Mason Dixon, 24-Hour Argentinean Dining Cause a Ruckus for CB3


Last night’s CB3 meeting was a predictably contentious one, owing in large part to the continuing saga of Essex Street’s Mason Dixon.

The Lo-Down reports that the bar, which was shuttered last weekend by the police due to underage drinking, may have a savior of sorts in Matt Levine.

Levine, the owner of the late and notably unlamented bar the Eldridge, told CB3 that he wants to buy Mason Dixon (its owner, Rob Shamlian, is currently caught up in a lawsuit with its neighbors) and turn it into a “New American” restaurant. Levine’s version of a “New American” restaurant is one that serves Irish, German, and Polish food until 4 a.m., a detail that led many of the meeting’s attendees to smell bullshit. Levine told them that if they didn’t let him have his way, they’d be “stuck with vomit on the sidewalk,” a sentiment that failed to further endear him to his audience. In the end, he withdrew his application.

Eater also attended the meeting, which was otherwise relatively free of drama. The community did, however, register its disapproval of plans for Pressure 24, a new restaurant set to open in the old Economy Foam space on East Houston Street. The owners of the San Francisco transplant want to bring bi-level dining to the block, complete with a 24-hour Argentinean café and subterranean comfort-food restaurant that may also serve weekly Thanksgiving meals. Although the whole concept sounds spectacularly misguided, CB3 gave it their approval.

One other development of note: An entity called Not a Bookstore LLC wants to turn the old Superdive space on Avenue A into a gallery/restaurant/garden/artists’ residency. Neighbors, however, felt insulted by the bookstore reference, as Superdive originally applied as a bookstore prior to becoming the neighborhood’s most loathed bar. The application was ultimately withdrawn, making this the second time in as many months that Avenue A residents have rejected plans to turn the street’s former dens of iniquity into something that sounds kind of nice.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 12, 2011


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