Jackson Heights Life

Get Connected => Restaurants & Food => Topic started by: Stew on July 30, 2015, 10:53:16 PM

Title: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on July 30, 2015, 10:53:16 PM
We have decided that Swim Two Birds will be the name of the restaurant opening on 37th Avenue between 75th and 76th streets this fall.

People who are interested in following the restaurant's progress from now until opening are invited to follow our new Twitter account at https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny  (@SwimTwoBiirdsNY).

We have also opened Facebook and Instagram accounts and will be posting those links tomorrow.

One of the major issues for guests is comfortable seating. I'm excited to say that tomorrow morning I'll be paying a visit to Artistic Frame's New York office to confirm an order for custom chairs for our restaurant. You can see Artistic Frame's work at http://artisticframe.com/browse/showcases.asp?showcaseid=2




Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: zubloop on July 31, 2015, 09:33:32 AM
I like the Flann O'Brien reference, Stew. Will you have Guinness on tap? Hopefully you don't get TOO meta with the menu.

Best of luck shepherding your vision into existence -- seems like an exciting and necessary addition to the neighborhood!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Cassat on July 31, 2015, 10:42:36 AM
Love, love, love the reference; can't wait to try it out!

PS: Stew, I hope you are getting the French Canopy chairs.  JK, mostly.
http://artisticframe.com/browse/details.asp?productid=286
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: abcdefghijk on July 31, 2015, 11:13:37 AM
Classy.  Very classy.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on July 31, 2015, 11:40:05 PM
Love, love, love the reference; can't wait to try it out!

PS: Stew, I hope you are getting the French Canopy chairs.  JK, mostly.
http://artisticframe.com/browse/details.asp?productid=286

Thanks.

The French Canopy is quite the armchair, but we're just a little restaurant, not The Plaza or The Dorchester :)

The chair I ordered this morning is a contemporary chair of Artistic's own design for which they are going to make matching bar chairs. Artistic says that we'll have a 3D image early next week.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on July 31, 2015, 11:56:20 PM
Will you have Guinness on tap? Hopefully you don't get TOO meta with the menu.

Despite Guinness's claims to the contrary, I have had their stout both in and outside Ireland, and outside has never tasted the same. Guinness is notoriously difficult to pour properly, so maybe that's the problem. Or maybe it's in my head.

Hopefully you don't get TOO meta with the menu.

O'Brien put a modern spin on classics. And with a sense of humor. If we can do the first, and maybe a bit of the second, we don't need meta :)




Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 01, 2015, 12:09:34 AM
We've opened Facebook and Instagram accounts, content to be added starting this weekend:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swim-Two-Birds/509058845927019
Instagram: https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny/

And here's our new Twitter account with its first tweet: https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 01, 2015, 07:34:58 PM
zubloop, cassat,

Ireland's public broadcaster - RTÉ - broadcast an excellent documentary about Flann O'Brien in 2007. It won the Irish Film and Television Award that year for Best Documentary.  Brendan Gleeson narrates. If you're interested, the film's editor has uploaded it to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/94852078
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 02, 2015, 04:34:46 PM
I'm looking forward to working with the Jackson Heights Greenmarket vendors. They offer excellent produce at prices significantly more reasonable than Union Square. I've posted a photo of this morning's market to the restaurant's new Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages:

Facebook (this is a public page): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swim-Two-Birds/509058845927019
Instagram: https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 03, 2015, 09:15:57 PM
Today's issue will resonate with anyone who has considered natural stone for a kitchen counter. We spent the day visiting three companies on Long Island that sell quartzite, marble and granite. We plan a natural stone bar, and some of us involved in the project, although not all, are keen on stone table tops.

On looks, we'd go with marble in a heartbeat. As a practical matter, it scratches easily and doesn't get along well with acids, as in spilled wine and citrus wedges. The patina might look great at year 10, maybe less great at six months.

The upshot is that I'm phoning two friends tomorrow who know a thing or two about stone, but don't sell it and therefore don't have a stone to grind: a friend in Vermont who uses stone wall techniques to create art, and a friend in Canada who is a sculptor.

Hoping that the friend in Vermont will be able to give me the straight goods on Vermont Danby marble, which while expensive is beautiful and is said to be tougher (denser, less porous) than most marble.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Crabby_Appleton on August 04, 2015, 09:28:44 AM
We just used soapstone in our kitchen and I love it. It's non-porous, heat-resistant, and beautiful.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Jeffsayyes on August 04, 2015, 09:36:36 AM
Keep us updated, Stew. I am getting a new countertop too and going through the same conundrums too.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 04, 2015, 06:20:01 PM
Keep us updated, Stew. I am getting a new countertop too and going through the same conundrums too.

We visited the Global, Nash and Stone World yards. There's enough difference in stock that it's worth visiting a few of them. As you may know (we didn't), the way the business works only your fabricator can give you a quote. The yards won't tell you more than that stone A will be more expensive than stone B, and they won't even tell you by how much. So you write down the code for the slabs you're interested in, and the yard sends that info off to your fabricator, who will then give you a price. Fairly frustrating, actually.

And of course the lighting in the yards is all over the place, and won't match the lighting of your interior. So who knows what the stone will wind up looking like :)

I have a call in to my Vermont friend, who I'm hoping will be a big help.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 04, 2015, 06:31:11 PM
We just used soapstone in our kitchen and I love it. It's non-porous, heat-resistant, and beautiful.

I told our designer that I have a home in Newfoundland where I could buy stone that sells at a premium in NY. When I told him this stone is dark, as is soapstone, it was the end of the discussion. He wants light given the rest of the design, and he's right.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 04, 2015, 06:58:38 PM
For those interested in design issues, today I posted a drawing showing the design options for the dining room's rear wall and a photo of the wall tile we'll be using there:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwimTwoBirdsNY
Instagram: https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwimTwoBirdsNY

Late this adternoon, we received Artistic Frame's images of the dining and bar chairs. Really happy and will post them tomorrow.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 05, 2015, 06:06:36 PM
We finally have Artistic Frame's renderings for matching dining and bar chairs. Artistic needs a fair amount of time to make these, so they may not be quite ready for our soft opening. But I think they're going to be worth the wait. Plus, it was a great excuse to hang out for a bit at the D&D Building. We'll choose fabric, and decide on a few design details (shown in red in the photos) over the next few days, and then the chairs will go into production. Photos at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny
Instagram: https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny
Twitter: https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 02:03:34 PM
We're getting there. Michael Fiori's story on progress for the Jackson Heights Post: http://jacksonheightspost.com/frenchamerican-restaurant-to-open-on-37th-avenue/

Stew
https://www.facebook.com/SwimTwoBirdsNY
https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny
https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Jeffsayyes on August 07, 2015, 02:22:37 PM
Hey Stew, they say it's French and American food, but is it perhaps Canadian? Even New Canadien?


I ask because New Canadien is possibly my favorite type of food, though I'm not exactly sure what it is.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 07:19:04 PM
Hey Stew, they say it's French and American food, but is it perhaps Canadian? Even New Canadien?


I ask because New Canadien is possibly my favorite type of food, though I'm not exactly sure what it is.

Hi Jeff,

I think that the problem with characterizing contemporary cuisine in the U.S. and Canada is that they are both multicultural societies. The influences come from many sources. It is much simpler for a restaurant to say that it is French, Colombian, Italian, Thai or Chinese, or to use a regional label like Southern, Louisiana, New England, etc.

To take an example, there is nothing more archetypical of eastern North American cooking, from Nova Scotia to New York, than chowder. We'll be offering a lobster chowder as a signature dish. But the use of classic French techniques in its preparation means that it will be very different from what most people have experienced.

Thanks, you gave me the idea that it might be fun to offer French-Canadian tourtière for brunch over the Christmas season :)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 08:04:31 PM
We'll be offering a lobster chowder as a signature dish. But the use of classic French techniques in its preparation means that it will be very different from what most people have experienced.

Pair this chowder with a white wine that shows a little acidity, or with a cider made by, say, Normandy's Étienne Dupont, serve it with good bread or a well-made classic biscuit, and it's a marriage.

P.S. We are looking at opening late October.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on August 07, 2015, 08:40:40 PM
oh, for a good tourtiere (forgive the missing accent grave)....one of the greenmarket vendors used to do one, but the bakery changed hands and they stopped offering it.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 08:41:10 PM
Good article today by Bloomberg restaurant critic Richard Vines on noise levels in restaurants: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/why-it-s-so-difficult-to-turn-down-the-volume-at-popular-restaurants

Sam Sifton has been pretty tolerant of this, but came down hard in this week's review of a restaurant he otherwise likes.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 09:03:56 PM
oh, for a good tourtiere (forgive the missing accent grave)....one of the greenmarket vendors used to do one, but the bakery changed hands and they stopped offering it.

In French speaking Canada it is served every Christmas, and there are as many recipes as families who make it. However, there was a beloved Québec cook named Jeanne Benoit, who in the 1960s was in Québec as important as Julia Child was in the U.S., whose recipe for tourtière is the inspiration for many families today. You won't have trouble finding her recipe on the internet. Like Julia Child, she had a TV show, and some of the footage may well be on YouTube (although it's all almost certainly in French).
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 07, 2015, 09:28:16 PM
I spelled her first name wrong. It's pronounced Jeanne, but spelled Jehane Benoît.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 08, 2015, 11:09:21 PM
Paul dePoo, our designer, is in London this weekend working on the new musical about Josephine Baker: https://instagram.com/p/6IxU9ntJHY/

Yes, I'm jealous. I love London.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: madalyn on August 09, 2015, 07:52:09 AM
I spelled her first name wrong. It's pronounced Jeanne, but spelled Jehane Benoît.

I'm half French-Canadian and I have such fond memories of tourtiere at Christmas time.  Used to make a mean one myself, at one time.

Madalyn Benoit  (perhaps a distant relative Jehane)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 09, 2015, 07:39:24 PM

I'm half French-Canadian and I have such fond memories of tourtiere at Christmas time.  Used to make a mean one myself, at one time.

Madalyn Benoit  (perhaps a distant relative Jehane)

I think dssjh and you have convinced me to have tourtière on the menu for Christmas.

I was at our local Greenmarket today. There are some great vendors, such as Peter Henry for Vermont's Consider Bardwell Farm cow and goat cheeses, and John Martini, who owns the Finger Lakes winery Anthony Road. I'm pretty sure that we'll be working with both. A couple of photos from this morning's market (on whichever social medium platform you prefer):

Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Facebook (Public Page) (https://www.facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 23, 2015, 07:25:53 PM
Yikes, we're live on Yelp (http://yelp.com/biz/swim-two-birds-jackson-heights).

You'll see a hint that we intend to serve our guests in both English and Spanish. If the Spanish on the Yelp site isn't perfect, give us a bit of time. We're working out where Yelp can be bilingual and where it can't (not, as it turns out, on recommendations of other businesses unless the recommendation in both languages is no more than 150 characters.

Stew

Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on August 23, 2015, 08:17:20 PM
very nice to see your relationship with ottomanelli and sons. they've been my go to butcher for ages -- since i lived in astoria back in the early '90s. high quality meat and really great service.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 23, 2015, 08:57:32 PM
very nice to see your relationship with ottomanelli and sons. they've been my go to butcher for ages -- since i lived in astoria back in the early '90s. high quality meat and really great service.

