Blue Donkey, Upper West Side Bar, Closes After Irate Neighbor Takes to 311

Esther Zuckerman
A war has been waged in the stroller-filled streets of the Upper West Side. The players: the Blue Donkey Bar and resident Tim Tomlinson. For now it looks like Tomlinson has won. A sign posted on the window of the recently shuttered bar on Amsterdam Avenue pinpointed the West 84th Street resident Tomlinson for its demise.

The bar was shut down by the police Wednesday, and on Friday owners struck a deal with the police that if they ceased business on their own accord, the charges against them would be dropped, owner Jim Goldsmith told us.

"I'm in shock," Goldsmith said. "I've had my business taken away from me by the malicious, capricious actions of a neighbor."

The sign now posted on the bar's front window reads:

It didn't matter if it was children on the patio singing happy birthday, back when we were Homer's, or adults enjoying a beer, he complained. He complained to 311, the 20th precinct, and anyone else who would listen and accused us of drug trafficking among other things.

Mr. Tomlinson complained so much about us that the police of the City of New York slapped us with a Nuisance Abatement case -- it means we are a public nuisance.

Eight and a half years ago in a spot next to what would become the Blue Donkey, Goldsmith and his wife Kim Kaufman opened Homer's World Famous Malt Shop, which has since closed. Then, five years ago, they opened the bar.

Goldsmith said that Tomlinson, who teaches at NYU, has been persistently fighting his establishment and others before it. The neighbor's relentless complaining to 311 eventually got the attention of police and the local community board, even though Goldsmith said his bar was doing nothing different than any other of the other bars on the surrounding blocks. And there are many -- it's actually quite a fratty strip for being located one of New York's central mommy-zones!

In December of 2007 Tomlinson sent a letter to Council Member Gale Brewer, explaining that Goldsmith had known about the noise issues since 2004.

"Now over three years and literally over a hundred disturbances later, do his assurances to find solutions have even a shred of credibility?" Tomlinson wrote of Goldsmith.

And the logs Tomlinson kept are detailed (see below). Correspondence Brewer's office sent us show meticulous records of the hours at which he heard "loud shouts, screams, hurrahs, etc."

Brewer told us that her office had about 50 meetings to mediate the disputes over the bar. She added that Tomlinson was not the sole complainer.

"We really tried," she said.

Ultimately though, Tomlinson's barraging did have an effect, and police paid attention. So there you have it. Want to get something shut down? Call 311. And call them again, and again and again and again and again.

We've reached out to Tomlinson and the police for further comment.

Here are some of Tomlinson's gripes:

Lloyd and Spadaro 2007-12-26 489 and 487 Amsterdam Avenue Noise Tim and Lourdes Tomlinson


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Further research shows,Brewer handed over Tomlinson's personal info to Voice for which it seems she should be censured. Furhermore,it is clear she and CB7 have no geuine concern for the quality of life to the residents. They simply want to make it the meatpacking district UWS.The most clear , but totally non comprehensive accounting of this situation to anyone interested ,would be in  the Times, which quotes Mr.Tomlinson.Amoung other citations,themost egregious was for drug possession on the patio on two seperate occasions within the space of three months.For this, Mr. Goldsmith paints himself as the inocent victim of Mr. Tomlinson's zeal and the 'reckless' of two of the bars' patrons.Mr. Goldsmith,it doesn't seem like innocent kids singing Happy Birthday on the patio of your saloon is at the heart of why you were shut down. A total blight on the community your dive represented is much more likely the reason mire than one 'kvetching' neighbor is saying good riddance to the donkey's ass and cheers to the crybaby drunks who lost a watering hole.


I just want to clarify that of the "50 meetings to mediate" Gale Brewer says she held regarding The Blue Donkey, we were only invited to 2 of them, which is pretty much how they've handled all the "issues"- by leaving us out of the loop!


If you are the owner,apparently,you destroyed that guys life and others in the neighborhood for 81/2 years. That entire enclave including Brewer are very reticent to act and basically exist as a tool for the abusive bars in the neighborhood. That others there might be as bad or worse than yours. Apparently,You were lawyered up pretty good for the time you were not able to work something out with the neighbors. Now,you claim to not be able to afford a lawyer and you try to get a drunk lynch mob riled up by printing Mr. Tomlinson's personal info. What did Mr. Tomlinson do to deserve this? try to get a good night's sleep? he is complaining about kids singing Happy Birthday? What an ogre he must be ,right? You are a freeking imbecile.Maybe they should print your home address and sing happy birthday and drink and shout at all hours at your residence. I love the Beatles> Doesn't mean i am going to sit for them singing on my rooftop Let It Be for 81/2 years straight.For Brewer to get off her corrupt ass and actually do something about your bar,the charges must be serious. She wants the enclave of crap to continue in that area or she wouldn't be so apologetic to your establishment,rather than the hordes of residents who have had to move out rather than deal with the illegal crap going on over there

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