Protecting Privileges on Park

Living on Park Avenue has its perks, and existing in a paparazzi free-zone is supposed to be one of them. Alas, life is full of disappointments, and so certain Park Avenue residents have spent the past three years contending with photographers, limos, traffic, and noise thanks to a catering company that has taken to throwing fabulous parties in the hood, including Oscar de la Renta's Resort show this month. That event was the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between residents and The Rose Group, the caterers who lease the Christian Science church on the corner of 63rd Street and have turned the locale into a successful party space that hosts multiple society events a week.

Part of the fuss can be attributed to Vanity Fair: The mag praised the church in a 2007 story and said the venue that had "everyone talking." And everyone has been talking ever since, helped along by a young owner, Louis Rose, who says he spent $6 million renovating the building and bringing it up to code. Needless to say, his neighbors have not been psyched about the glamorous hubbub he's attracted. Last summer, a woman parked her car so as to block limo and taxi traffic to the venue, hoping to give Rose "a taste of his own medicine." The neighbors have even hired publicist Howard J. Rubenstein to help make the case that the catering hall is out of place.

"These are strange people in my book," the spokesman for The Preservation Coalition, a group formed in opposition to the catering hall, told the Times. "They crept into the neighborhood, they didn't ask anybody if it was O.K., they didn't come around and talk to us—we found out ourselves, and they seem to play by different rules than everyone else." Another woman, who has had to contend with "traffic [that] had made her miss her daughters' soccer games and caused other headaches" thanks to the caterers, says "This isn't running a hotel or any other kind of business; this is just having parties."

And having parties on Park Avenue is only something people with apartments on Park Avenue should be allowed to do. Especially if you take their parking.

On Park Avenue, the Neighbors Are Not Amused [NYT]
Social Services [Vanity Fair]