If we're talking about the same shop - I'm talking about Beecker Street - I've been working with Jerry Ottomanelli and his brothers Frank and Joe for many years. I had a chat with Jerry a few days ago and I'm pretty sure that Ottomanelli will be our principal butcher, although I may want to bring in lamb from Québec.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on August 23, 2015, 09:37:30 PM
i was actually talking about the Woodside location, same family, same excellent service. i do understand wanting to use a purveyor you know and trust (in the case of the lamb)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 23, 2015, 10:14:53 PM
i was actually talking about the Woodside location, same family...

I guess I feel obliged to say that Ottomanelli on Bleecker Street, which has been in business for 100 years, has nothing to do with the other Ottomanelli butcher shops in New York. I'm not saying anything about the quality of the other Ottomanelli butcher shops, only that, apart from sharing a family name, there is in fact no connection.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petegart on August 28, 2015, 06:16:35 AM
Hi, any update?  It looks as if work has stopped. 
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 28, 2015, 08:28:56 PM
Hi, any update?  It looks as if work has stopped.

Hi petegart,

We are full steam ahead. Most materials have been ordered and paid for and work on the buildout should start within the next couple of weeks. We are working on a late October/early November opening.

That said, it's amazing how slowly even simple renovation proceeds in this town.

And the costs can be crazy. How much is HVAC to supply heat and air conditioning to 1,000 square feet? Try $30,000.

And no, you can't just install heating and/or air conditioning by yourself, because our city requires that it be done by "certified" specialists.

And depending on how you do it, the city wants $5,000 for a permit to give one's customers, via HVAC, heat in the winter and air conditioning in July/August.

Now you know why there are restaurants and take-out places in Jackson Heights that are not air conditioned.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on August 28, 2015, 09:01:07 PM
those of us who have done renovations in co ops know about the 'certification' of contractors.....good luck.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: hfm on August 29, 2015, 12:44:44 AM
Hi, any update?  It looks as if work has stopped.

Hi petegart,

We are full steam ahead. Most materials have been ordered and paid for and work on the buildout should start within the next couple of weeks. We are working on a late October/early November opening.

That said, it's amazing how slowly even simple renovation proceeds in this town.

And the costs can be crazy. How much is HVAC to supply heat and air conditioning to 1,000 square feet? Try $30,000.

And no, you can't just install heating and/or air conditioning by yourself, because our city requires that it be done by "certified" specialists.

And depending on how you do it, the city wants $5,000 for a permit to give one's customers, via HVAC, heat in the winter and air conditioning in July/August.

Now you know why there are restaurants and take-out places in Jackson Heights that are not air conditioned.

How is it possible that in JH this is more expensive than any other contractor in NYC?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on August 30, 2015, 10:17:15 PM
Only of interest to people really into design ... :)

We decided today that we're going with Christofle flatware.

Pattern here: https://www.facebook.com/SwimTwoBirdsNY/posts/514835085349395

We've also decided that we're going with Bernardaud china. Haven't chosen a pattern yet, but will in the next couple of weeks.

Great that the woman who runs Bernardaud's North America sales lives in Queens and knows Jackson Heights really well. She and her colleague Alexandre, who is from Brittany, are great to work with.



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Crabby_Appleton on September 01, 2015, 12:22:02 PM
Beautiful flatware! I appreciate you letting us see the design in process.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 02, 2015, 07:21:57 PM
Beautiful flatware! I appreciate you letting us see the design in process.

Hi,

I'm really keen on the design and the weight. I wondered about the curve of the knife handle, but having tried it I'm surprized that this is uncommon. It has a very nice feel.

I'm kind of into design so it's great to see that others here are as well.

Stew

Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Yelp (https://yelp.com/biz/swim-two-birds-jackson-heights)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Cassat on September 03, 2015, 10:28:26 AM
Nice. The knives remind me of Laguiole, which I particularly love. By the way, I finally watched the Flann O'Brien documentary, which I really enjoyed. Thank you for posting it!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 07, 2015, 09:43:35 PM
Hurray!

Looks like the city will approve our blueprints this week and that we can go from taking things apart to putting them together.

I want Swim Two Birds to be fairly casual, but that isn't inconsistent with good design. Looking forward to a meeting at Bernardaud Wednesday about matching their china with the Christofle flatware we've chosen.

And I'm having great discussions with my sister, an accomplished potter, about pieces that she's going to make for our guests.

It's starting to come together.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: cupcakeparade on September 07, 2015, 10:27:24 PM
it's cool to read about all the design elements and decisions that you are making (and no doubt these little things add up to a more significant whole) but my main concern is the food. how about keying us in to ideas you're floating around in terms of the menu composition, such as the type of dishes you're going to be offering? from the little that i've read or heard about swim two birds, it's going to be a bistro type place with french-canadian influences? or did i get that totally wrong? so...does that mean poutine and terrine de foie gras, or more french-canadian-american type of fare, like twists on classics? it would be great to get a sense of some of the types of dishes and flavors STB will offer. as a vegetarian, i'd like to put in a plea to please consider us herbivores and put at least one creative vegetarian entree on the menu (that isn't just "grilled vegetable plate"). also, maybe a heads up on the price points you're thinking...will entrees be around the $20-30 mark, higher, or lower? how about appetizers, salads, etc? i'm really looking forward to this restaurant opening up--the sooner, the better! ALSO, please consider putting the place on seamless! i'm in desperate need of new options for delivery! :)

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 07, 2015, 11:29:11 PM
it's cool to read about all the design elements and decisions that you are making (and no doubt these little things add up to a more significant whole) but my main concern is the food. how about keying us in to ideas you're floating around in terms of the menu composition, such as the type of dishes you're going to be offering? from the little that i've read or heard about swim two birds, it's going to be a bistro type place with french-canadian influences? or did i get that totally wrong? so...does that mean poutine and terrine de foie gras, or more french-canadian-american type of fare, like twists on classics? it would be great to get a sense of some of the types of dishes and flavors STB will offer. as a vegetarian, i'd like to put in a plea to please consider us herbivores and put at least one creative vegetarian entree on the menu (that isn't just "grilled vegetable plate"). also, maybe a heads up on the price points you're thinking...will entrees be around the $20-30 mark, higher, or lower? how about appetizers, salads, etc? i'm really looking forward to this restaurant opening up--the sooner, the better! ALSO, please consider putting the place on seamless! i'm in desperate need of new options for delivery! :)

Hi, thanks for the questions.

I happen to be Canadian, and trained in France, but I'll be offering what is best described as contemporary American cooking. We want Swim Two Birds to be a great experience for a civilized dinner, lunch or maybe somewhat more energized brunch. And maybe, although we need to gauge demand, a great experience for parents and their children on Sunday evenings.

We're working on the menu and I can tell you that we are very much keeping vegetarians in mind.

I'm sorry, but we will not be delivering. 

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: amsci on September 08, 2015, 03:33:25 PM
Sounds good to me, Stew!

You're offering cocktails as well, correct? If so, are you creating that menu as well?



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 08, 2015, 06:30:59 PM

You're offering cocktails as well, correct? If so, are you creating that menu as well?

Yes, we'll be offering cocktails. I think we want to concentrate on a selection and doing them well. We may create some cocktails over time, but I am acutely aware of a recent New York Times review suggesting that too many of the "new" cocktails being offered are inferior to well-made classics :)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 08, 2015, 06:45:18 PM
I think it's great that Vice, a print and on-line magazine with a huge international reach, would run a piece about a chef opening a restaurant in Jackson Heights.

Just published: http://munchies.vice.com/articles/what-its-like-to-cook-for-some-of-the-worlds-most-powerful-people

I really want to point out that while the by-line bears my name, writer/journalist Matthew Sedacca (@matthewlevine13 on Twitter) and his editor at Vice had everything to do with this happening.

For those unfamiliar with Vice, here's the Wikipedia article on it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vice_(magazine)

Stew

Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Yelp (https://yelp.com/biz/swim-two-birds-jackson-heights)
TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47960-d8507556-Reviews-Swim_Two_Birds-Jackson_Heights_Queens_New_York.html)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: abu benuska on September 08, 2015, 07:12:40 PM
When are you opening? Maybe you could start booking reservations. If it goes like Lockwood, you might be sold out for a year.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: cupcakeparade on September 09, 2015, 09:52:26 PM
thanks for your response, stew! it's great that you're keeping vegetarians in mind when creating the menu; i'm really pleased to hear that. this is all sounding very exciting and promising and i like how transparent you are and have been through the process, incorporating feedback from the community and keeping us in the loop on choices from small to big ones. as i said before, i can't wait to see the end result and to dine in comfort, style, and deliciousness hopefully very soon!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 09, 2015, 11:40:46 PM
We had a great meeting with Bernaurdaud and Christofle today followed by yet another bizarre meeting with the Community Board 3 business committee.

The meeting started with us introducing ourselves by name but getting responses only from people we asked.

Not a single member of the Commlttee volunteered his or her name.

It's sort of like appearing before a parole board, except that I'm pretty sure that Parole Board.members tell you who they are.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: madalyn on September 10, 2015, 08:51:38 AM
Our Community Board members seriously need a good shaking.  At a recent meeting about their approval or disapproval of the proposed upward expansion of the N.E. half of the block on 37th Ave. between 84th & 85th Sts.,  almost none of them were present at the posted starting time.    They slowly sauntered in (yes, sauntered - no sense of urgency whatsoever!) over the next 45 minutes and, even then, they were totally unprepared.  The documents they required had to be sent for.

No explanation or apology was offered, even though several dozen people from the neighborhood showed up, keenly interested in the outcome of the meeting.

This is shameful treatment of the people in the neighborhood they are supposed to serve.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 10, 2015, 11:13:49 AM
Our Community Board ...

You know, it was a pleasant enough meeting and it's well intentioned. But I'd kind of like to know, when a member speaks, who's speaking.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 10, 2015, 11:30:09 AM
Really happy with yesterday's meeting on flatware and porcelain. We have a match. Photos:

Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: theplanesland on September 10, 2015, 12:33:34 PM
Hey Stew, are you going to have any gluten free options?

Totally cool if no, but y'know, would be nice. When I ask at a lot of places in the neighborhood the proprietors almost hiss, make the sign of the cross and shout "out! out with you, demon!"
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 10, 2015, 09:46:57 PM
Hey Stew, are you going to have any gluten free options?

Yes. Most of my cooking isn't problematic anyway (for example, I don't use flour as a thickener in sauces, soups or chowders). We won't have a dedicated room free of wheat flour, but people for whom potential cross-contamination is not an issue should find plenty on the menu that works for them, as well as some pointedly gluten-free choices (e.g. in the dessert menu). I'm not planning to make gluten-free bread, but otherwise this is not going to be an issue, and I can see making gluten-free muffins for brunch.

Our service staff will be well-informed on allergens. The fact that there are people or whom "gluten-free" is trendy does not change the fact that for some people this is a serious issue, including two of my friends.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: theplanesland on September 12, 2015, 09:40:02 PM
Hey Stew, are you going to have any gluten free options?

