Friday, June 12, 2009

The Noisy Bar Down the Block

One day in the early1950s my younger sister came home from nursery school singing, "Davy, Davy Crockett. King of the Wild Frontier. Davy, Davy Crockett. Killed in a bar when he was only three." The record had a different version. "Killed him a b'ar, when he was only three." But I think my sister's version applies to my neighborhood bar.

When we bought our home in Philadelphia, this was a typical neighborhood. Our house was situated only doors away from a quiet old-man bar, a family grocery, a church, and a barber shop. Now, 17 years later, the church has been torn down and condos built. The family grocery store is closed. The barber shop now caters to women as well as men. And the bar has become a noisy gathering place that erupts in fights and shouting that we hear at night because they leave their windows open, and whose patrons leave loudly at 2 in the morning, bottles and cans in hand, to litter our neighborhood. The bar does not allow smoking inside, so patrons litter the sidewalk near the bar with their butts, despite the fact that the bar has put out one butt receptacle.

About 5 years ago, the bar hired a DJ and blasted the neighborhood with a microphone while they applied for an entertainment license. The owner was arrested for selling 80 lbs of methamphetamine. And we called the police regularly to stop the fights. The neighborhood managed to prevent that entertainment license from being issued, and the noise dropped down to its current level. Try to imagine your neighbors having a raucous party every night. I live in a 16 foot wide row-house, 4 doors down from the bar. And in the mornings, I find little plastic baggies with a trace of powder lying along the sidewalk near discarded beer bottles and broken glass.

Now, the bar is applying for a license to serve liquor at tables on the sidewalk around their corner location. They do not currently have tables on the sidewalk. But they have recently repaired the old crumbling cement around their location. I do not enjoy the current level of noise coming from that bar, when I lie down to go to sleep at 9 PM. I do not like being awakened frequently at 2 AM with fighting and shouting underneath my window. I do not consider a round of profanity to be equivalent to "All's Well." And I'm the neighborhood meany who rallies the neighbors whenever a new orange warning sign goes up in the window of the bar.

We defeated them last time. I hope we can do it again. I just want what I paid for -- a nice quiet home, in a nice quiet neighborhood. Not the wild frontier. I wouldn't mind an epitaph that reads,"Killed her a Bar, when she was __3."

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