O.M.G.! Now on the menu at God’s Love: Roof parties

Revelers mingling among the mannequins and enjoying the “Party on 5” space at God’s Love We Deliver on Sept. 10 during Fashion Week. One man took in the view above them from “The Roof.”  Photos by Harry Pincus

Revelers mingling among the mannequins and enjoying the “Party on 5” space at God’s Love We Deliver on Sept. 10 during Fashion Week. One man took in the view above them from “The Roof.” Photos by Harry Pincus

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  | The new God’s Love We Deliver building had already been a visual assault to the sensibilities of Soho illustrator Harry Pincus. Its aluminum-tile cladding reflects the bright sunlight across Spring St. right into his family’s fifth-floor apartment — and it’s only been getting worse since the meals provider’s expanded headquarters opened this summer.

“By now, we are living behind closed curtains 24/7,” Pincus said. “I bravely opened the curtains to see what the afternoon light was like in the fall, but it’s impossible to keep them open.

“The glare off of the aluminum siding is truly blinding. People stand on the street and just marvel at it. Looking out my window is like looking directly at the sun. A few seconds of exposure would literally be blinding.”

Further infuriating neighbor Harry Pincus, partiers at the mixer-amid-the-mannequins at God’s Love We Deliver waved and smiled at him as tunes pumped out from the Fashion Week event at “Party on 5,” the new building’s indoor / outdoor party space, which is available until 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Further infuriating neighbor Harry Pincus, partiers at the mixer-amid-the-mannequins at God’s Love We Deliver waved and smiled at him as tunes pumped out from the Fashion Week event at “Party on 5,” the new building’s indoor / outdoor party space, which is available until 10 p.m. seven days a week.

The $28 million G.L.W.D. project — completed in a year and a half — transformed the nonprofit organization’s former building, a squat, two-story, 60-year-old structure, into a gleaming new five-story facility, more than doubling its space to 48,000 square feet.

Adding to Pincus’s dismay, though, on top of the visual nuisance, the building has now also become an aural headache for him and other Soho residents, to hear him tell it. In short, God’s Love is renting out its fifth floor, which features an outdoor terrace, and also its roof for special events, with amplified music.

On Oct. 10, G.L.W.D. hosted a “disco event” on its fifth floor, according to Pincus. At least the music sounded like disco to him — and he and others could definitely hear it. He forwarded video clips he filmed of the bash, with songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night” blaring out from the building.

There was another event there on Sept. 15. The guests mingled among mannequins, apparently a design touch for Fashion Week. As an annoyed Pincus shot photos of the revelry, some of the people waved back at him, which he said was “creepier than the mannequins.”

Although Pincus is known for his outspokenness, it’s not just him who has been bothered by the volume from the G.L.W.D. building. According to him, his friend, Alan Messer — who is known as “Johnny Cash’s photographer” — was visiting from Nashville on Oct. 10 and went out to dinner nearby on West Broadway, where he was surprised that he could hear the music from God’s Love, three blocks away on Sixth Ave.

“On Saturday night, Alan and I had been having a lot of fun talking about his life on tour with the Man in Black, when the mayhem interrupted us,” Pincus related. “Then he had to leave for a dinner date, and called me a few minutes later from the restaurant, which was several blocks away, to report that the noise from G.L.W.D. was disturbing the diners inside! He couldn’t believe the goings-on.

“There are small children, as well as elderly and ill people on our block,” Pincus said. “They shouldn’t be subjected to this.”

God’s Love’s free meals — it cooks 5,000 a day — are sent to those who are seriously ill, suffering from AIDS, cancer and a variety of other serious diseases. The feel-good, volunteer-fueled organization is supported by many high-powered New Yorkers in design, fashion and entertainment, from Michael Kors, whose name graces the new building, to Anna Wintour and the late Joan Rivers, for whom the God’s Love bakery is named.

But longtime Soho residents — Pincus has been there since 1975 — while largely dismissive of the glitz, can’t ignore the noise.

Pincus said “Cozi” Schwartz, 87, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1940s, where she is a familiar sight with her dog, Duke, reported that her friend Diane Mendez, who lives in a loft blocks away on West Broadway, also was disturbed by the loud music.

“Richie Gamba, my 78-year-old friend who is often called ‘The Mayor of Spring St.’ lives next door at 203 Spring St., and is practically apoplectic about all of this,” Pincus added.