Yes. Most of my cooking isn't problematic anyway (for example, I don't use flour as a thickener in sauces, soups or chowders). We won't have a dedicated room free of wheat flour, but people for whom potential cross-contamination is not an issue should find plenty on the menu that works for them, as well as some pointedly gluten-free choices (e.g. in the dessert menu). I'm not planning to make gluten-free bread, but otherwise this is not going to be an issue, and I can see making gluten-free muffins for brunch.

Our service staff will be well-informed on allergens. The fact that there are people or whom "gluten-free" is trendy does not change the fact that for some people this is a serious issue, including two of my friends.

Thanks! More than anything it's about being able to ask the server and getting an answer other than "no, we don't want to deal with you."
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 12, 2015, 10:24:05 PM

Thanks! More than anything it's about being able to ask the server and getting an answer other than "no, we don't want to deal with you."



I can assure you that every member of our team, kitchen and dining room, will know which dishes we offer that raise allergy issues, and that they will respond intelligently and respectfully to guests' questions. My recipe development process includes tagging dishes that include ingredients to which some people are allergic, and every member of the team will know which dishes raise issues, and what issues.

I absolutely want to hear about it if you have an experience in my restaurant that is inconsistent with what I just said.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 12, 2015, 10:33:31 PM
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Our designer, Paul dePoo, is at the Emmys tonight.  Paul was a member of the team that put on Live at Lincoln Center's Sweeney Todd, and they just won the Emmy for Best Special!

Paul's Instagram post from a few minutes ago: https://instagram.com/p/7jXrOetJBk/

Yes!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Lilybell on September 14, 2015, 11:17:38 AM
Wow, how exciting for Paul of the Awesome Last Name! That is an admirable achievement. I love Sweeney Todd.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 18, 2015, 10:32:39 PM
Language is both beautiful and amusing in its complexity :)

We'll be serving our guests, and offering our menu, in both English and Spanish.

So of course, the first question is, what are the New York City Spanish equivalents of the words Dinner/Supper, Lunch and Brunch.

So far, there seems to be a consensus that in New York Brunch is the right word in both languages, despite the fact that there are a good many references on the internet to Spanish terms for Brunch.

There also seems to be a consensus that Almuerzo is the right word for Lunch.

As it happens, there is debate among Hispanic people with whom I have discussed this about the right word for Dinner (or, as some people call it, Supper, which mostly proves that there's no agreement even in English - as far as my Newfoundland (in Spanish, Terranova) friends are concerned, Dinner is what New Yorkers would call Lunch, and Supper is the evening meal, a rather important distinction if one has been invited over for one or the other).

What's your vote for the New York Spanish word for Dinner/Supper? Hint: Cena is not universally approved.

And if you think that settling on Brunch and Almuerzo is wrong, I'd love to hear that too.

Cheers,

Stew

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on September 19, 2015, 09:20:56 PM
For what it's worth, I'm from an area where dinner and supper are used. Mostly, it's interchangeable. Dinner was more of a Sunday thing. You had a dinner at lunch time on Sunday. I think it was an after church thing. Families would have a big meal after church - pot roast, potatoes, roasted veggies -- the type of thing you could put in the oven before church and have a big meal at noon after services, sunday school, etc. That meal was called dinner. Every other time dinner/supper could be used interchangeably.

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ms. Jackson on September 19, 2015, 09:35:49 PM
I dislike the word 'supper' like most people dislike the word 'moist'. Makes me shudder.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on September 19, 2015, 10:20:09 PM
i've heard dinner as midday meal/supper (sorry, Ms. Jackson! :) ) as nighttime meal in parts of the Midwest, too.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 20, 2015, 12:05:03 AM

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish. We're also interested in hiring staff that can serve guests in at least one of the East Asian languages. The latter is more complicated, because the several East Asian languages spoken in Jackson Heights differ from one another in both their oral and written forms.

Last week, we had a meeting with a web design company that works with some of New York's most prominent restaurants, during which it was pointed out to us that no "significant" restaurant in New York offers a bilingual web site, and that it's a costly hassle, for those maintaining a site (e.g. making menu changes), to do it. Yes, there's a cost, but the fact is that bilingual restaurant web sites, at least in their menus, are common in places like Montreal and Paris. And there's no shortage of New York menus filled with French and Italian :)

If one is offering hospitality in Jackson Heights, it seems to us that bilingual service and menus are the correct, and indeed obvious, thing to do.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 20, 2015, 12:41:29 AM
For what it's worth, I'm from an area where dinner and supper are used. Mostly, it's interchangeable. Dinner was more of a Sunday thing. You had a dinner at lunch time on Sunday. I think it was an after church thing. Families would have a big meal after church - pot roast, potatoes, roasted veggies -- the type of thing you could put in the oven before church and have a big meal at noon after services, sunday school, etc. That meal was called dinner. Every other time dinner/supper could be used interchangeably.

Love this.

In rural Newfoundland, where I have a summer home, dinner is the mid-day meal. If one is invited Monday through Saturday, it means 12:00 p.m. sharp. And yes, in rural Newfoundland one may well be invited to come by for lunch/dinner.

Everything else is supper, which is historically 5:00 p.m. sharp but is creeping closer to 7:00 p.m. due to the pernicious influence of people, like me, who are from elsewhere.

On special occasions - for example Canadian Thanksgiving - the festivities tend to start sometime between mid-afternoon and early evening.

There's some great discussion about New York eating times, and the evolution of their names, in Edwin Burrows's Gotham: A History of New York to 1898, and, if I recall correctly, there's some pretty good discussion about eating times and dinner/supper in one of Joseph Wechsberg's essays in Blue Trout and Black Truffles.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ms. Jackson on September 20, 2015, 09:13:43 AM

If one is offering hospitality in Jackson Heights, it seems to us that bilingual service and menus are the correct, and indeed obvious, thing to do.
[/quote]

Be the example, Stew. I think positive things will come of this [success!] and other NYC restaurants will follow.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Jeffsayyes on September 20, 2015, 10:57:35 AM
Regarding dinner vs supper etc, don't be afraid to educate your customers. If you write the hours, the public will get it.


And as far as languages, there are many people from south asia who can speak many languages in that area, so if you get a special person they will have you covered. For east asian, I guess youre talking about the Thai element in our neighborhood, which does not usually cross with the South asian language people. HOWEVER for both, most people who are here from those countries speak english too (and those that don't are almost definitely not going to saunter in alone) so I would not even worry about the language stuff for those countries. That being said, it's a wonderful seeing a staff of the entire rainbow - the best example Ive ever seen is at Cannelle Patisserie.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on September 20, 2015, 11:28:54 AM

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish...

Last week, we had a meeting with a web design company that works with some of New York's most prominent restaurants, during which it was pointed out to us that no "significant" restaurant in New York offers a bilingual web site, and that it's a costly hassle, for those maintaining a site (e.g. making menu changes), to do it.

Does that mean you are only going to hire front-of-house staff who are bilingual, or does it mean you plan on having at least one person on the floor at all times that is bilingual?

I think a bilingual menu is a great idea. My Spanish is limited to asking where the bathroom is, and there's a number of businesses in the neighborhood that only offer menus or a list of services in Spanish. I just usually avoid going there, because it seems like if they wanted English speaking customers, they'd provide a menu/list of services in English. (I'm not suggesting a business should have a menu in every language possible, but how about at least the two most used languages)

I'm gonna guess your web design company probably lacks a fluent Spanish speaker. The truth is, setting up and maintaining English and Spanish pages isn't all that complicated. It just takes a site from say 10 pages to 20. Changes made to the menu would require two pages to be updated. If the web design company is going to be responsible for proofing the copy, if they don't have someone fluent in Spanish, they may be concerned about the quality of the Spanish pages if they are relying on you to provide perfect copy. However, if you're just looking at entries like: Soup of the Day/Sopa de Dia or an explanation of the dish in English/Spanish, or your About page with copy in English and then Spanish underneath, that's even less work. It just requires the copy to be proofed by a copy editor who is fluent in both English and Spanish.


^^^I love learning about how language evolves. Another funny thing where I'm from: green bell peppers are called mangoes (mostly by the 60+ crowd). I never really thought much of it because I don't really recall the fruit being in the grocery stores when I was a kid, but when I moved here mangoes were everywhere. I've only really begun to eat them in the last couple of years after someone showed me how to cut them up. I looked in to it, and it turns out pickled mangoes were really popular in the colonies, and then everything that was pickled was eventually just called mangoes. Turns out green peppers were a popular pickled item too (and no doubt cheaper since they could be grown in the colonies), and for some reason calling them mangoes just stuck.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 20, 2015, 06:22:42 PM

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish...

Does that mean you are only going to hire front-of-house staff who are bilingual, or does it mean you plan on having at least one person on the floor at all times that is bilingual?

My priority is to recruit a team for our dining room that will give our guests a respectful, knowledgeable and enjoyable dining experience. Fluency in English and Spanish is an important criterion, but not a condition. I won't know until we go through recruiting (which will start soon) how many members of the team will be bilingual.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Songodd on September 22, 2015, 06:14:18 PM
Keep us updated, Stew. I am getting a new countertop too and going through the same conundrums too.

We visited the Global, Nash and Stone World yards. There's enough difference in stock that it's worth visiting a few of them. As you may know (we didn't), the way the business works only your fabricator can give you a quote. The yards won't tell you more than that stone A will be more expensive than stone B, and they won't even tell you by how much. So you write down the code for the slabs you're interested in, and the yard sends that info off to your fabricator, who will then give you a price. Fairly frustrating, actually.


Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.


And of course the lighting in the yards is all over the place, and won't match the lighting of your interior. So who knows what the stone will wind up looking like :)

I have a call in to my Vermont friend, who I'm hoping will be a big help.


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 22, 2015, 08:46:42 PM
Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.

Not a museum...

One evening a few months ago, I ran into a friend at Arunne Thai and asked whether he knew of a stage designer who might be interested in designing a restaurant. This has led to a collaboration with Paul dePoo, who is wonderful to work with and, at age 26, is not only part of the team that won the Creative Emmy last week for Live at Lincoln Center's Sweeny Todd, but is now doing the design for two Broadway bound shows. He and his young associate, Luci Alpers, are designing a wonderful space for our guests.

We're at a point where everything is in place ... except for a building permit, which despite the best efforts of us and efforts by our architect, Julie Nyman, owner with her husband of Espresso 77, and her expediter, and submission of full blueprints, the city has yet to cough up. It's now at a point where I've put a call in to Daniel Dromm's office. It's costing me a lot of money, it's delaying our opening, and given that we are doing no structural changes to the property, really minor plumbing changes and electrical work overseen by a licensed electrician, it is unconscionable.

Of course, the usual response is, "It's New York, it costs what it costs". Which is code for the fact that New York rivals Paris and Mexico City for bureaucratic inefficiency.

But we will open this fall :)


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on September 22, 2015, 09:42:35 PM
To revisit the original question about stone...

Our designer's parents recently did a major renovation of their home and went with marble. They say that it was the single biggest mistake that they made and strongly urged us against it.

To make a long story short, we'll be using Caesarstone. We might have used Granite, but we want a light colour.

The stone was ordered today and will be used for the bar and all of our table tops.

