• We All Deserve To Shuffle

    Let’s just preface things with, it was only the middle of the week and the stressiness from work really was taking a toll on us. We couldn’t sleep well, we were so tense, and we pretty much lived with a grumpiness plastered on our face.

    Well, luckily, we got to pop into the ‘soft’ opening of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club… And let us tell you, we feel so relaxed and chill! So, strew it all, we don’t need to ever get near anything stressful like work again! All we want to do is just grab a sweet cocktail and slide of biscuits (the puck thingies) across an supersmooth shuffleboard. Really, we think that doctors should recommend this activity for anyone who exhibits any signs of grumpousness or mean face. We really feel like we had some type of perfect massage. We truly can’t explain the just chillness we feel, but we can offer a few visual aids. So, here it is the inside of a complete, sexy looking, mood lit Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club.

    First up… the really cool center main bar…

    Here’s a pan view of a majority of the space.

    Shufflers chatting on the courts…

    The night’s Cocktail list, which apparently are names of legendary shufflers…


    To the right are these VIP feeling cabanas where you can just sit back and watch all the chillness in the room…

    Here’s a shot of the Eastern set of courts…

    Some nice things on tap as one can see…

    This is the first of many cocktails, which made the evening even more magical…

    Here’s another cocktail with a shot of the bartender, who clearly had the best shirt in the history of ever!…

    A closer shot of one of the pretty cocktails…

    This shot’s blurry cause of the pretty cocktails, but we think it is trying to display the flags from all the past/present shuffleboard leagues around the U.S….

    There’s this wall of old timey photos tucked away in the corner that are pretty neat…

    We are not sure of the phrase “Keep your pigeons off the fences”. Is it like a motivational phrase or like something that we shouldn’t do? Either way, we choose to use it as an empowerment… Yes, we will KEEP our PIGEONS OFF THE FENCE!…


    Some lovely people that we played a game with…
    Read more ›

  • Sneak Peek: Royal Palms Shuffleboard

    Well then, here’s something fantastic!

    What you’re seeing ladies and gentlemen is the inside of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard in Gowanus. Since its just images, let us explain how it feels inside the soon to open establishment. It feels… wondrous! It’s like being a kid and seeing Santa for the first time!

    Sign up for the latest details over at RoyalPalmsShuffle.com

    Check out more photos of the space on the Royal Palm’s facebook page and friend them too here.

  • Kicking it up a Notch w/ The Royal Palms Shuffleboard

    Just over a month ago the Royal Palms Shuffleboard owner’s Ashley and Jonathan took to kickstarter to ask for funding for the actual shuffleboards at their venue. Well, it took about 5 seconds for people to crowd fund the hell out of that goal. So, Ashley and Jonathan up the goal of their kickstarter to include the funding for Cabanas at Gowanus’s first sports venue. They super up the anti too for those that want to donate. You now get freakin beer if you throw in some cash. (You can check the kickstart page here!)

    We took a moment to talk to the J-man (Jonathan) about what the hell’s going on with the success of the kickstarter, building a venue in Gowanus, more details on the interior of the Royal Palms, as well as other shenanigans…

    It only took a few days to reach the first kickstarter goal, why do you think you were so successful so fast?

    Think it got funded so fast for a few reasons…mostly we’ve met a ton of great people over the last two years that have been so excited and supportive in so many different ways. These are incredibly generous people with their time, ideas, advice, money, connections; they’re the ones who have helped make this dream a reality-now that’s we’re so close they’ve really stepped up to get us the rest of the way there.

    With the money from kickstarter are the courts really fully funded or is it like just the wood or the frame… do they need painted too or something?

    The kickstarter money is going into building these courts themselves we’re about to publish our stretch goal which will be to help builld the cabanas.
    These are super special banquets at the back of each court-a really special design feature of the club. Hopefully people can continue to support the kickstarter campaign and make these cabanas a reality.

