ridgewood grow as a destination neighborhood.
“I would like to help put Ridgewood on the cultural map in much the way I was able to do for Hoboken with my many years at Maxwell’s,” Abramson said. “I want to have an establishment that the local community can take pride in. I also want to introduce others to Ridgewood and what it has to offer.”
Abramson laid out his impressive history, booking world-renowned artists for Maxwell’s, rarely having any security problems at his venues and his work with the community, such as hosting various community gatherings, benefits and events in Hoboken, including presenting musical performances by many of the local schools.
“I feel Ridgewood is at an exciting point in its history and that the timing is right for what we have to bring to the community,” Abramson added.
Devitt presented CB 5 with the pair’s plans to keep the area inside and outside of the proposed venue safe, to keep noise levels low, and to work with the community on any issues.
CB 5 had a different opinion, however. The building at 1658 Summerfield St. is zoned for manufacturing, and members of the community board are committed to keeping manufacturing buildings solely for manufacturing. They also were not sold on the idea that Ridgewood should be a destination neighborhood, as Devitt and Abramson see it.
Barker Brothers made buffing wheels, flap wheels, convolute wheels and unitized abrasive wheels used to polish and finish airplanes, automobiles and floors. Founded in 1911, it was purchased in 2014 by Schaffner Manufacturing, which relocated production the following year to its home base in Pittsburgh, PA.
In the end, the board unanimously voted to recommend denying the liquor license application for the site. The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has the final say in distributing any liquor licenses.