If you're interested, we've now got a temporary website where people can sign up for info as we get closer to opening: http://swimtwobirds.nyc. Signing up involves a confirmation email, which helps us avoid the many bots out there sending spam, and there is an easy unsubscribe.

Stew

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
Yelp (https://yelp.com/biz/swim-two-birds-jackson-heights)
TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47960-d8507556-Reviews-Swim_Two_Birds-Jackson_Heights_Queens_New_York.html)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Songodd on September 24, 2015, 06:11:49 PM
Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.

Not a museum...

One evening a few months ago, I ran into a friend at Arunne Thai and asked whether he knew of a stage designer who might be interested in designing a restaurant. This has led to a collaboration with Paul dePoo, who is wonderful to work with and, at age 26, is not only part of the team that won the Creative Emmy last week for Live at Lincoln Center's Sweeny Todd, but is now doing the design for two Broadway bound shows. He and his young associate, Luci Alpers, are designing a wonderful space for our guests.

We're at a point where everything is in place ... except for a building permit, which despite the best efforts of us and efforts by our architect, Julie Nyman, owner with her husband of Espresso 77, and her expediter, and submission of full blueprints, the city has yet to cough up. It's now at a point where I've put a call in to Daniel Dromm's office. It's costing me a lot of money, it's delaying our opening, and given that we are doing no structural changes to the property, really minor plumbing changes and electrical work overseen by a licensed electrician, it is unconscionable.

Of course, the usual response is, "It's New York, it costs what it costs". Which is code for the fact that New York rivals Paris and Mexico City for bureaucratic inefficiency.

But we will open this fall :)


Your two birds need to morph into piranhas right about now
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 01, 2015, 10:38:12 PM
As of today, I have been waiting for a building permit for about seven weeks.

I have made two appearances before the Business Committee of our Community Board, during which not a single member has offered his or her name without being directly asked.

According to the Business Committee, I am now going to be summoned to appear before the full Community Board, whenever it gets around to it.

Nobody has been able to explain the point of these meetings, except for one gentleman on the Business Committee who told me that the repeated appearances are about me demonstrating that my restaurant is "good enough" for Jackson Heights. He then proceeded to demonstrate that he had no memory whatever of our last appearance before his Committee.

Next stop is the full Committee. Here's what I want to see. Before I take my seat, I want a list of the members and a list of which members have shown up. I also want every member who speaks to identify herself or himself when he or she talks. If they don't, I fully intend to interrupt the person to ask what his or her name is and why they are speaking without identifying themselves.

These people need to learn some basic manners.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: emliv85 on October 02, 2015, 03:16:58 PM
As of today, I have been waiting for a building permit for about seven weeks.


Hi Stew,

What you are describing sounds very frustrating. Do any of these meetings you are summoned to attend have agendas or outlines that are given to the attendees beforehand? I'm curious as to what specific information they are looking for, if as you say, they are trying to prove your worthiness in the neighborhood.

I absolutely agree with you -- since these seem to be informal, nonsensical meetings without any real guidelines, why don't you go in and set some up for them. I think as long as you're assertive and forthcoming yourself, asking for names and more clarification is within your right as a member of the community in which this Board is serving.

Good luck, and keep us posted! I, for one, am very much anticipating the restaurant's opening!!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 02, 2015, 07:33:00 PM
Quote from: emliv85 link=topic=13527.msg66356#msg66356 date=1443813418[/quote

Hi Stew,

What you are describing sounds very frustrating. Do any of these meetings you are summoned to attend have agendas or outlines that are given to the attendees beforehand? I'm curious as to what specific information they are looking for, if as you say, they are trying to prove your worthiness in the neighborhood.

I absolutely agree with you -- since these seem to be informal, nonsensical meetings without any real guidelines, why don't you go in and set some up for them. I think as long as you're assertive and forthcoming yourself, asking for names and more clarification is within your right as a member of the community in which this Board is serving.

Good luck, and keep us posted! I, for one, am very much anticipating the restaurant's opening!!

We have appeared before the Business Committee twice in relation to our application to the NY State Liquor Authority, and the next stop is an appearance before the full Board.

There are members of the Business Committee who seem to know what their role is and members who either don't know or don't care. Among the latter are people who apparently think that they have the right to decide whether our restaurant is a good fit for Jackson Heights. I think it's a fair statement that the gentleman who expressed this view at our last meeting wouldn't know what a good restaurant is if he fell over one.

We have been given next to no advance notice of the two meetings that we have attended. On arrival, one is required to sign in, but one is not given the names of the Business Committee members much less a list of the members who are in attendance.

When one's name is called, one goes into what is supposed to be a public meeting, except that when one enters the room the door is closed, barring entrance to any member of the public and other applicants who might be interested in how the Board functions.

At the first meeting we attended, no member identified himself or herself when speaking. At the second meeting, we made a point of going up to, and shaking hands with, the members closest to us, which resulted in those people offering their names. Nobody outside our immediate range offered their hand or, when they spoke, their name.

I am hoping that when we appear before the full Board, the members will either have the courtesy to identify themselves when they speak or, if that is too much effort, have a name card in front of their unengaged head.

My sense is that the members of the Business Committee are well-intended, despite the fact that a couple of them seem to be self-appointed guardians of what they consider neighbourhood "standards".

Meanwhile, the Department of Buildings told us today that it wants an asbestos test. Perfectly reasonable, if it hadn't been done before, but the fact that it's taken them seven weeks to ask is ridiculous.


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 02, 2015, 08:10:26 PM
On the upside...

After my first appearance before the Business Committee in May/June, I asked why there was no information whatever on the Community Board 3 process on liquor license applications.

The Board's web site now includes that information.

I also noted that the Board's web site information on the status of Jackson Heights liquor licenses was five years out of date and suggested that they either kill this info or keep it up to date.

If you look at the Board's site today, it appears that they decided to kill this information instead of maintaining it. That said, it might be helpful if the Board pointed out, and provided a link to, the NY State Liquor Authority page from which one can search for the current status of any Jackson Hieghts establishment.

Stew

Our Website with a link to get info on our opening (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 04, 2015, 10:57:11 PM
There's been good progress on what our Community Board reveals on its website (see above).

Here are some questions about our upcoming meeting with our Community Board, and which we will raise in an e-mail to the Board tomorrow:

Will members identify themselves when they speak?

If not, will they have a name card in front of them?

If the latter, what do they intend to do to accommodate people who attend who are blind or who can't read a distant card?

Will the Board, or the Member in question, tell us who the Community Board Member is who made statements anonymously on this forum about our application before the Board? it is obvious to me that if Daniel Dromm made anonymous posts to Jackson Heights Life on an application to City Council, it would be a disgrace. I want the Member, or if she or he refuses, the Board, to come clean in this, failing which we will walk out of the meeting.

If I'm going to run a business in our neighbourhood, I need to know that our Community Board is democratic, public, accessible and transparent, and I am prepared to take a stand on these issues.

The Board has made changes to its website since my initial appearance and expression of concerns, but there remains a distance to go.

Stew




 
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ptbass75 on October 05, 2015, 01:05:52 AM
And if and when said board member identifies themselves the plan is to then...???
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 06, 2015, 07:05:45 PM
And if and when said board member identifies themselves the plan is to then...???

Our Community Board, and the anonymous member of JH Life (who, by the way, communicated by pm, acknowledged that there were problems with the Board's web site, and offered to fix the problems, refused, when asked, to identify himself or herself), will have demonstrated that they are committed to being transparent. Sounds like a win for the Board that would increase the confidence of both businesses and residents of our neighbourhood.

I want to be clear that my sense is that a number of the Board members want to see the Board to be more transparent, and the Board has made changes to its web site that, coincidently or not, respond to concerns that I expressed back in May. And yes, our first appearance was in May, our second was in September, and apparently I will be summoned to a third appearance, today being October 6, whenever the full Board gets around to it.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 06, 2015, 10:11:14 PM
Brooklyn Community Board 2's web site is among the many Community Board sites that is rather more informative than ours, not to mention that is looks like it was made post 1985: http://www.nyc.gov/html/bkncb2/html/about/about.shtml

Among other things, the Board says about its responsibility's to its constituents:

"Although unsalaried, the volunteer members are public officials and are regulated as such. Community board members are subject to Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter ("Conflicts of Interest") and the rules of the City's Conflicts of Interest Board. They must also uphold the New York State Public Officers Law, in particular Article 6, the Freedom of Information Law, and Article 7, the Open Meetings Law.
Access City Charter Chapter 68 and related documents
Read the New York State Freedom of Information Law
Read the New York State Public Officers Law"

Leaving aside the Open Meetings Law, which my two meetings before the Board's Business Committee were not, this would seem to mean that a Board that knows that a member has made anonymous posts about a constituent's application before the Board, and the member, must disclose who that member is. Of course, they can always waste taxpayer money by hiring lawyers to fight it, and explain why they are fighting it.

I'm really not looking for a fight with the Board, but to date I am extremely disappointed with its performance and the apparent lack of basic respect by some of its members.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 07, 2015, 08:23:30 PM
Today, I asked our Community Board to identify the Member who anonymously criticized us on Jackson Heights Life for raising some issues about how the Board functions and the state of its web site regarding liquor license applications, and who in the process of making these criticisms flatly refused to identify him or her self.

I also suggested that it might be helpful if this person self-identified, and in essence asked the Board whether it would like to instead turn this into a Freedom of Information issue that would result in legal costs to our community.

Looking forward to our Community Board's response.

I'd be even happier if we didn't first appear before our Community Boatd five months ago, then again last month, and apparently for a third time whenever they choose to summon us, none of these appearances having an apparent purpose.

At my last appearance before our Board, a member pointed out that getting a permit from the Department of Buildings can take a long time. That's true, but based on what I believe is about to happen, it looks like getting a permit from the Department of Buildings is going to be like lightning compared to the process before our Community Board.


Stew

Jackson Heights Life Signature

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47960-d8507556-Reviews-Swim_Two_Birds-Jackson_Heights_Queens_New_York.html)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)




Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Minimal4me on October 07, 2015, 09:01:57 PM
It is about time the Queens board shows some transparency about processes. Good luck, Stew. JH desperately needs restauranteurs like you.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on October 07, 2015, 11:14:59 PM
good luck with this. fighting city hall -- in the figurative sense -- isn't easy. hoping things start moving.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: kmjh on October 07, 2015, 11:32:30 PM
Fingers crossed that things get moving for you in a serious fashion, soon, Stew.
It would be better for the neighborhood and for you if you still weren't waiting to open by the time the T line finished in Manhattan.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on October 09, 2015, 05:17:20 PM
Among the latter are people who apparently think that they have the right to decide whether our restaurant is a good fit for Jackson Heights.


This is so puzzling. It's a restaurant, not a strip club trying to open next door to a elementary school. *The market* will decide if a restaurant is a good fit for the neighborhood.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ms. Jackson on October 10, 2015, 10:03:02 AM
Among the latter are people who apparently think that they have the right to decide whether our restaurant is a good fit for Jackson Heights.


This is so puzzling. It's a restaurant, not a strip club trying to open next door to a elementary school. *The market* will decide if a restaurant is a good fit for the neighborhood.

