Bad neighbor!

The Cliffton causes more controversy

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Back in 2020, The Cliffton, a bar located on the corner of East Main Street and Maple Avenue in Patchogue Village, went under fire for placing bets on shootings in New York City and Chicago.

At that time, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy asked the owner of The Cliffton, Brian Neal, to withdraw the “shooting” pool offered; that is, a point spread that shows the number of shootings that will occur in New York and Chicago over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. The chamber received emails of protest over the images of the board and rules that were posted on The Cliffton’s public social media pages, bragging, “Numbers are up early. Let the shooting sprees begin.”

Previously, in April of 2020, The Cliffton’s social media page also posted a meme that put a transgender woman and customer on blast, resulting in a 100-person protest. Supporters of The Cliffton did not agree with the post. Neal later apologized.

However, fast-forward to April 2022, and The Cliffton finds itself at the root of another problem, this time with neighbors. It started when several neighbors of the bar requested parking signs to prohibit illegal parking in the area, which some say has helped, but has not alleviated the issues all together.

Maple Avenue homeowner Dawn Dicarluccio also claimed during a recent Patchogue Village board meeting that they are constantly being woken up by music, loud noises, and disruptive and wandering bar-goers at all hours of the night.

“We had a block meeting with code enforcement and they have the decimal meter out for calibration,” she said, frustrated with the mayhem. “The music is too loud, and it has been for a long time.”

According to village code, no person shall create or cause to be emitted any noise which, when measured at or beyond any lot line of the property on which such noise is being generated in a business or industrial district, exceeds the code standards from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by code enforcement officers, public safety officers, noise control officers and/or police officers. Aside from noise control, the village can only also help by writing tickets for open containers or public urination. They can also help by asking people to move along; however, any criminal behavior is an issue for the Suffolk County Police Department. Also, hours of operation and compliance would be a State Liquor Authority concern. According to the New York State Liquor Authority, restaurants, bars, or other businesses who sell for on-premises consumption cannot serve between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. 

In addition to the music until 5 a.m., which Dicarluccio said can be heard from five houses down, there are also drunk people walking up and down the street, one even laying in the middle of the road. She also questioned the legality of the converted “patio” at the bar.

The outdoor patio, according to the village, is not approved for any use. However, as it exists, it is just an outdoor area without any tables or chairs.

Another resident of Maple Avenue, Peter Delbianco, thanked the board for helping with the parking issues, but also took concern with the noise levels and drunk people produced by the bar.

The owner of the bar, Neal, also spoke, claiming he was not aware of the issue and when he was made aware, he had asked the staff to turn down the music.

“Noise from customers is 1,000 percent the problem. I noticed it is at its worst when something happens down the block. I am not placing it on any other establishment in town, but we tend to get a big push of people when there is an incident in town,” he said, making note of a police presence or ambulance.

When the front doors are left open, he said, the noise is louder, a problem he hopes to fix with a vestibule.

“I looked into estimates,” he said, hoping to muffle the noise. “When the door is closed, there isn’t a problem.”

As for the patio, he said, he attempted to enhance the former dumpster area with a concrete slab and enclosure. Another resident also noted a visible inappropriate statue of a nude woman.

“It was a personal mistake of mine, poor defense; it’s the same mannequin in the window of Blum’s,” Neal said.

“No, it’s not,” said deputy mayor Jack Krieger. “This is just not being a good neighbor. It’s about being a good neighbor. This bar has a reputation.” 

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