    Is there something else you want to keep offering… maybe the league membership?

    We’ll continue to offer all the rewards we’ve been offering, especially the league! We can’t wait to fill this up and crown Brooklyn’s first shuffleboard champion.

    We’ve seen a bit of the designs, but what about the stuff around the courts? Where do the ‘watchers’ hang?

    There’s tons of room around the courts to hang out drink a few cocktails, and watch the action. There’s also a nice sized stage area for live music and plenty of room around the food truck area to grab a bite and relax.

    It’s been a while since you started this project? What have you both learned from building a new place in Gowanus, Brooklyn?

    I don’t know where to start on the lessons we’ve learned, but maybe i’ll just say that the process is as difficult and fun as anything we’ve ever done. This community has been so inspiring and wonderful in so many different ways. There would be no Royal Palms without Gowanus – it couldn’t have happened anywhere else.

    Finally, can we still wear shorts if you open during the winter…?

    You can DEFINITELY wear shorts to the opening. It will be in the 80′s and beautiful all year long at the royal palms – a little bit of florida right around the corner in brooklyn.

    Bonus Question:

    Is the an official Royal Palm Tattoo being offered? 

    There isn’t an official royal palms tattoo and we haven’t discussed it yet, but if someone wants to get some work done. We think our friends at Triple Diamond are clearly the right Gowanus people to do it.

    Go to the kickstart page and kick in. Be apart of the Shuffleboard Movement!


  • Construction Has Begun on The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Parlor

    Royal Palms construction

    After months of neighborhood bickering culminating in the approval of a liquor license last September, construction has finally begun on the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Parlor on Union Street between Nevins Street and Third Avenue. A gray-painted wood construction barrier went up around the one-story property in early April and interior demolition began two weeks ago. See the above photo taken by Gowanus Your Face Off.

    Read more ›

  • Shuffleboard Debate Ends

    After coming up with a new (old timey) venue concept, trying to find common ground with opposing neighbors, pulling and resubmitting an application for a liquor license, and waiting through another really really long Community Board Six (CB6) meeting, the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Parlor has been approved for a liquor license. At last nights meetings there were lots of people who waiting around through other venues’ liquor license applications to see the finale of the Shuffleboard liquor license debate. Ashley and Jonathan, owners of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Parlor, resubmitted their case for their venue with another presentation that included: all the compromises they had made to appease neighbors who lived across the street (Union Organize), a whole lot of names on a petition in support of the venue, letters of recommendation, a smarty pants lawyer to provide legal advice, and actual local people who were able to voice their support. One of those supporter was a well-known eco-business owner, Eva Radke owner of Film Biz Recycling who stated at last night meeting:

    “Community is important to the ethos that we do…. When I first heard about [the shuffleboard venue] I got very upset, upset that I didn’t think of it first”

    Of course Eva and other locals went on to talk about how the venue would help the community, would be a great place for local families, and that Shuffleboard is a really fun game that they all wished to play.

    The Royal Palms had lots of concessions they had made that included: no roof access, no people being out front smoking or waiting to get into the venue, smart security, food trucks (also not out front of the venue, but rather inside the venue), and closing on weekdays at 12:15a and weekends 2:15am. The closing early concession is one of the biggest because most, if not all local bars stay open till at least 2am or 4am. This includes Canal Bar just around the corning, which stays open every night till 4am.

    The board voted 9 to 6 to approve the liquor license for the venue with a last call a half hour before closing.

    And with that the debate ended. A venue that has been misrepresented by some of the media as a boozey Williamsburgesque night club has finally been able to convince a majority that Shuffling will be something fun and wholesome for the Gowanus and Community Board Six area.

    “I want to go have a drink and learn how to play shuffleboard!”

    Even Union Organized, a group that had been admittedly opposed to the Royal Palms, had members shaking hands with Ashley and Jonathan last night and were overheard saying:

    “they had tried to meet lots of demands… and… the process works!”