I agree. I wonder why Caffe Bene and Emoji Burger (and perhaps others) seem full steam ahead, but Swim Two Birds and The Queensboro (I assume) are languishing in bureaucracy.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: jeanette on October 10, 2015, 10:25:52 AM
I wonder why Caffe Bene and Emoji Burger (and perhaps others) seem full steam ahead, but Swim Two Birds and The Queensboro (I assume) are languishing in bureaucracy.

perhaps it's the liquor license?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Songodd on October 10, 2015, 03:59:58 PM
I wonder why Caffe Bene and Emoji Burger (and perhaps others) seem full steam ahead, but Swim Two Birds and The Queensboro (I assume) are languishing in bureaucracy.

perhaps it's the liquor license?


Things are definitely easier when alcohol isn't involved.  The addictive winery is/was having a similar issue.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 10, 2015, 08:01:46 PM
A bit of good news. The asbestos inspection, notwithstanding that the Building Department has had two months to ask for it, happened quickly and is negative for asbestos.

There's a reasonable chance that we'll get a building permit this coming week. At that point, given that almost everything we're doing is cosmetic, the renovation should proceed fairly quickly ... or so I hope.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up on our website for updates on our opening. I'll send an update as soon as the permit gets issued. Lord, I'm looking forward to it :)

Stew
Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 15, 2015, 06:08:52 PM
This morning, the city approved our plans/building permit. Took about nine weeks, but hey, it's done.

Meeting with our contractor and foreman at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, work to start this coming week.

Our materials are lined up and we're ready to go.

In some cases, too ready. Like the ~30 custom chairs that I ordered from Artistic Frame (http://artisticframe.com) that will be ready any day now and that I have nowhere to store :)

Re our liquor license application, I still haven't a clue what our Community Board's schedule is. We first appeared before the Board's Business Committee five months ago (May), then again in September, and apparently we have now to appear before the full Board, but as of today I still have no idea when. If one is trying to create a business in Jackson Heights, what comes to mind is the dark grey storm cloud that followed Joe Btfsplk in Al Capp's Li'l Abner.

But from the city, we have clear skies, and starting tomorrow we're going to make this happen.

Cheers,

Stewart

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: hfm on October 15, 2015, 09:15:41 PM
You could just do BYO and waive the corking fee if you still don't have the license thing sorted out when you're ready to go. :)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Rhino on October 15, 2015, 09:32:23 PM
BYOB is actually illegal, and could jeopardize his chances of getting a liquor  license
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 15, 2015, 09:51:14 PM
You could just do BYO and waive the corking fee if you still don't have the license thing sorted out when you're ready to go. :)

The better question is why our Community Board has been considering our liquor license application for five months, with no basis for objection and no end in sight. We have already made two presentations to the Board's Business Committee, and have presented it with drawings, etc. from which two things are clear. There is no apparent reason for repeated meetings, there are members who don't know what the Board's job is, there are members who have no memory of what happens from one meeting to the next, and the Board itself doesn't know why these meetings are taking place. Believe me, we asked at the last meeting, and couldn't get an answer.

By the way, Rhino is right. BYOB without a liquor license is flat out illegal.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Rhino on October 15, 2015, 10:18:24 PM
I've lived in JH for almost 30 years, and the few times Ive had to deal with this Community Board have not been positive. Seems like they are on their own time, and are not for the good of the District they represent. When A "sports" bar, with a liquor license and 14 TVs is easier to open than a 30 seat restaurant, from a independent operator, something is not right. Not to mention, their are no less than 6 restaurants within a two block radius with liquor licenses on 37 ave between 85th and 83rd.  Did we really need another one on that block? Just saying.....Best of luck you you Stew
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on October 16, 2015, 06:38:41 PM
This morning, at 8:00 a.m., our architect (Espresso77's Julie Nyman), General Contactor Matt McDonagh, Foreman Vivian Baldeo and I met to organise the "plan of attack".

I'm not inclined to post many photos during the renovation, mainly because things like drywall tend not to be visually riveting, but I decided to post a photo from this morning's meeting to our Facebook Page. The description - "There's nowhere to go from here but up" - is perhaps appropriate: https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny

Have a great fall weekend everyone.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 01, 2015, 07:17:29 PM
Realistically, we are looking at a January opening, but that said I'm interested in finding out who is out there in the Jackson Heights area who might be interested in working with us.

I'm less concerned about experience than about a desire to pitch in to help our restaurant provide our guests with a memorable experience.

We are considering a number of approaches to compensation, including a no tipping policy. Ryan Sutton has an excellent article on Danny Meyer's decision to do this at http://ny.eater.com/2015/10/14/9517747/danny-meyer-no-tipping-restaurants.

We may also adopt open book management, which may be of particular interest to people who want to know how a restaurant actually works financially. For more information on open book, see http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/business/at-zingermans-pastrami-and-partnership-to-go.html?

If you are a cook, it may interest you to know that we are thinking about our cooks being actively engaged, as at Denmark's Noma and Dominique Crenn's new restaurant, in serving guests.

We have made a decision to serve our guests in both English and Spanish, which means having at least one bilingual server at all times, so if you speak both languages, let us know.

If you are interested, please send me an e-mail and resumé at stewart dot wadden at swimtwobirds dot nyc

Thanks
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: wlirfan on November 02, 2015, 01:13:07 PM
Just a small comment on the no tipping policy -- when the news came out, my Facebook feed exploded with comments from current and former wait staff.  The general consensus was that they would not work in a "no tip" policy restaurant, where the tip would be used to pay fixed salaries for the wait staff and better salaries for the back room staff.  My friends took the position that they made more money in tips that they ever would have as a salary, and that by instituting such a policy, the very best wait staff would work elsewhere so as to earn the larger tips. 

Never worked in a restaurant, but the many replies that I read were all unanimous about this (although they all said that the back room staff should be better compensated by management, but that such compensation should not penalized the wait staff by granting them only a set hourly salary).
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 02, 2015, 05:31:12 PM
Just a small comment on the no tipping policy -- when the news came out, my Facebook feed exploded with comments from current and former wait staff.  The general consensus was that they would not work in a "no tip" policy restaurant, where the tip would be used to pay fixed salaries for the wait staff and better salaries for the back room staff.  My friends took the position that they made more money in tips that they ever would have as a salary, and that by instituting such a policy, the very best wait staff would work elsewhere so as to earn the larger tips. 

Never worked in a restaurant, but the many replies that I read were all unanimous about this (although they all said that the back room staff should be better compensated by management, but that such compensation should not penalized the wait staff by granting them only a set hourly salary).

That is an excellent summary of the position many New York waiters take, although some are attracted by the idea of a regular, predictable paycheck.

The whole issue arises from the fact that under New York law, dining room staff (hosts, bartenders, waiters, busboys/girls) can be required to share tips, and indeed do, but cannot be required (and as a practical matter refuse) to share tips with the people who are creating the food that they serve.

Furthermore, if cooks are involved in serving guests, an idea that I find attractive from the perspectives of kitchen morale, team cohesion and guest experience, many waiters will also object, because the cooks will then be entitled to share in tips.

As someone who is opening a restaurant, and has worked both in the dining room and the kitchen, the one thing that is clear to me is that the current system is not just inequitable, but unsustainable, given the cost of living in New York and upcoming changes (which I support) to the minimum wage at McDonalds and other fast food chains.

This is one of the more difficult decisions I will have to make.

I hope to speak soon with Dominique Crenn, who at her new restaurant has not only done away with tipping but expects much of her staff to both cook and serve guests.



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 02, 2015, 06:11:57 PM
I see that I failed to address the waiter argument that restaurant owners should retain tipping but increase wages for the people who make the food and clean the dishes.

This would unquestionably result in higher prices for guests, plus something else...

Given current New York tip expectations (apparently about 20%), waiters would get an additional 20% of the increase in prices.

So where we're at is that waiters at quality restaurants are earning a very good living, the people who make the food and clean the dishes are not being paid a living wage, and the solution some waiters propose amounts to a price increase for guests and a raise for waiters.

:)





Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 03, 2015, 05:53:19 PM
A Jackson Heights resident has just sent me a tweet about a new NY Eater article on Danny's Meyer's decision:  The Modern's No Tipping Policy Is Already Helping to End Its Cook Shortage Crisis (http://ny.eater.com/2015/11/3/9663612/the-modern-no-tipping)

Of course, that doesn't mean that his waiters are happy, although Meyer did say recently that nobody has quit yet.

On a lighter note, North Carolina furniture maker Artistic Frame told me today that our matching dining and bar chairs are ready.

Photos in two Facebook posts here: https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny

When they were ordered, I was concerned that they might not arrive in time for our opening. Now the issue is that I have to figure out where to store them :)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ecowoodlandsprite on November 03, 2015, 09:39:45 PM
I've never been a server in NYC, but I've been a server before. I am completely for this no-tipping policy as long as everyone makes better wages. I lived in Paris for some time, and I honestly think it is better for servers to make a living wage--it is especially better for the kitchen staff, and we need to be more concerned about equality. The kitchen staff does as much work as the servers.

But then again, maybe I prefer restaurants where I can chill a bit, instead of constantly being bombarded by servers asking what I want.  For some reason, I find it rather degrading for servers to have to beg customers just to be able to make decent money. I know many Europeans talk about how great the service is in the States, but in all honesty, I don't think it is fair for a server to make $2.13 an hour and still have the chance of not being tipped at all. I imagine servers make a higher hourly wage in New York, but still...

Looking forward to the opening of your restaurant!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on November 04, 2015, 10:53:21 AM
When you take in to account that fine dining establishments in NYC really are looking for back of house staff with culinary degrees, but under the current system pay them an absolute pittance, it's no wonder that restaurants are finding it difficult to hire people with training at culinary schools. As Danny Meyers mentioned, you can't pay people who just dropped $40K at a culinary school $15/hour (or less) in a city with expensive housing and wonder why there is a talent shortage.

I don't think it's a surprise that many servers would have an issue with potentially earning less money, but if the servers actually understood that the current compensation strategy is unsustainable, they could agree that something needs to change.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 04, 2015, 09:51:50 PM
I've said this before, but something needs to be done about our Community Board.

Last May, I made an application before the Board for a license to sell wine, spirits and cocktails. Given our location and plan, there is not only no legal basis to deny the license, but lots of reasons to support it.

As of today (six months later), we have no idea when the Board will make a decision.

On October 9, the Board's "District Manager" (Giovanna Reid) sent me an e-mail saying that the Board would reply, by October 16, to concerns that I have about the fact that one of its members anonymously attacked issues that we raised about the Board's processing of our application on this forum, and refused to reveal his or her name. As of today, I have not received the promised response.

I'm sorry, but our Board's performance on our application, and I can only assume others, is just inexcusable. Our Board really needs to take a hard look in the mirror.

This afternoon, Ms. Reid finally left us a voicemail message. Her call will be returned first thing tomorrow. I just want to know two things. First, when is the Board going to deal with our application? Secondly, have Board members been told that they have no business taking anonymous shots at applicants? And I want answers in writing, not over the phone.

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Songodd on November 05, 2015, 08:40:13 AM
I've said this before, but something needs to be done about our Community Board.