“A monster sound system has been installed,” the artist said, “and the use of this weapon is absolutely despicable. The people who are running this operation are fully aware of what they are doing. They are advertising it in brochures.

Pincus discovered that God’s Love is advertising the spaces online as available for “special events” seven days a week.

The 2,600-square-foot rooftop, a.k.a. “The Roof,” billed as having a capacity of 230 people for cocktails, or 18 seated, rents for $8,000 for corporate or private events or $4,000 for nonprofit events.

The fifth floor, or “Party on 5,” which has 1,280 square feet of indoor space and 2,100 of outdoor terrace space, also has a 230-person capacity for cocktails, or 90 seated inside, plus 60 seated outside, with the same rates as the roof.

And a roof-plus-fifth floor combo is advertised for $12,000 private/corporate or $6,000 nonprofit.

The available hours are listed as 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For weekend events, an extra $2,500 is tacked on.

“Meetings and special events only. Fundraisers are not permitted,” the site states.

“The Roof” is marketed as providing “a premier private event destination in Manhattan’s Soho district. With breathtaking city views…and an open air herb garden, The Roof is a luxurious and lush setting for your next celebration. … The easily accessible Soho location is ideal for social or corporate functions of all occasions.”

With its combination of indoor and outdoor space, “Party on 5,” meanwhile, is described on the Web page as “perfect for any special event, combining state-of-the-art sound and light technology and stunning Soho views. … God’s Love We Deliver is the perfect venue to host corporate functions, fashion shows or weddings.”

There is also a luncheon or breakfast rental for the fifth floor, a.k.a. “Meeting on 5” — with “100 seated classroom style,” inside the fifth floor — from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for $4,000 private/corporate or $2,000 nonprofit.

Pincus said Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, told him that even though G.L.W.D. doesn’t have a liquor license, they are likely getting around this by having the events’ caterers obtain liquor licenses on a case-by-case basis.

Tobi Bergman, chairperson of Community Board 2, said the board did not know G.L.W.D. would be using its building for open-air evening parties with amplified music.

“This looks like an event business and it comes as a complete surprise,” Bergman said. “C.B. 2 supported the controversial expansion because we were told the purpose was to provide space for the group’s operations to serve more people. Rooftop parties always cause a nuisance in a residential area, and that’s just not acceptable. That said, we look forward to bringing the neighbors together with God’s Love We Deliver to assure their future ability to use their building productively without causing disturbance.”

The “controversial” aspect of the G.L.W.D. construction project that Bergman referred to was the organization’s selling of $6 million worth of its air rights to an adjacent luxury residential development. Neighbors who opposed both projects protested that because a deed restriction on the God’s Love property — which was formerly a city-owned library — mandates community use, the development rights could not then be transferred for a private, market-rate use. But Karen Pearl, God’s Love’s executive director, said the deed didn’t cover air rights.

However, Bergman said the only discussion of outdoor use that G.L.W.D. presented to the board during the project’s public review was that neighbors from the new residential building would technically have access to the meals provider’s rooftop — which, in turn, helped fulfill the residential project’s open-space requirement.

As reported by The Villager in April, in the case of the new Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort St., the museum was upfront about the use of its outdoor terraces for events, and the community was intimately involved in the discussions. Ultimately, local activists Elaine Young and Zack Winestine negotiated what Young called “a very complicated S.L.A. agreement” with the Whitney, under which there will only be six events with amplified sound on the terraces per year. The State Liquor Authority approved the stipulations, according to Young.

In a statement, a God’s Love spokesperson said, “From the first day and throughout the application process, we informed the public that we have a multipurpose space that can accommodate a variety of functions, including educational, volunteer recognition, staff, fundraising and donor cultivation events. We will continue to ensure that we and all those using the space comply with applicable ordinances and regulations moving forward.”

According to a source, God’s Love — despite its pitches for the spaces’ use on its Web site — does not envision they will be used that heavily, mainly due to the cost.

“The pricing is such that it won’t be hosting that many events,” the source said. “The idea is for the space to provide very limited events. They’ve made it available to some nonprofits already for free. A few smaller nonprofit receptions have already taken place, like two or three.”

However, Pincus will believe that when he sees — or rather, hears, or doesn’t hear — it, and is ready to take action, if needed.

“If this big noise is not silenced, I will make plenty of noise myself in the name of this community,” he vowed. “I’m not going to be driven out of my home by these people, and we will band together to take legal action if the press and pols don’t care.”

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