With the lights of the George Washington Bridge painting the Hudson River and a half-moon hanging over the Palisades, La Marina felt like the place to be last Saturday night. At the year-old restaurant in Fort Washington Park, at the end of Dyckman Street in Upper Manhattan, two D.J.’s, working opposite ends of the property, cranked up the volume. Patrons ordered bottles of liquor, starting at $130 for rum and rising to $12,000 for a methuselah of Champagne, equal to five bottles, to secure a table on the terrace. Dancers let loose on the “beach,” a sand-covered strip flanked with four-poster beds draped in flowing white fabric.
“The vibe is getting turned up,” Marc De Jesus, 27, a La Marina regular from the Bronx, said with a wide grin.
But that vibe has become a bit too much for many in the Inwood neighborhood, a residential area that has developed a lively night life in recent years. They complain that La Marina, a concession on city parkland initially billed as a restaurant-lounge, has evolved into a raucous outdoor nightclub, attracting the likes of Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio. They say the hot spot snarls traffic for blocks, even backing cars up on the Henry Hudson Parkway; creates noise pollution; and regularly violates the terms of its license with the city’s parks department.
“The crowds are the worst part,” said Terrie Walters, 52, who lives a few blocks away. “People will drive there even if they live six blocks away. You want to pull up to the valet and be seen getting out of your S.U.V. It’s brought an element to the neighborhood that does not fit, and there’s gridlock beyond gridlock, with people fighting and cursing and cutting each other off.”