Last May, I made an application before the Board for a license to sell wine, spirits and cocktails. Given our location and plan, there is not only no legal basis to deny the license, but lots of reasons to support it.

As of today (six months later), we have no idea when the Board will make a decision.

On October 9, the Board's "District Manager" (Giovanna Reid) sent me an e-mail saying that the Board would reply, by October 16, to concerns that I have about the fact that one of its members anonymously attacked issues that we raised about the Board's processing of our application on this forum, and refused to reveal his or her name. As of today, I have not received the promised response.

I'm sorry, but our Board's performance on our application, and I can only assume others, is just inexcusable. Our Board really needs to take a hard look in the mirror.

This afternoon, Ms. Reid finally left us a voicemail message. Her call will be returned first thing tomorrow. I just want to know two things. First, when is the Board going to deal with our application? Secondly, have Board members been told that they have no business taking anonymous shots at applicants? And I want answers in writing, not over the phone.

Can you open the restaurant without the liquor license intially? I know it sounds strange since so many people equate fine dining with alcohol and it may seem that something is missing. Personally I could care less about alcohol being available in a restaurant, but im probably in the minority.  However, if  Maybe the board/community sees that your place  is up and running and doing well they might be more prone to giving out the license. Not sure what concerns are raised when someone applies for a liquor license.

The problem with these type of committes is they have the power to giveth or taketh away and they do not necessarily have to be held accountable if they let their personal feelings get in the way. If you somehow crossed paths with someone on this forum who might be part of that community board, they can present their point of view to he committe in a way that makes it sound as though they have concerns about your ability to handle a liquer license or operate a restaurant.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 05, 2015, 09:40:40 PM
The problem with these type of committes is they have the power to giveth or taketh away and they do not necessarily have to be held accountable if they let their personal feelings get in the way. If you somehow crossed paths with someone on this forum who might be part of that community board, they can present their point of view to he committe in a way that makes it sound as though they have concerns about your ability to handle a liquer license or operate a restaurant.

In fairness, the person who is a member of both the Board and this forum, after taking a run at one of my business partners for having the temerity to question the Board's process, privately withdrew his or her statements, acknowledged that there are problems and said that he or she intended to initiate a discussion within the Board about the issues. Also, there have been changes to the Board's web site that appear to be a direct result of our expressed concerns. That said, the Board member in question refused, and continues to refuse, to identify his or her self, and the Board, which promised to address our concerns about anonymous postings by October 16, has failed to do so.

Meanwhile, we made an application to the Board in April for approval of a Liquor License, have appeared before the Board in May and September, at which point we were told that we would be summoned before the full Board. To this minute, we do not know when that meeting will take place.

I think that the Board is well-intended, and I understand that it is made up of volunteers, but it needs to understand that it is unacceptable for an application to go on for what is now seven months with no end in sight, and needs to make it clear to its members that it is also unacceptable to anonymously attack applicants who express concerns about the Board's process.

I do not need a telephone chat with Ms. Reid, the Board's "District Manager", what I need is an answer, in writing, to two questions. When is our application going to be dealt with, and what is the Board's response to our e-mail, sent a month ago, and for which we were promised a response by October 16, on the issue of Board members anonymously attacking applicants on public fora?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on November 05, 2015, 10:15:20 PM
a question for stew (who'd have more intimate knowledge of this than the rest of us).

i know that BYOB is, on paper, illegal in new york city. what i am wondering is how some restaurants, including high end ones, can flout that law with impunity, even outright advertising a BYOB policy?

not suggesting you do so and not being provocative, but do you have a thought on that matter?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 05, 2015, 10:30:58 PM
a question for stew (who'd have more intimate knowledge of this than the rest of us).

i know that BYOB is, on paper, illegal in new york city. what i am wondering is how some restaurants, including high end ones, can flout that law with impunity, even outright advertising a BYOB policy?

not suggesting you do so and not being provocative, but do you have a thought on that matter?

A restaurant with a license can allow guests to bring their own wine. The restaurant will usually charge a corkage fee (a fee to open and serve the wine).

Less well-known is that if you buy a bottle of wine, and don't drink all of it, it is legal to take the balance home, which some restaurants are happy to do. We certainly will be.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Minimal4me on November 06, 2015, 12:01:05 AM
I did not know that. Thank you for sharing that!
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on November 06, 2015, 02:05:59 PM
i know about corkage fees -- and have paid them a couple of times in my life for "special" bottles. but i am talking about restaurants that do not serve alcohol and allow patrons to bring it in, sometimes putting that in print ads, sometimes noting it on sandwich boards or menus. sort of like some of these.
https://www.thrillist.com/drink/new-york/byob-restaurants-in-nyc
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Rhino on November 06, 2015, 02:48:01 PM
BYOB into a restaurant that does not have a liquor license is in fact illegal. They are risking losing their license.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Rhino on November 06, 2015, 02:52:33 PM
Not losing their liquor license since obviously they don't have one,but their license/permit to operate a eating establishment
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 06, 2015, 11:40:07 PM
Given that I am having no success with our Community Board in direct communication, I want to invite our Board to respond publicly, in this forum, to the two questions that I have raised.

First, when will the Board make its position clear on our application for a liquor license, given that we made an application to the Board last April, appeared before its business committee in both May and September, were told in September that we would be required to appear before the full Board, and as of November 6 have no idea when that meeting will take place?

Secondly, does the Board believe that it is acceptable for its members to make comments, anonymously, on this or other pubic fora, about applicants and/or applications before the Board?

I have now been to two meetings of the Board's business committee, and the process doesn't cut it. These meetings are effectively held in secret, the committee is arrogant, some members apparently think that they are living in the 1950s, and the applicants are invariably obsequious.

Much obliged to our Community Board for answers to these basic questions.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 06, 2015, 11:57:19 PM
Accidental double post. Delete.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ljr on November 07, 2015, 12:02:53 AM
Stew, have you reached out to Danny Dromm about this matter? I know nothing about local politics, really, but I doubt that raising these questions/issues on this board will help at all, and it might even hurt. There are probably some backroom maneuvers or string-pulling of some sort that could help. It seems as if some new restaurants don't have a problem, like those new sports bars. I'm thinking of that place on 37th in the 80s and I think there is another one near there, too. Why is that? Do some people have a special "in" with the Community Board such that they get special consideration? Do the commercial realtors who try to get businesses like restaurants to lease space have any insights into this? I don't have a clue, but there must be some way to find out more about how it really works (as opposed to how maybe it's supposed to work.)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: AmazingJason on November 07, 2015, 01:27:34 AM
Most people are stupid. You give stupid people a little bit of power, and they go on power trips and bully those they have jurisdiction over. That's what you're experiencing with the Community Board and it's unfortunate. You're getting bullied with passive-aggressiveness, and they are probably laughing at you behind your back.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 07, 2015, 01:37:50 AM
Stew, have you reached out to Danny Dromm about this matter? I know nothing about local politics, really, but I doubt that raising these questions/issues on this board will help at all, and it might even hurt. There are probably some backroom maneuvers or string-pulling of some sort that could help. It seems as if some new restaurants don't have a problem, like those new sports bars. I'm thinking of that place on 37th in the 80s and I think there is another one near there, too. Why is that? Do some people have a special "in" with the Community Board such that they get special consideration? Do the commercial realtors who try to get businesses like restaurants to lease space have any insights into this? I don't have a clue, but there must be some way to find out more about how it really works (as opposed to how maybe it's supposed to work.)

Actually, I think it's simpler than that. As far as I know, our full Board hasn't met since last June. If it has, and we weren't invited, yes, I'm going to have something too say about it, but my sense is that the problem is that the Board just isn't up to the job. It isn't a matter of the Board being nefarious (as far as I know), it's a matter of it being incapable of efficiently carrying out its mandate, with a resulting cost to new businesses in our community, people in our community who want to work, and residents in our community.

On the issue of a Board member anonymously taking shots in public fora at an applicant before the Board, I suspect that it is never going to happen again. The only question is whether the Board is going to acknowledge publicly that this kind of behavior is inappropriate,
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 09, 2015, 06:50:14 PM
As a New York and Long Island restaurant, we'll be offering wines from the Finger Lakes and the North and South Forks. I hope to visit some of the Finger Lakes winemakers next week, and today I read a really interesting analysis by Elaine Chukan Brown of Long Island wines.

My objective for our wine list is that it be interesting and offer value. But I also have three specific objectives for the wines that we offer by the glass. The first two are obvious - that we offer wines that are better than what is currently offered in Jackson Heights, and that we serve our wines by the glass (and, of course, all of our wines) at the right temperature.

Thirdly, I want to offer our guests the opportunity to try wines that they would think twice about, or thrice, due to the cost of a bottle.

So today, we took delivery of a Coravin Model Two, an ingenious device that makes it possible to serve glasses of wine from a bottle, over time, without oxidation.

The Coravin is now being used in most, if not all, of New York's top restaurants, and we will be using it at Swim Two Birds.

The device itself is not terribly expensive, but the argon adds 60-70 cents to the cost of each 5 ounce glass. For certain wines, that cost is worth it.

If you're interested, check out http://coravin.com. They also have an excellent YouTube channel.

Stew

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)







Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on November 09, 2015, 10:45:56 PM
i'd say it's definitely worth it. i was pleasantly surprised the first time i tried by-the-glass wine from a place that used the device. i expected some/even a lot of degradation, but the character is preserved quite well.

i also welcome it because while my partner and i will usually end up sharing a bottle over dinner, there are times when we order dishes that are different enough to warrant ordering different wines, and it's nice to have more than two or three choices.

thanks for that consideration.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ljr on November 10, 2015, 12:50:51 AM
At a restaurant called Ditch Plains in Soho I was shocked when they said they do not serve wines by the glass—even at the bar. It's a bottle or nothing. I don't recall whether they said they served half bottles—I just forgot about having wine when they told me no wines by the glass. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on November 10, 2015, 10:00:37 AM
i've seen it, but never at a restaurant at Ditch Plains' level (not that it's a bad restaurant, just that it's a mid-priced, non-fancy eatery). and, not to belabor the point, but a half bottle isn't half a bottle, it's a smaller, 375 ml. bottle that some labels sell.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on November 17, 2015, 08:11:21 PM
On Friday, we had a telephone discussion with Giovanna Ried, District Manager of our Community Board.

Here's the bottom line.

Ms. Reid admitted that she failed to tell our law firm, on record as the Board's contact with us, that we were required to attend the October meeting of the Board's Economic Committee.

Ms. Reid took the position that her failure to advise our law firm of record of the meeting wasn't her problem, but rather ours.

In other words, Ms. Reid's position, and indeed the Board's, to the extent that she represents it, is that it will be at least seven months before the full Board deals with our application. She made it quite clear that she thinks that this is hunkey dory.

On the question of Board members anonymously attacking applicants on this and other fora, Ms. Reid effectively said that our Board has no problem with such attacks.

Just stunning.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: madalyn on November 18, 2015, 08:39:09 AM
Stew,

I find this beyond outrageous.

It seems you've gotten off on the wrong foot with CB3 and now things have become very personal.  Unfortunately, this lackluster bunch can, at their whim, negatively affect your business and livelihood.

