Gypsy Bar managers complain to college

by Beacon Staff • November 19, 2008

Staff at the popular bar located next to the Walker Building at 120 Boylston St. have complained to the Emerson College Police Department about students congregating in front of the entrance during the day, despite efforts made by the ECPD and the bar's managers to keep the area open. ,Managers of the Gypsy Bar would like students looking to suck down a cigarette between classes to know they don't appreciate all the mulling around in front of their door. Students block delivery trucks, they say.

Staff at the popular bar located next to the Walker Building at 120 Boylston St. have complained to the Emerson College Police Department about students congregating in front of the entrance during the day, despite efforts made by the ECPD and the bar's managers to keep the area open.

Though no official report was filed, Emerson Police Chief George Noonan said he would like to see Emersonians respect the wishes of the college's neighbors. Officers have begun asking students to move out from the storefront.

The problem, said day manager Tanya Cavazza, is when students don't move even after she and the delivery people ask.

"If I have a guy with 15 cases of beer, he can't get through if [the students] won't move out of the way," she said. "It's a public entryway, we need them to steer clear."

Students interviewed said they didn't care if the managers were complaining about them smoking in front of their door, since the people who go to the bar are equally disruptive to the Emerson community.

"Well, we're complaining about assholes blocking the street, getting drunk and [getting] in fights," said junior theatre studies major Brian Tweedy as he stood in front of the Gypsy Bar's doorway. "[Emerson] should give us somewhere that's convenient to smoke."

Senior communication studies major Kristen Golden said the drunk Gypsy patrons that infiltrate the lobby of the Little Building to use the ATM are far worse than Emersonians smoking outside of the bar.

"We make compromises Thursday through Saturday," she said. "If Emerson wants to have a designated place for students to smoke, there should be heat lamps and it should be in a centralized location, not on Tremont Street."

Currently, Emerson's only designated smoking area is located on the side entrance of the Little Building at 211 Tremont St.

At least one company threatened to stop deliveries if the situation isn't resolved, said Gypsy Bar general manager, who refused to give his name.

In addition to the throngs of students obstructing deliveries, students who lean up against the glass windows are endangering themselves as well as the building, the general manager said.

"It's a historical building, and that's the original glass. It's not very thick," he said.

Should the glass break because of a student, he said, the college would be responsible, not the bar, which rents its space from Emerson.

Noonan disagreed, saying the responsibility would fall on the student if they had been warned about the windows but continued to lean against them anyway.

Gypsy's general manager suggested students enjoy their break between classes in the square near Remington's, which is where his customers are told to go when they want to smoke.

The issue has escalated within the past two years, according to Cavazza. She and and the general manager have complained to the ECPD several times.

Noonan said Boylston Street is getting more crowded as the college's on-campus population grows. The crowds will become even more dense when 100 Boylston St. is converted into a dormitory.

Officers have asked students to go elsewhere to smoke and Dean of Students Ronald Ludman has asked them to show some courtesy, Noonan said.

The two have discussed imposing a fine on students who fail to comply when asked to move, but no official steps have been taken toward the motion yet. Right now, he said, he would like to see students stop smoking altogether.

"It's not going to happen without peer pressure," he said.

Noonan said the Gypsy Bar is not the first nearby business to complain about Emerson students loitering in front of their entryways. The music store, Steinert Hall, adjacent to the Piano Row dormitory, has gone to the ECPD about students sitting on their steps and leaving cigarette butts everywhere.

Sophomore Alexandra Appel said she and her friends always move when asked, but that the Gypsy Bar is the most convenient place to smoke because it's right outside of the Walker Building, where many classes are held.

"Where are we supposed to stand? In the middle of the sidewalk?" the marketing major said. "It's a city, everyone needs to get through."