    Although this statement may not represent all those who have been in opposition of the venue.

    Ashley and Jonathan of the Royal Palms were extremely happy with the result. Jonathan looked visibly exhausted from all the stress and really was just happy for the debate to be over. Ashley took a moment to respond to us about how they were felling:

    “We are just so thrilled with the outcome. I feel like the system came through for everyone involved. We’re happy, the neighbors are happy, the committee is happy. We had an opportunity to meet so many more people in the community than we would have had we not had to go through this process and we’re better off because of it,”

    We agree with Ashley! And although this kind of community outreach done before a venue opens is unheard of according to some CB6 board members, the connection with locals will help bring business and maintain the focus for the venue, which is to be a friendly fun place to play shuffleboard.

    Frankly we wish we could go play Shuffleboard right now! Like right freaking now!

    Cause everyone’s gonna be Shuffling…


    Bonus Your Face Off
    The Royal Palms not only will have actually Shuffleboard courts, but Shuffleboard table top games too. Check out this super long Shuffleboard table from their Facebook page:


  • Judgement Day: Shuffleboard Liquor License Meeting At CB6

    It was just under a month ago that the Royal Palms Shuffleboard owners stood in front of Community Board Six (CB6) and presented its case for a liquor license at its venue. After hearing from members of the public that included Union Organized, the resident group adamantly opposed to the venue, and members of CB6, a hand vote from the board was taken. The hand vote showed that the Royal Palms would most likely not receive enough votes for the liquor license. So, the Royal Palms quickly withdrew their application for the liquor license to avoid the final vote. Since then the Royal Palms and Union Organized have been pushing for the local community to take their respective sides. The dispute between those who support and those who oppose is not hard to explain. It goes something like this:

    Oppose – The ‘club’ as it is referred to, will interrupt the quaintness of the block with wild boozey people. The residents have built nice homes for their families and shouldn’t be bothered with people drunkenly leaving a bar in the wee hours of the morning. 

    Support – The ‘parlor’ as it is referred to, will be a new venue for people to play an old timey game. The venue will be a fun place for all audiences and will use the money earned on liquor drinks to also offer programs for kids and old people.

    Both sound reasonable and both in a way are both right. The controversy is happening because of zoning in the area. A row of residential houses are right up against a commercial zone, and ultimately this situation was going to happen either now or in the future with other spaces.

    So, Monday is JUDGEMENT DAY for both those for and against the Royal Palms Shuffleboard facility (The phrase “Judgement Day” sure makes this sound all intense and stuff). On Monday there will be another Community Board Six meeting to decide whether a Shuffleboard + liquor license + residential is a good equation. The meeting will take place on Monday September 24th at 6:30pm:

    NYCHA Miccio Center
    110 West 9th Street
    (between Clinton/Henry Streets)
    Brooklyn, NY 11231

    This meeting will not only cover the Royal Palms, but also all of the following CB6 issues:

    • Orientation: Rules, regulations and procedures governing committee participation.
    • Presentation and review of an unenclosed sidewalk cafe permit application renewal submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs on behalf of TSM Restaurant LLC at 524 Court Street (between Nelson Street/Huntington Street) to permit 8 tables and 16 seats.
    • Presentation and review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority and a new Cabaret license application submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs, on behalf of Forty-Forty No More Enterprises, Inc. dba Con Amor Cabaret at 18 Commerce Street between (Columbia Street/Richards Street).
    • Presentation and review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of Inches Wide LLC at 521 Hicks Street between (Kane Street/Degraw Street).
    • Presentation and review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of Duke of Montrose at 47 5th Avenue between (St. Marks Avenue/Bergen Street).
    • Continued review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club at 514 Union Street (between Nevins Street/3rd Avenue).


    If you have an opinion on this subject you really should go to this meeting, but remember that even if things get heated, we are all Brooklynites and each of us really want Gowanus to be a wonderful place.