Since NYC always claims to be small business friendly and seeks to encourage the development of same, I would contact Small Business Services and ask for their input.  Danny Dromm should also be able to be of assistance here.

Perhaps a petition from neighborhood residents?

Best wishes for a quick resolution!

Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Lilybell on November 18, 2015, 10:08:16 AM
This is ridiculous and I'm sorry you are going through it.

Per madalyn's suggestion to speak the the Dept. of Small Business Services - I am very friendly with someone who was one of the top dogs there until a couple of months ago when he moved to a different agency - and I just asked him for advice regarding your situation.

He said that the City has very little power over the CBs but that they can help if you are getting the runaround from any other city agencies. It sounds like your main problem at this point is the community board.  My friend gave me a contact name for you, with the caveat that there's probably not much he can do.  I will send it to you in a PM.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Crabby_Appleton on November 18, 2015, 11:08:12 AM
Time for all of us to start attending community board meetings. I'll look at the calendar and make the ones I'm able to—they need some kind of accountability. Do you REALLY need their approval for the liquor license, though? Aren't they just suggestions to the state liquor board? They're really shockingly inept and nasty. I'm so sorry they're treating you this way.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: pipman on November 18, 2015, 01:39:47 PM
Interesting article (mentioning Ms. Reid) from Queens Crap on the nefarious workings of our CB 3.   

http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2013/03/why-did-cb3-try-to-meet-in-secret-about.html

Good luck with this bunch.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petster on November 18, 2015, 03:02:27 PM
I don't think you need their approval. This community board is a joke and yes people from the community need to be more active and demand accountability. They are suppose to be working for the community. I might even think of contacting neighborhood media to have them investigate how the community board responds to residents. Really disheartening. You do have the support of the community to help in any way we can.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: madalyn on November 18, 2015, 03:23:38 PM
This is ridiculous and I'm sorry you are going through it.

Per madalyn's suggestion to speak the the Dept. of Small Business Services - I am very friendly with someone who was one of the top dogs there until a couple of months ago when he moved to a different agency - and I just asked him for advice regarding your situation.

He said that the City has very little power over the CBs but that they can help if you are getting the runaround from any other city agencies. It sounds like your main problem at this point is the community board.  My friend gave me a contact name for you, with the caveat that there's probably not much he can do.  I will send it to you in a PM.

Outrageous again!  How is it that this unresponsive, ragtag group of people can wield such power that no other City agency get intervene?   Can they really be responsive to nobody?  Who is it that they serve?

I don't even live in the area anymore but I feel Stew's (and others') pain and I feel like someone should organize a mass march to the meeting, like we had for 78th Playstreet and the proposed expansion on 37th Ave. between 84th & 85th Streets.

CB3 would be better off if the whole group were retired and replaced.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ljr on November 18, 2015, 03:24:47 PM
Stew, I can no longer recall--did you reach out to Danny Dromm?

Re: publicity about the problem in the Queens media, how about in the Times? I can discuss with my husband, who works in media strategy and PR. We do have some connections at the Times as well, but of course they need to be pitched in the right way and then it's up to fate and luck a bit whether or not they bite, think the topic has broad enough importance, etc.

I have not had time to read the "queenscrap" link yet. Certainly this seems not on the up and up. Do certain people get preferential treatment? Does one have to pay someone off? These are just the questions that are coming to mind. I just don't get it--it's because of liquor, is that the issue? Before the Indian chain you are replacing, there was another Indian restaurant there that did serve wine and beer.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: abcdefghijk on November 18, 2015, 07:02:36 PM
This sounds now as though it is a legal matter...

If our community board has caused you to lose money, you have every right to sue.

The truth of the exact situation...what's precisely going on with our community board.... will clarify when it is exposed to the light... in either a court or arbitration case.

The truth will out.

And

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
(Martin Luther King)

There must be lawyers on this site who can advise or help you.

Another idea is to take this story to the New York Times and other media outlets.

I imagine they would be interested in writing a comprehensive expose of Community Boards...for New Yorker readers...


Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: madalyn on November 18, 2015, 09:20:34 PM
Stew,

A friend suggested that you reach out to the Borough President Melinda Katz' office, since the Borough Pres. appoints C.B. members.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: rhydewithdis on November 19, 2015, 09:42:45 AM
I also suggest you get http://jacksonheightspost.com/ involved. They get quite a bit of traffic from local residents and the political class.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Warren on November 19, 2015, 09:45:05 AM
On Friday, we had a telephone discussion with Giovanna Ried, District Manager of our Community Board.

Here's the bottom line.

Ms. Reid admitted that she failed to tell our law firm, on record as the Board's contact with us, that we were required to attend the October meeting of the Board's Economic Committee.

Ms. Reid took the position that her failure to advise our law firm of record of the meeting wasn't her problem, but rather ours.

In other words, Ms. Reid's position, and indeed the Board's, to the extent that she represents it, is that it will be at least seven months before the full Board deals with our application. She made it quite clear that she thinks that this is hunkey dory.

On the question of Board members anonymously attacking applicants on this and other fora, Ms. Reid effectively said that our Board has no problem with such attacks.

Just stunning.


This seems to have gotten out of hand. I do not think suing the CB is feasible or productive.  Dromm could be helpful as could media exposure.  Your post above is not totally clear. Did Reid not tell you of the meeting itself or that you had to attend.  Seems a fine line but could be significant.

I suggest dropping the attempt to unmask the anonymous posters on this board. Don't conflate the two issues. Plus it's never going to happen.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ecowoodlandsprite on November 20, 2015, 09:41:07 PM
Why can't you go to their meeting on December 9th? Is their agenda too long for that meeting?

http://www.cb3qn.nyc.gov/

I honestly don't know how this works, but I don't understand why it is necessary to wait 7 months.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: abcdefghijk on November 21, 2015, 09:26:35 AM
Perhaps during that Dec 9th meeting, the press could cover what's really going on? Reporters interested in Jackson Heights have contacted this forum...You could reach out to them and be present at that meeting ...and they could do some investigative journalism. Remember that folks who do the wrong thing when confronted tend to show their true colors. Fearful of being found out.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on November 21, 2015, 06:55:11 PM
If this delays your opening by seven months or more - something that would make many small businesses go belly up - this is pretty shocking. Especially if there's a no contrition or effort made on the part of CB to accommodate you do to their own mistakes.

If there is a way that the members of this forum can help you, please let us know.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: itsit on December 03, 2015, 07:23:13 AM
 If you want community support here, let us know when and where. How to voice the issues in a way that encourages
resolution and the result you would like.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: rhydewithdis on December 04, 2015, 03:56:18 PM
I'm wondering if it wouldn't hurt to go to this session happening next week hosted by NYC's Comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, and get some advice on how to cut through the red tape you are dealing with now.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 07, 2015, 08:41:32 PM
As some of you know, several months ago a Department of Buildings inspector gave us a Stop Work Order in which he alleged that we were running a renovation without a building permit and in an unsafe manner. Indeed, a few people here were quick, in a earlier thread, to embrace the quite serious allegations that were posted on our front window.

Basically, he entered like John Wayne and slammed us.

In fact, we were making non-structural, cosmetic changes that involved ripping up floor and ceiling tiles as well as removing, with hand tools, vents that had not been used for years. Our main motivation was to determine whether there was an original floor or ceiling worth preserving.

Last Friday morning, an Administrative Judge dismissed the Department of Building's allegations in their entitety.

On late Friday morning, the same enforcement officer showed up and said, flippantly, "so you won in court". When we suggested to him that what he did has resulted, for us, in a costly nightmare, he walked out.

This morning, the Departnent of Buildings lifted the Stop Work Order.

This BS has cost us a great deal of time and a great deal of money.

This guy slammed us without thinking about what was going on and without asking any questions.

This has cost us a lot of time and tens of thousands of dollars. One of the reasons that it has taken so long to resolve this is that the we spent hours earlier this fall at the Administrative Court, for a hearing, only to be told that the inspector had called into work sick. Apparently, we and our lawyer were not entitled to the courtesy of notice of this.

And yes, I am concerned that the Deoartment of Buuldings, and this inspector and his colleagues, will read this and have it in for us.

But somebody has to say something.

Stew
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 07, 2015, 09:55:45 PM
Here are two problems trying to open a business that is of interest to Jackson Heighrs residents, and creates employment, in Jackson Heights:

The Department of Buildings sends out an inspector to close down completely legal activity in order to increase city revenue (in our case, a $6500 bogus fine, which the city will now be required to repay - yes, we had to pay the "fine" up front in order to appeal -, but not the tens of thousands of dollars that this has cost us).

Ms. Giovanni Reid, on behalf of our Community Board, tells us that it's our problem that her office has failed to keep our counsel of record apprised of meetings of my local community board, which I support with my tax dollars, and which I hope to continue to support when, and if, my community board figures out (having met with me twice already) that a contemporary American restaurant, based on French technique, is not a threat to Jackson Heights.






Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 08, 2015, 09:39:27 PM
In light of the Administrative Court's decision to dismiss, in their entirety, the Department of Building's allegations against us, our general contractor will start work on Thursday to make Swim Two Birds a reality.

Don't know what to say about the behavior of my Community Board except that the behavior of the Board and its Director, is embarrassing, anti-business and anti-resident.

On Thursday, I'll be starting a new thread about our build-out.

I can tell you that the Artistic Design chairs, which we received a few days ago, are awesome. Beautifully designed and extremely comfortable.

I think that we will also be posting videos on TouTube about our progress and problems, including government problems.



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: itsit on December 09, 2015, 04:16:01 PM
Wow Stew, this really is a saga. And one hopes that your willingness to stick it out here past the BS will reward you handsomely.
One hopes so. Some colleagues and I were talking the other day about karma and this is something that will hopefully return
to the originators some similarly hefty problems. Are you familiar with the Irish putting "a set" on someone? Setting them
straight and then some.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: abcdefghijk on December 09, 2015, 05:02:06 PM
The fact that you Stew are so open and transparent about what's been happening shows great courage on your part. 

Folks can only operate unethically in the shadows.  And you are shining a very bright light on questionable practices by folks in our, we as taxpayers, employ.

You should rest assured that the thousands upon thousands of viewers who are following this post, members of our Jackson Heights Community, have now been alerted to your situation.  And my guess is that those who misuse the power they have been granted by the community will now and in the future, be observed very closely.   
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Lilybell on December 10, 2015, 12:30:51 PM
Stew, if you are still having issues with the DOB, the contact name I sent you in a PM a few weeks ago might be able to help with that. He has no power over the community boards, but he can help when someone is getting the runaround from another city agency.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Jeffsayyes on December 10, 2015, 02:29:27 PM
Maybe called the the DA or someone. Sounds like an abuse of power.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petster on December 10, 2015, 03:25:47 PM
Does anyone know if there is a way to disslove the current community board or create a new one?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: CaptainFlannel on December 10, 2015, 04:47:03 PM
Something else to be upset about: these delays forced a restaurant to miss the most profitable season of the year in its industry. No possibility of buyouts, holiday parties, etc.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 10, 2015, 09:08:20 PM
Thanks everyone for your support. We did some setup yesterday and today, and our full construction crew will be at work at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Despite our experiences to date with the Department of Buildings and our Community Board, we are going to open this restaurant, and we are going to contribute to Jackson Heights.

