HELLS KITCHEN (WPIX)—A proposed gay bar near a school and a playground in Hell's Kitchen has some community members crying foul, and others wondering, 'what's the big deal?'
Owners of the popular gay sports bar "Boxers" at West 20th Street in Chelsea want to open a new outpost -- renovating this dilapidated building on Manhattan's West Side.But the plan is raising hackles for some people in Hell's Kitchen.
According to the bar's lawyer: "there are very specific rules and laws governing how far a 'liquor-licensed' establishment can be from a school or a church. We have investigated that, we've done some area surveys and, based upon what we've seen, so far we feel as though we are in compliance with the law."
He told PIX 11 News that the bar will conduct extensive community outreach to address any neighborhood concerns.
Neither New York City's Department of Education nor Sacred Heart School would comment on the issue tonight.
Neighborhood resident Matthew Garrett told PIX 11 News, "I don't really see a problem with it, I feel like the time that people are going to frequent a gay bar in Hell's Kitchen is not going to be during school hours."
One Hell's Kitchen resident who only shared her first name 'Carrie', told PIX 11 News "I have a son here and I would absolutely not object."
One resident who wished to remain nameless, would only say, "I don't like it, no, I don't like it."
Residents pointed out there's a liquor-licensed restaurant right across the street and a liquor store as well.
The attorney for Boxers Bar told PIX 11 News "we know what the rules are and just as important we want to draw customers from the community. We don't want to disturb our neighbors."
He also said the new bar would bring as many as 50 jobs. Community Board four has scheduled a public meeting for September 13th.
In a telephone conversation the bar's owner told PIX 11 News they have no intention of violating the 200-foot distance from a school zoning rule.