  • WSJ talks Shuffleboard – gives wrong info about neighborhood

    The Wall Street Journal gets in on the hot Shuffleboard action with a piece entitled Gowanus is Sprouting, Bar One.

    Although we can appreciate the WSJ illustrating both perspectives of the Shuffleboard debate (as we have always done), the publication adds in a few talking points that are just wrong concerning the neighborhood. In an effort to explain other businesses in the area, the WSJ mentions Crooked Tail Café & Sandwich Shop as a business on the block. Unfortunately, Crooked Tail Cafe closed a year ago, which is easily found on the internets and specifically on this site through Google when you type “Gowanus Crooked Tail” (that’s called investigative research).

    The WSJ also decides to points out that Twig sells:

    moss terrariums that can cost more than $300.”

    We are not sure why this amount is pointed out considering that Twig has terrariums from $25.00 on up. Is the WSJ implying that Gowanus can’t have expensive things or are they saying $300 is expensive for a unique large terrarium? We are not sure. This information seems to be saying something, but whatever it is it’s not relavant to the articles subject.

    The article also talks about the roof deck that is mentioned on the Shuffleboards facebook page. If they were paying attention at the CB6 meeting, they would know that this has since changed. The Royal Palms Shuffleboard peeps said at the meeting that they’d wait 6 months before doing anything with the roof deck and said they’d get approval from CB6 itself for the roof deck. Taking from the FB page is kind of lazy when facts have clearly changed.

    Also, the Shuffleboard Club is not a bar… it is a sports venue, so to put “Bar One” in the title must be referring to some other place, not mentioned in the article.

    Plus, in all this shufflingly around… mentioning things in the neighborhood this article (and pretty much every article) has failed to mention that there is Canal Bar on 3rd Ave near the other businesses mentioned with the piece. How close is Canal Bar to the businesses they mentioned? It’s literally right next door to the CLOSED Crooked Tail Cafe. (Also, to be clear Canal Bar is bar one in Gowanus, since it’s technically the oldest bar in the area.)

    Gowanus isn’t sprouting. It’s already vibrant and if reporters would take a little time they’d actually notice.


    Check out the article here.

  • Quick Shuffling Delays Royal Palms Liquor License Approval

    The Battle…

    At last nights Community Board Six meeting, the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club put their game on hold after it was clear the board could vote against their liquor license application. The nights meeting started off  with an easy approval for Bellhouse to renew its sidewalk seating area. The calm approval of the beloved music venue in ‘no mans land’ Gowanus, quickly turned sour as the topic of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard venue came forth. A large standing room only crowd both for and against provided the backdrop for a very dramatic evening. Jonathan and Ashley from the Royal Palms began by providing details about their unique venue. The 17k square foot space would only be requesting an occupancy for 500 people because 7k square feet of their space would be Shuffleboard lanes that patrons could not walk on, while games were going on. Jonathan and Ashley indicated what they saw their venue as a place (during the day) for:

    Seniors and kids to play on… 1970 Florida style…vintage shuffleboard.”

    Jonathan and Ashley also explain they had repeatedly met with the residents across the street from their venue on Union Street. Some residents of Union Street (between 3rd Avenue & Nevins), known as Union Organized, had a list of problems with the venue, which mostly related to the venues new large population. These problems included the patron smokers and those waiting to get in being out front of the venue, the concept of the venue having patrons on the roof, the sound of the people and music, the late night hours of the venue, and the liquor license. Jonathan and Ashley of the Royal Palms had responding to these concerns by providing solutions to all, but one of them. These were explained by Jonathan and Ashley at the CB6 meeting and included having a courtyard away from the front for people to smoke in, having the waiting area to get in – actually  inside the venue, delaying the roof access part of their business for 6 months to prove they were good neighbors, extensive discussion with a sound engineering firm to stop sound pollution, and the closing of their venue at 2am as oppose to 4am. The only issue that remained was the liquor license itself. The liquor issue most likely was the real or at least main issue for the Union Organized group. When members of the group spoke to GYFO  last month and at the CB6 meeting they all indicated there was a’bad crowd’ that comes along with liquor. Specifically at the meeting a women named Rosemary explained that ‘we’:

    have no problem with Shuffleboarding…no problem with [Ashley or Jonathan]….we just oppose the liquor!”

