Thursday, April 17, 2008

1990 Letter from Restaurant to Residents Acknowledges and Apologizes for "Inconvenience" of Late-night Noise

While the Metro Police and others have suggested that late-night amplified music has always been an embraced norm of the neighborhood around The Bound'ry restaurant, there is even more evidence from the past that suggests otherwise.

I have obtained a copy of a letter dated May 21, 1990, in which the president of the company (Low Country Associates, Inc.) owning Third Coast Cafe, the restaurant that stood on the property on which The Bound'ry currently sits, writes to nearby residents:

We the management, staff and entertainers at Third Coast Cafe hereby commit to the following live entertainment schedule, effective immediately:

Monday thru Thursday evenings outdoor live entertainment hours will be 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday evenings outdoor live entertainment hours will be 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience which our schedule may have caused in the past, and we look forward to a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship with you in the future.

John H. Tunstall, Jr.

If late-night amplified music has always been an accepted and ordinary event in the Midtown neighborhood, then why would this restaurant CEO be publicly apologizing and restricting his commercial hours?

If you are keeping score at home, so far we have evidence of Midtown neighbors expressing opposition to amplified music in the 1970s, in the 1980s, in the 1990s, and at the present. The real question is not whether current residents should stop complaining and accept a mythic history of late-night music in Midtown. The real question is whether there has ever been a time when the neighborhood expressed actual contentment with and acceptance of a late-night commercial music venue that projected sound more than 100 feet past its boundaries. Where is the evidence that such a time ever existed? I have yet to see it.


  1. Just because there are a few complaints every decade does not mean that there is a "serious issue". People complain all the time,...about EVERYTHING! I can't vouch for anything pre 1990, but for the last ten years, Midtown has been the place to be after midnight. Downtown was for the tourist, midtown was for the locals. Uptown Mix was held in the parking lot in front of what is now the Adelacia for goodness sakes! How do you or anyone else know if the complaints were even from someone with legitimate concerns or if was someone like our lovely neighbor, Ida, that called the police night after night about a "disturbance". Bottom line, its urban living not suburbia! People need to just get used to the damn noise.

  2. How do I know? I look into these problems and do some research before I express my opinion on them, rather than basing my view on a good time I had bar-hopping in the 1990s. I don't assume that just because I visit their neighborhood and listen to loud music after midnight the neighbors are happy with it. I ask questions and look at the history rather than make assumptions strictly on my own recreational experience.

    There are people who lived in Midtown in the last few decades who have expressed views of the amplification that defy this whole pro-Bound'ry meme ("people who live there accept it"). Every stone I turn over seems to expose disenchantment with amplification; and what stones are you turning over? But turnabout is fair play: should you just accept youth gangs or an awful stench from the wastewater treatment plant because you choose to live in Salemtown? Or must you be labeled as content with it because it exists and you live there? What exactly would qualify as a legitimate excuse to you? The reasons I've been reading are parents who have to have kids at school early the next day; people who have to be at work early the next day; students who have to study or get sleep so that they can take exams. Did you even read the excerpts of the 1979 injunction? Are those not good enough for you? It's not fair for you to label concerned midtown residents as chronic complainers when you aren't even bothering to look into their reasons.

    What you really seem to be suggesting is not that "midtown is for locals," but that "midtown is for the locals who don't actually live in midtown," namely for people more like you. In the end this doesn't have to do with living with noise. It has to do with exactly what the police found out: the Bound'ry falls outside of an entertainment zoning that would allow them to amplify their music loud enough to be heard 100 feet away. They've been breaking the law for over a decade, and that seems to be okay with you, but then again, you don't have to live with the breakage.