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Bay Ridge residents fight proposed beer garden

January 11, 2013 2:27:00 PM PST
A proposed beer garden at 5th Avenue and 92nd Street is pitting some of the long time residents of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn against a new wave looking to bring some change.

It used to be a locksmith shop, but by the end of June it's going to be transformed into what the new owner calls a beer garden, where they'll serve beer and hot dogs and some wine, but no liquor.

But where it sits, on a residential block with children and senior citizens, on a site that abuts people's homes, has some wondering if the beer garden is a good idea.

"There are a lot of parents with a lot of small children, they wake up the children late at night, we can't sleep, we all work hard, you know, 50, 60 hours a week we want to sleep sometimes," a resident said.

But the owner of the new bar says it's not going to be anything like that. There won't be loud music he promises, there won't be liquor at all, just beer and wine, and he says they're going to close at a reasonable hour.

"There's music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The loudest music in teacup speakers which are probably the size of this microphone, and really what it is, is just background music it's not like we have giant speakers or blaring music. It's really just a place where someone can have a bite to eat and hang out," said Thomas Casatelli, owner.

Thomas Casatelli has a diverse background. He was a firefighter on 9/11 and retired sometime after. He was convicted of owing more than a million dollars in taxes and spent time in jail because of it, but he says the beer garden is in his neighborhood too.

"They don't have to worry because I live in this neighborhood four blocks away, my brothers went to this school here, I went to St. Pat's three blocks away, I'm not going anywhere, this is where I live this is where I want to be," Casatelli said.

Critics remain skeptical and they're trying to shut it down before it opens up.

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