    A support of the venue who spoke at the meeting was Kimberly, a Park Slope resident, who said the Royal Palms venue would be like the:

    Mirror Lake Club in St. Petersberg, [Florida]… like the scene from the movie Cocoon”

    But at the meeting more people who opposed the venue seem to be randomly selected to speak than those who supported the venue. This created lots of tention in the room with many supporters wildly shaking their hands to be called on. It also created an illusion that most of the audience at the meeting were opposed to the Shuffleboard Club. This misgiving was clarified with a request by CB6  for a show of hands of supports and those against the venue. The hand count indicated that there were more supporters in the room, but a followup question on proximity to the venue showed that mostly those who objected were closer to the venue. A member of the board reminded the audience that this is not too uncommon.

    Lawyer for the Palms, and Jonathan & Ashley (on left) listening to a board member

    Then the moment of truth arrived after lots of detailed followup questions and some comments that involved having the location near the Bellhouse instead of on Union Street and a comment about Dinosaur BBQ that is set to open just down the street. A single board member put forth approval for the liquor license with a few requirements. The approval vote include the dropping the occupancy to 300, shuttling people to and from the subway via bus, that the Shuffleboard owner would have to come back later to CB6 for roof approval, and a requirement of vegetation on the roof to help with sound issues. The requirement of shuttling people in was removed after it was noted how close a subway stop was to the venue. A show of hands from the board indicated how this particular vote would go. Only 2 members approved the liquor license under this measure. Jonathan and Ashley quickly withdraw their application, so that the vote could not be finalized.

    And with that the fate of the liquor license and the venue itself was put on hold.

    The large crowd quickly left the room allowing for the rest of the CB6 meeting on permits to continue. In the hallway things were not exactly pleasant. As reporters were pushing for comments, those for and against got into heated argument over what had taken place in the meeting.

    Some of the supporters in the hallways were small business owners in the area and were shocked by the fact that the Royal Palms had made so many concessions only to be opposed no matter what by the Union Organized group. It was a very unpleasant environment until the crowd was finally corralled out of the building by a building staff member. Out front people simple left or moved away from each other to stop arguments.

    We asked Jonathan of the Royal Palms how he felt about what had just happened in the meeting. Jonathan said:

    Really disappointed. We feel we have come up with lots of compromises and thought we had come up with some agreement, but…you know, we are still interested and really willing to find a way to make this work”

    Ashley of the Royal Palms sounded even more upbeat despite what look to be a defeat of their Shuffleboard venue. Ashley said:

    their just not seeing our vision… fear is pushing their opinions. We [wish] we could fly the board…and neighbors down to the Mirror Lake Club…. Even with Alcohol its a really good time”

    Outside Daniel of Union Organized explained the fight had just begun against the Shuffleboard Club:

    many people against are just out of town… [next meeting]… we are going to be stronger and have way more people.”


    So there it is. A fight that is far from over with what appears to be a uncomprimising situation.


    Cake and Eat it too

    What seems a little confusing for supporters and even for an observers, is that the Shuffleboard venue is zoned for commercial use. The venue, which was used for industrial production before, has not been able to get the same type of business.

    So, what is the space to be used for if it is not bringing in industrial businesses?

