A promotional video that was meant to stir enthusiasm for a proposed jazz bar/restaurant did not ring true to Morristown Medical Center and a condo board, which both requested removal of the movie from the internet.
Owners of the Iron Bar, who seek permission to open the Iron Bistro on South Street, showed their video at a council hearing earlier this month, and Morristown Green posted their piece as part of our online news coverage.
But a pair of organizations objected to their inclusion in the video, asserting it falsely implied their support for the Iron Bistro application.
“Atlantic Health System did not provide consent for the use of Morristown Medical Center’s image in the Iron Bar video nor are we in anyway involved in the application process to the town council,” said Maggie Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
“Reference to Morristown Medical Center in the video is incongruous with our mission to empower our communities to be the healthiest in the nation. Had our consent been solicited, it would not have been granted as we do not permit our image to be used to promote the private business interests of third parties,” the spokeswoman said.
One of the creators of the video, Paul Viggiano, declined to comment and referred questions to Iron Bar co-owner Darrell Remlinger. Attempts to reach him over two days were unsuccessful.
Set to jazz music and running just under eight minutes long, the video included a title screen labeled “Community Supporters.” The label was followed by pictures of the Mayo Performing Arts Center and the Vail Mansion. Morristown Medical Center appeared with the title, “The Arts Are Healing.”
Images from the video:
‘UNETHICAL AND ILLEGAL’
Maryann Connelly of the Vail Mansion board said she was “outraged” that the luxury condos were pictured in the video.
“At no time did the Iron Bar public relations staff come to the Vail Mansion Board of Directors to request use of the Vail Mansion in a promotional video. More importantly, our Board did not agree to be shown as SUPPORTERS and to blatantly mislead the viewers in this way is unethical and illegal,” Maryann said in a statement.
“This reflects poorly on all involved and doesn’t help the cause, it only creates more questions about it,” she said in a statement.
Morristown Green took down the Iron Bistro video at the request of the Iron Bar, the medical center and the condo association.
The video listed its writers as Iron Bar owners Jimmy Cavanaugh and Darrell Remlinger, saxophonist/chef Paul Viggiano and photographer/anthropologist John Perry.
The next council hearing on the Iron Bistro application is set for July 16.
At this month’s hearing, the applicants elaborated on their plans for a 240-seat restaurant and bar with live jazz, aimed at the 30-to-55 crowd. The Iron Bar seeks to expand its liquor license into approximately 6,000 square feet of adjacent space that it owns on South Street. Prior tenants included a CUPS frozen yogurt shop, the Zebu Forno cafe, a FootLocker store and a Woolworth’s five-and-dime.
In 2012, the council approved an Iron Bar license expansion for a Mexican restaurant called the Gran Cantina. The catch: No liquor could be served after 11 pm, in deference to residents who complained of late-night problems from patrons of downtown bars.
The Gran Cantina never happened. Jimmy Cavanaugh maintains that nightlife is essential for a healthy downtown economy–and curfews are bad for business.
Residents have filed formal objections to the proposed Iron Bistro expansion.
The head of another Morristown institution depicted in the video expressed neutrality on the Iron Bistro application.
While the Mayo Performing Arts Center is “delighted…to be an economic engine for Morristown,” the nonprofit lacks enough information about the Iron Bistro application to form an opinion about it, said MPAC President Alison Larena.
“With regard to the expansion of the Iron Bar, MPAC does not have a position, for or against, the restaurant application as we do not know enough about the project to comment at this time,” Alison said in a statement.
Printed materials distributed by the applicants at the last hearing expressed their desire to create “a haven for the musical art form,” and build “working relationships” with arts-minded community organizations including the “Morristown Public and Private School systems.”
The Morris School District did not respond to a request for comment.
Roots Steakhouse and the Office Tavern Grill also were shown in the promotional video, with title slides labeled “Like Minds.” Another slide suggested “you just may see” a series of well known musicians. They include Morristown native John Ginty, who testified on behalf of the Iron Bistro, and drumming legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.
Grover Kemble, the popular jazz guitarist, said he was fine with use of his image in the video. Describing Paul Viggiano as a “very nice guy and a terrific chef,” he added that Morristown “needs a real hip restaurant club.”
Correspondent Berit Ollestad contributed to this story.