Our  current focus is on creating a great space, great service and great food. But there are other issues that are important to us.

As some of you know from earlier posts, I am interested in the issues of minimum wage and wage equity within our restaurant.

I am also interested in contributing to Jackson Heights in relation to social issues, especially homelessness, needs for food, and opportunities for young people.

As a business, we will be doing our part to address each of these issues.

Stew

Our Website (http://swimtwobirds.nyc)
Swim Two Birds on Facebook (https://facebook.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Instagram (https://instagram.com/swimtwobirdsny)
On Twitter (https://twitter.com/swimtwobirdsny)
My Personal Tweets (https://twitter.com/stewartwadden)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: sl on December 11, 2015, 11:13:42 AM
Here are two problems trying to open a business that is of interest to Jackson Heighrs residents, and creates employment, in Jackson Heights:

The Department of Buildings sends out an inspector to close down completely legal activity in order to increase city revenue (in our case, a $6500 bogus fine, which the city will now be required to repay - yes, we had to pay the "fine" up front in order to appeal -, but not the tens of thousands of dollars that this has cost us).

Ms. Giovanni Reid, on behalf of our Community Board, tells us that it's our problem that her office has failed to keep our counsel of record apprised of meetings of my local community board, which I support with my tax dollars, and which I hope to continue to support when, and if, my community board figures out (having met with me twice already) that a contemporary American restaurant, based on French technique, is not a threat to Jackson Heights.

I don't see how a contemporary American resturant can be considered a threat to Jackson Heights.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: hfm on December 11, 2015, 06:29:15 PM
Wait, someone actually said your restaurant poses a threat to the neighborhood or is this just being implied due to the hurdles you've faced?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ed on December 11, 2015, 10:32:25 PM
Maybe not "threat", but the number of times that the phrase "maybe our restaurant is not for you" in other posts by Stew and redge perhaps gave pause to the members of the community board. Particularly in light of opposition to the BID plan for Roosevelt Avenue, most in opposition seem to feel that it is primarily a tool for developers to push established neighborhood businesses out so that they can be replaced by businesses that will attract a demographic that would support modern high rises thrown up in sixth months.
But who knows....
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: hfm on December 12, 2015, 05:50:58 PM
Maybe not "threat", but the number of times that the phrase "maybe our restaurant is not for you" in other posts by Stew and redge perhaps gave pause to the members of the community board. Particularly in light of opposition to the BID plan for Roosevelt Avenue, most in opposition seem to feel that it is primarily a tool for developers to push established neighborhood businesses out so that they can be replaced by businesses that will attract a demographic that would support modern high rises thrown up in sixth months.
But who knows....

Put me in the demographic that would love to see places like The Queensboro and Swim Two Birds open up and also would HATE HATE HATE to see the 1 story buildings along 37th built up.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 12, 2015, 08:32:12 PM
Maybe not "threat", but the number of times that the phrase "maybe our restaurant is not for you" in other posts by Stew and redge perhaps gave pause to the members of the community board. Particularly in light of opposition to the BID plan for Roosevelt Avenue, most in opposition seem to feel that it is primarily a tool for developers to push established neighborhood businesses out so that they can be replaced by businesses that will attract a demographic that would support modern high rises thrown up in sixth months.
But who knows....

So your theory is that the BID (about which I know almost nothing) may be supporting me financially to push out established businesses in the 37th and 76th Street area.

My theory is that my restaurant is outside the Jackson Heights Historic District, that I have never had a discussion with anybody from your BID, or whatever it's called, and just want to open a contemporary American restaurant.

And, as said in my last post, pay the people with whom I work properly, and make a contribution to Jackson Heights, where I happen to live, including dealing with food issues and youth training.

But as you say ... "Who knows?"

Sounds like you've decided that we won't be the right restaurant for you. Which is totally cool.



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 12, 2015, 09:02:02 PM
We made serious progress in the last couple of days. If anyone wants to come by and see the restaurant in progress (may be of interest to architectural, construction, interior design or photography students), let me know and I'll arrange a visit.

Stew
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 12, 2015, 09:24:30 PM
Better idea ...

If there's interest, and when we have reasonable seating (or if we can get space elsewhere), it might be great to have some sessions on opening a restaurant, from financing to space to design to construction to food to hiring staff to training to graphic and web design to social media.

Once we're open, it would be great to do that.



Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Stew on December 12, 2015, 09:51:28 PM
We made serious progress in the last couple of days. If anyone wants to come by and see the restaurant in progress (may be of interest to architectural, construction, interior design or photography students), let me know and I'll arrange a visit.

Stew

If there are high school or post-secondary teachers reading this who have students who would benefit from visiting our work site, let me know. Also, our interior designer is very busy with stage productions, but we can probably arrange a time to meet with him, and I'm quite certain that design students would find it inspirational. His site is https://pauldepoo.com

I'm really interested in sharing our experience with this project.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: queenskid2 on December 13, 2015, 12:23:29 AM
Stew, I don't think the Roosevelt Avenue BID has anything to do with you.  However, I thought your space is within the historic district.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Ed on December 13, 2015, 10:00:23 AM
Stew, this isn't the first time you've reached an incorrect understanding. I guess I'll just have to pay cash.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Songodd on December 18, 2015, 07:45:21 AM
We made serious progress in the last couple of days. If anyone wants to come by and see the restaurant in progress (may be of interest to architectural, construction, interior design or photography students), let me know and I'll arrange a visit.

Stew

If there are high school or post-secondary teachers reading this who have students who would benefit from visiting our work site, let me know. Also, our interior designer is very busy with stage productions, but we can probably arrange a time to meet with him, and I'm quite certain that design students would find it inspirational. His site is https://pauldepoo.com

I'm really interested in sharing our experience with this project.

Why not hire or use a new designer trying to cut his/her teeth or an equally talented student who could use the experience? 
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petster on February 16, 2016, 11:59:14 AM
Anyone with updated information??? Is this place still happening?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Lilybell on February 17, 2016, 04:22:11 PM
petster, the mods created a different thread a while ago for this topic. They got their liquor license a few weeks ago so it looks like they are on track.  Here's a link to the newer thread:

http://www.jacksonheightslife.com/community/index.php?topic=14129.0 (http://www.jacksonheightslife.com/community/index.php?topic=14129.0)
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petster on February 18, 2016, 08:40:33 PM
Thanks. Yes. I'm aware. I guess what I wanted to say is every time I walk by I see nothing happening.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Breezie on February 27, 2016, 07:38:13 AM
Thanks. Yes. I'm aware. I guess what I wanted to say is every time I walk by I see nothing happening.

It does appear this way.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on February 27, 2016, 10:21:48 AM
something was happening on thursday, when a crew was tinkering. either with signage, or on the roof.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: petster on February 27, 2016, 05:24:25 PM
Yes.  They've seemed to remove the front awning.  I remember reading that they were going to restore the face to the original marble. Urban archeology. Should look nice.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: lalochezia on April 25, 2016, 01:38:55 PM
Updates?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ljr on April 25, 2016, 10:25:53 PM
It's been radio silence for months and no activity. I inquired of someone who should know, and was told that there is some sort of violation, not in that storefront but in the building housing it, and the DOB has halted the work. That's what I heard a couple of weeks ago when I asked that person, who did not elaborate beyond that.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: JDinJH on May 06, 2016, 05:35:13 PM
It's been radio silence for months and no activity. I inquired of someone who should know, and was told that there is some sort of violation, not in that storefront but in the building housing it, and the DOB has halted the work. That's what I heard a couple of weeks ago when I asked that person, who did not elaborate beyond that.

Clearly, this restaurant will never open. Too bad. 
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: deja on May 07, 2016, 02:15:00 AM
I don't know, Stew seems pretty determined.  I'm hoping all the issues will be resolved, Swim Two Birds would be a great addition to the neighborhood.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: JDinJH on May 07, 2016, 08:26:50 AM
I don't know, Stew seems pretty determined.  I'm hoping all the issues will be resolved, Swim Two Birds would be a great addition to the neighborhood.

When was the last time that Stew said anything about the restaurant opening or any progress being made?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: dssjh on May 07, 2016, 01:30:39 PM
he's gone silent here because of the many skirmishes, but there've been no updates at all on the restaurant's social media, nor any evidence of work on the space (i live down the block and pass it at least twice a day). that's not encouraging, although i've seen embryonic restaurants go dormant for months at a time before sprinting to the finish.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: lalochezia on May 07, 2016, 02:29:13 PM
although i've seen embryonic restaurants go dormant for months at a time before sprinting to the finish.

oh please oh please oh please be twue.

not likely alas. 
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: francis on May 07, 2016, 07:41:37 PM
Regardless of wether it opens or not, there's a story to be told here. Doing business is not easy here in Jackson Heights and that's why we've not seen the independently owned community centric stores open like in Williamsburg or Bushwick.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ljr on May 07, 2016, 08:18:00 PM
Yet small restaurants seem to spring up all the time here. I'm thinking of Saw Shack and Oceanic Boil (that took a long time) and Emoji Burger and the new Teriyaki take out place that seems close to opening and the Japanese place on 37th near 76th and the place that preceded the planned Swim Two Birds in that space. And all the many, many sports bars up and down 37th. Yet certain projects just seem to encounter barrier after barrier after barrier. Do you have to have some sort of "in"with someone to get things working?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Simka on May 07, 2016, 09:08:05 PM
Yet small restaurants seem to spring up all the time here. I'm thinking of Saw Shack and Oceanic Boil (that took a long time) and Emoji Burger and the new Teriyaki take out place that seems close to opening and the Japanese place on 37th near 76th and the place that preceded the planned Swim Two Birds in that space. And all the many, many sports bars up and down 37th. Yet certain projects just seem to encounter barrier after barrier after barrier. Do you have to have some sort of "in"with someone to get things working?

Do those places have liquor licenses?
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: ptbass75 on May 08, 2016, 12:19:26 AM
I have to wonder if the predominant holdup was a liquor license, which, according to the many posts made by the proprietor seemed to be the issue, had he made a different business decision to continue construction as planned and open up while waiting to get the liquor license would we have already seen this restaurant in existence.   Stew seemed  dead set on not opening a restaurant until the liquor license was granted.  If things had been done differently from a managerial perspective would this now be a neighborhood success story rather than a big question mark as to whether it will ever come to be.

Small business issues aside, I wonder if the predominant problem was based upon rookie mistakes being made.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: jeanette on May 08, 2016, 08:58:02 AM
had he made a different business decision to continue construction as planned and open up while waiting to get the liquor license would we have already seen this restaurant in existence. 

rookie mistakes... or a blustering demeanor?

Stew needed someone like you, pt, to be the face/voice for the restaurant. He made enemies every step of the way.
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: homeowner on May 09, 2016, 06:29:44 PM
The latest: http://jacksonheightspost.com/residents-will-have-to-wait-for-french-american-restaurant-owner-faces-delays-with-buildings-dept/
Title: Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
Post by: Crabby_Appleton on May 10, 2016, 03:18:01 PM
The NYC DOB is the most corrupt organization in this city. The crap they let fly is astonishing, yet this guy can't get a plumbing permit? Disgusting.