    This is a question for CB6 to sort out, since the board has kept it a mixed used block, even though a change for it to be residential has been discussed. The issue of mixed use zones in the area is becoming a problem for CB6 because Gowanus has become a popular place for all types of businesses and for people to live in. New small businesses have popped up all over and there has been a dramatic increase in population. It seems like the northern part of Gowanus is objectively more residential than the southern part of Gowanus, but that does not mean there is no residential in the southern part of the neighborhood. In the meeting both the board and the Union Organized  said being down by Bellhouse, which is in the southern part of Gowanus, would be a better area for the Shuffleboard club because its ‘off the beaten path’. A block over from Bellhouse actually has residential houses. There may not be as many residential houses as on Union Street, but there are houses none the less.

    Also, there is some confusion as why some of the Union Organized members are welcoming to the Dinosaur BBQ that will be just down the street from their homes closer to 4th Avenue. It seems a bit odd that residence are fine with a chain restaurant that will need a liquor license and will bringing in tourist population that will be unaware of the quant street they are visiting.

    On the other hand the Royal Palms is being run by people who do not have expeince with large venues with alcohol. This fact put off some members of the board from the start. But the question of what type of person has even run a large shuffleboard venue in a city like New York was left unanswered. The board requested that a general manager with experience be presented.

    The Shuffleboard club also has to face the overall issue of Gowanus’s watershed. Only one member of the public pointed this out last night, but this issue is something the board will have to discuss with rise in population and the approval of similar large venues in the area.


    The battle seems very far from over. The Royal Palms plans on coming back in the near future with more solutions to appease the board and get their liquor license. Only time will tell how this all unfolds.



    Note: this report has been filed by someone who is in support of the Royal Palms receiving a liquor license. This is noted because GYFO tries its best to be objective in conflicts in the neighborhood. If you feel that this report has a bias for or even against the Shuffleboard venue please feel free to send comments to [email protected] GYFO is willing, unlike other media, to post comments or full responses about this piece or any issues involving the Royal Palms Shuffleboard. 


  • CB6 Meeting on Bellhouse Sidewalk Space & Shuffleboard’s Liquor License

    Aug 27     Public Safety Environmental Protection Permits & Licenses Committee Meeting
    Presentation and review of an unenclosed sidewalk cafe permit application renewal submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs on behalf of The Bell House at 149 7th Street (between 2nd Avenue/3rd Avenue) to permit 5 tables and 20 seats.
    Presentation and review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club at 514 Union Street (between Nevins Street/3rd Avenue)
    Presentation and review of an new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of Pavilion Park Slope Cinemas 9, LLC at 188 Prospect Park West (corner of 14th street)
    Presentation and review of a new on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of JJT Hospitality LLC at 213 Smith Street (between Baltic Street/Butler Street)
       Cobble Hill Health Center – Dining Room
    380 Henry Street
    (between Warren/Congress Streets)
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    Click here for google map
       6:30 PM
  • Gowanus Shuffle (board): a Brooklyn Street Divided

    Union Street Brooklyn, NY (shot from 3rd Ave. facing Nevins St)

    It’s morning in Gowanus, Brooklyn…and along Union Street between 3rd Avenue and Nevins, the South Brooklyn Casket Company begins rolling out the homes for the recently deceased; Juice Haven pulls up their gates for the morning rush; cyclist zip by, coming and going from Carroll Gardens and Park slope, some stopping at 718 Cyclery for parts, others heading off to work somewhere in this great city. Down at the end of the block the mechanic shop begins popping open the back ends of buses to repair their engines, while Tessa Gordon’s Martial Arts and New Body Boot Camp storefronts remain quiet, until they open later in the day. From the single row of pre-WWII houses on the North side of the street residents slowly emerge heading off to work and sometimes taking a moment to gossip with neighbors about past and present events. This one block…this main road between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope fill with industrial, retail, commercial, and residential, represents almost every aspect of what makes Brooklyn so unique. It has so much going on all at once, yet it seems to somehow all fits together….

