New York Wine Bar Riposo 72 Faces Backlash from Neighborhood Residents Because of “Internet People”

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Talk about the neighbors from hell: Upper West Side wine bar Riposo 72 currently has a whole bunch of its community residents after its head, purely because it wants to open… a sidewalk café. What’s so bad about a sidewalk café, you might ask? Booze, of course. Naughty, naughty booze. Do the residents have some weird sort of grudge against brunch? I guess so, because the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous.

Here’s the deal: Riposo 72, which is located on West 72nd Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West, had its sidewalk café approved in August; it’s now looking to extend its liquor license such that it will be able to serve beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks in its newly-acquired sidewalk seating. Residents in the neighborhood, however, aren’t happy about this development. Here are a few of their reasons for wanting to shut down Riposo 72, according to DNA Info:

  • It’s going to attract “Internet People.” Said one resident, “I have seen people say, ‘I met you on the Internet,’ and you’re putting that on the sidewalk? I don’t want children walking near ‘Internet people’ meeting.” Not unrelated is point number two:
  • “Internet People” are evil. In response to a board member asking, “Have you ever gone to any of the sidewalk cafes in the neighborhood? Do you find them all rowdy and people staggering out of them all the time?”, another resident said he wouldn’t know because, “I don’t go out to meet people I found on the Internet.”
  • Ugh, college students. To be fair, college students can be kind of obnoxious, and yes, Fordham is nearby. But not all college students are party animals, and while we're on the subject, Riposo 72 doesn’t exactly look like a college hangout (more on that soon).
  • Immorality! Immorality... everywhere! Another resident is convinced sidewalk cafés herald the beginning of the end: “This is how it happens,” she said. “Once you have a cafe serving drinks on the street, then you have a precedent." First a sidewalk café! Then young people! Then “artists!” Then recreational drug use and wanton sex! Then THE APOCALYPSE!

Seriously, you guys. It reads like an article on The Onion, except that it’s 100 percent, horrifyingly real.

The neighborhood calls itself a “bedroom community” — but I’m not totally sure that’s an accurate description. Bedroom communities are generally suburban towns located near, but not in, major cities. The term refers to the fact that people live in the area, but don’t work there — the “bedroom” part of the phrase implies that the community’s residents don’t do anything but sleep in it. Not only that, but the main selling point of bedroom communities is that they provide affordable housing within easy commuting distance for people who might work in the city, but find themselves priced out of apartments or other housing options located directly in said city. Given that, according to current real estate listings, studio apartments located on 72nd and Columbus run $2,300 a month… Well, I’m not exactly sure I’d call that “affordable.”

It’s unlikely, therefore, that the kind of patron the neighbors are afraid of would frequent an area that’s so pricey. There are already a variety of wine bars and other similar establishments in the area, and none of them are exactly known for their out-of-control customers. Also, this is what Riposo 72’s website looks like:

Does that look like a wild club full of crazy people? Does it look like a rowdy sports bar full of drunken fans? No. No it does not.

The weirdest thing of all, though, is that dig at “Internet people.” None of the residents’ ages are listed, but the outdated views combined with a reference to one them having lived in the area for 50 years makes me think we’re dealing with a lot of really old folk. But not the nice, kindly, still spunky but also wise and awesome sort — these are the crotchety, “I don’t see why anything should ever have to change, so I’m going to dig my heels into my weird prejudices for all I’m worth” sort. I really hope that when I get to be an old fogey myself, I’m still hip enough to be able to move with the times. Rule number one for being a human: Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s bad. And it's true no matter how old or young you are.

The community board ultimately recommended approving Riposo 72’s license; the application goes before the State Liquor Authority on October 7 for a final decision. Fingers crossed they get it, because you know what? It looks like a classy place, and I’d love to go enjoy a glass of wine outside on a nice day there.

Images: Robert S. Donovan/Flickr; GifVault; MRWGifs