As Yale students and New Haven businesses experience the effects of Mayor John DeStefano’s recent campaign against downtown crime, violence and underage drinking, no consensus has formed on how to deal with the impact on businesses in the city’s nightlife district.
Three Crown St.business managers interviewed Monday provided differing views on the economic impact of the increased police presence brought forth by Operation Nightlife, an initiative by DeStefano and the New Haven Police Department to cut violence in the downtown entertainment district. Meanwhile, in light of the Morse-Stiles Screw raid at Elevate Lounge over a week ago, mixed reactions have come from students as they decide where to hold future social events.
Patrons and employees at the popular downtown restaurant Pacifico witnessed the Sept. 19 shootingon College and Crown St. that brought a bullet through itsfront window.
Sherif Farouk, the restaurant’s general manager, said the event itself did not have a direct impact on the number of customers that eat there becauseclub-goers are not a common part of Pacifico’s clientele.
However, he added, the additionalpolice presence brought forth by Operation Nightlife will eventually hurt business by giving the neighborhood the reputation of being unsafe.
“It went from too little to too much,” he said. “Police officers were doing a good job before, it’s just the clubs were out of control.”
Mike Porcello, a manager at Black Bear Saloon on the corner of Crown and Temple St., offered a similar view, sayingthat control over underage drinking is the responsibility of nightclubs, which must establish more efficient identification and security policies.
Frank Patrick, manager of BAR, another Crown St restaurant and nightclub said Yale, the cityand the establishments collectively share the duty of curbing underage drinking.
Patrick said that while clubs and other venues are held to a higher standard, the blame cannot be placedon a single person or party. He added that it would be shortsighted for DeStefano to dismiss the economic value of the downtown district.
“For the mayor to belittle our economic impact within New Haven is just wrong,” he said.
In the wake of the police raid on the Morse-Stiles screw, the Saybrook Student Activities Committee announced last Monday that the college’s screw wouldno longer take place at Elevate. It was scheduled to occur last Friday, just six days after the Elevate raid.
In an e-mail, the committee declared that it was “simply too soon to hold an event at Elevate,” and that the screw would be heldNovember in the Saybrook dining hall.
While several students admitted the raid has had no influence in deciding the venue of their respective colleges’ screw, Pierson College Council President Michael Chao ’11 asserted their activities committee is playing it safe in choosing a time and place for their screw.
Chao said Harvey Goldblatt ’72, the Pierson College Master, has strongly recommended an on-campus locale.
“There’s a general sense to avoid any kind of trouble given recent events,” Chao said.
But the Security Council Simulation at Yale, a college-level Model United Nations conference, is undeterred by the raid, and will hold a social event at the Elevate Lounge this Friday.
Dahlia Mignouna ’12, the conference’s Secretary General, said the simulation has had a tradition of holding a mixer at Elevate, and that the club’s owner assured themhe did not foresee any issues.
Amid student allegations of excessive police force, the NHPD Internal Affairs unit has launched an investigation of the events that occurred during the Elevate bust.
On Thursday, city officials met with students and personally collected about 30 official complaint forms from eyewitnesses at the raid. Dean of Students Affairs Marichal Gentry announced in an e-mail last week that his office was also compiling forms and forwarding them to Internal Affairs.
Correction: October 12, 2010
Due to an editing error the online version of this article omitted the fact that in addition to the 30 complaint forms collected by city officials Thursday, Dean of Students Affairs Marichal Gentry’s office had also announced in an e-mail the week before that it was also compiling forms for the purposes of the raid investigation.