    But all is not well on Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn…

    Specifically, all is not well on Union Street between 3rd Ave. and Nevins. Some residents of the eclectic block are not happy. You see despite all the different types of businesses on the block some residents are not big fans of the new Royal Palms Shuffleboard venue. This seems a bit odd if you consider how many of these residence are happy with all the new places that have opened in the area. Residents are actually looking forward to Dinosaur BBQ that’s set to open down the street and seemed completely fine with Runners & Stone and the Pines on 3rd Ave. (both opening later in 2012) being approved each for a liquor license. So… when one sees the signs on every light pole and almost every door  of the block that says “No Bar”… one is a little confused. Residents want to keep the Shuffleboard out because they believe it will disrupt the special neighborhood they have built. To understand what’s really going on we spoke with residents who opposed the new establishment and to Jonathan Schnapp managing parter of the  Royal Palm Shuffleboard venue. As always there are two sides to every story.

    First, how the hell did a Shuffleboard place end up down the street from the Superfund’d Gowanus Canal? Well, it seems it all started when Jonathan Schnapp  got to do something as an adult he was did as a child. Jonathan grew up in Westchester and for vacation his family would drive 26 miles down to Florida. Once there his parents would drop him off with his grandparents at a retirement home and his folks would disappear to some fancy hotel. For little Jonathan there was two things to do when hanging out with his grandparents: chill out by the pool and play shuffleboard. The time he spent playing Shuffleboard with retirees seems to have helped define his personality as an adult. In talking with him you can feel his layback leisurely attitude that mimics the Shuffleboarding culture of a time gone by. You can even see this ‘chillness’ by his full beard and Hawaiian shirt that he wore when we spoke. Later in life Jonathan got the chance to head back to Florida to visit his girlfriend’s, Ashley Albert (Royal Palms Shuffleboard), family. Once there he simply had to play shuffleboard like he did as a child. He ventured to the worlds largest shuffleboard facilities in St. Petersburg, FL… where sights and sounds blew his mind! The place brought forth his inner child and offer things for the type of adult he had become. As he exclaimed during our discussion:

    There were food trucks…. a live band…. communities coming out and playing together…. it was magic!”

    Jonathan loved the venue so much…and was inspired to create his own venue back in New York. After 6-7 months of research, Greenpoint, seemed like the right place for his dream to take place, but the location was too expensive and only accessible by the G train. Then they found a Gowanus location along one of the neighborhoods busiest side streets. Jonathan says the Shuffleboard concept “just fit the neighborhood”!  The building  chosen has lots room with 17,000 square feet and is close to a popular local subway stop. To Jonathan the place seems perfect for Shuffleboard dream…a dream that now includes: live bands, food trucks that roll into the space, rooftop access, and all the Shuffleboarding one could ever want!

    Jonathan Schnapp standing inside his Shuffleboard dream location

    Things were ready…all that had to be done was to lock in a lease for the Gowanus locale and let the press know…but maybe not in that exact order. Back in April, long before the lease was signed (July 1, 2012), a posting appeared on Gothamist’s asking Why Aren’t There Any Real Shuffleboard Bars In NYC?Jonathan and Ashley had an answer for Gothamist… ‘There’s A Shuffleboard Club Opening In Brooklyn…in Gowanus’! Gothamist posted this news on April 25, 2012. The rest of the press, as they always do, immediately began rehashing the story adding in their own flare, including Brooklyn Paper’s piece that implied the shuffleboard was another rip off of the elderly by “hipsters”. At some point before the lease was signed, the residence across the street from the  Shuffleboard location, heard about the new venue. It is unclear if the presses consistant illustration that the venue as a ‘hipster hangout’,  painted a specific vision for residents along the block. What is clear is that they began talking to one another about the selling of liquor, the loud live music, the people on the roof, and the large crowds moving up and down their street. These neighbors, some of which have been in Gowanus for decades, were shocked that no one bothered to check with them to see if it was okay to put a “club”, as some call it, across the street from their family homes. These residents got angry. One local resident states that the Shuffleboard Club:

    …will be open late and will bring lots of noise during odd hours”

    and that the Shuffleboards patrons will:

    be coming out of the club, drinking, and smoking…being loud…not respecting the neighborhood we built over the past 30 years.”

