New York bars targeted by community activists

12th January, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

New York bar owners have accused anti-alcohol campaigners of attempting to drive them out of business, as activists continue their crusade in the Lower East Side.

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A number of New York bars on the Lower East Side have accused community group LES Dwellers of attempting to drive them out of business

Launched in 2012, the LES Dwellers group campaigns against the number of licensed bars in the Hells Square area of New York since 2012.

Critcising what it claims is a proliferation of late night liquor licenses in the area, the group regularly films violence and drunken behaviour in the area, posting the videos on their social media sites.

Bar owners have fought back against the campaigners, with the New York City Hospitality Alliance claiming LES is “killing” the city’s nightlife.

Speaking to the New York Post, Robert Bookman, consel for the organisation, said: “They go for the jugular. They go above and beyond any other community groups I’ve ever seen. They’ll bring up violations you had five years ago.”

The publication also reports that LES petitions bars that violate liquor licenses and permits, and also seeks to halt expansion plans of some venues.

Bar owner Rob Shamlian said he planned to sell two of his establishments after being targeted by the group, which successfully lobbied a community group to deny his plans to open a basement bar in 2013.

However LES Dwellers website reads: “We aren’t fighting bars and nightlife, we are fighting to restore balance, improve quality of life and for retail diversity.”

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