    Some even mentioned that the venues population would hurt the amenities they’ve added to the street that include benches and large potted plants. These angry residents quickly mobilized with neighbors and formed a group called Union Organized. This group of residents began placing signs all over 3rd Ave and Union Street, which read “No Bar”! Some time past and residents not in favor of the venue continued putting up signs that state “No Bar”, despite the fact that some signs were mysteriously being torn down.  Finally, Union Organized and the Royal Palms agreed to meet. Mikael of Union Organized said his group wanted to give the Royal Palms:

    an opportunity to present their case, and for us to present our concerns.”

    Both Union Organized and the Royal Palms indicate that the meeting, which GYFO not invited to, was cordial. The residents asked questions, while Jonathan and Ashley from the Royal Palms responded. Many topics were covered including the roof access, the crowds, the liquor license, and the noise. Mikael says many of the concerns like ‘rooftop noice’ were met with no immediate solutions:

    We said the roof was going to be noisy…they said it would be sound proof…but that they had to talk to [their] designer about specific sound reduction… but didn’t really have a plan.”

    Others in the group mentioned the liquor license as major point at the meeting. Many feel that the liquor license will bring a certain clientele that’s way different from even a beer and wine place. Daniel from the Union Organize says he asked the Royal Palms at the meeting if they could open without the liquor license:

    they said at first they couldn’t…and later that they could…”

    The confusion of this answer and the lack of details about the specific plans seems to have almost added to Union Organized’s frustration with their new neighbors. The residents want answer now, but technically the Royal Palms just signed a lease at the beginning of July… despite the declaration by the press months ago that the Shuffleboard was coming to Gowanus. In a discussion a few days after the meeting between the Royal Palms and Union Organized an unnamed resident indicated their continued frustration with the situation:

    We built this neighborhood…and for someone to come in and not have answers…it makes us feel like what we made here isn’t important…. We want to know exactly what’s going to be done about the noise…the characters walking on the block…how they are going to keep drinking off the street…[and] what’s going to be done about the smoking out front….”

    Daniel along with others member of Union Organized have additional questions. Amongst these questions is one that involves toilet usage of the large population that may visit the Royal Palm. This issue is driven by a flooding problem that sometimes involves sewage in the area. Daniel wonders:

    How is this neighborhood going to take thousands of extra flushes a day?.”

    Since flooding is such as large issue in the area, we went ahead and reach out to the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a not-for-profit that deals with Gowanus Watershed. We asked them about the increased flushing in regards to flooding. The Gowanus Canal Conservancy responded:

    We do not feel that we have enough information about the proposed shuffleboard establishment and the environmental benefits or consequences of their project in order to provide any comment.”

    Although, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy did say they would be happy to review any technical information in regards to this issue. At some point the venue will have to have a plans regarding toilets and pretty much all of the issues being brought forth by Union Organized members. Since the Royal Palms isn’t opening till next year there is still time for the venue and Union Organized to find common ground. When we asked Jonathan directly ‘if he thought a solution would be found’, he replied:

    Yes, definitely…. We want the neighborhood to be apart of this place!”

    In our discussion with Union Organized members, it seemed like they were willing to listen to plans when they are available, but the concerns regard the roof and the liquor license overall seemed non negotiable. Only time will tell if this disagreement will be resolved.

    Residents houses across from the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club


    Bonus Your Face Off

    check out the residential houses, of which most have not changed, in this 1960s photo on Brooklyn Historical Society website: 1960s Union Street


Gowanus, Brooklyn

The crack between two hipster neighborhoods, home to the now superfunded Canal, the flash point for the new 'Buy Local' and textile revolutions, & filled with brilliant bohemians. . . this is Gowanus & it’ll awesome your face off.

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