No liquor license for the Knockdown Center just yet
by Holly Bieler
May 12, 2015 | 5352 views | 0 0 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Knockdown Center’s years-long fight to serve alcohol will pick up again in June, after the State Liquor Authority passed on a vote to grant a liquor license during a recertification hearing on May 5.

The petition will now go back to Community Board 5 for discussions and a vote during their board meeting on May 13, after which it will be considered by the SLA during its June 2nd hearing.

The vote comes after Community Board 5 and the SLA voted against the Knockdown Center’s application for a liquor permit last May, citing wide community opposition, including CB5’s unanimous vote against granting the license in March 2014.

“We’ve not changed from being opposed to the granting of the liquor license,” said CB5 district manager Gary Giordano this week.

Ahead of the May hearing, Giordano wrote a letter to SLA commissioners Jeanique Greene and Kevin Kim on behalf of CB5, explaining their opposition to the permits. Among the board’s reasons against issuing the license, the board cited lack of on-site parking, the potential for young attendees to abuse alcohol and controlled substances at the venue, and the strain of large events on the 104th precinct. The letter also states that CB5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri had recently made a site visit to the center, and that he advised that the site safety plan was not adequate to accommodate large events.

“Having even 1,000 patrons, especially under the influence of alcohol, at this location would be unreasonable for the nearby residential community,” the letter said.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan also wrote a letter to SLA commissioners voicing her strong opposition to the permits.

Nolan also cited a number of reservations with granting the center a license, including the lack of transportation options around the facility, which is located on Flushing Avenue in Maspeth.

With the center applying to have as many as 5,000 people are their events, Nolan said events at the center could tax Maspeth’s limited public transit.

“This could lead to hundreds and possibly thousands of people coming into our neighborhood at all hours of the night,” she said. “With only three bus lines and a considerable distance from the train, the added volume of people will further strain the already limited transportation options residents have in Maspeth.”

She also said that her office had already received numerous complaints from constituents following one such event last year, a concert featuring Deadmau5 in November 2014.

“Throughout the night, there were both large crowds present, customers sitting on stoops of nearby homes and allegedly public urination in the streets,” she said.

“My views on this topic have not changed and I still continue to have very serious concerns in regard to this business receiving a full liquor license,” she added.

But in an article for this paper about the Deadmau5 concert and subsequent complaints, then-104th Precinct Captain Christopher Manson called the complaints “gross exaggerations” of the actual situation.

“It was the most orderly concert that I’ve ever handled in my 27 years with the NYPD,” Manson told this paper in November. “I wish every restaurant or bar I have in my precinct was half as professional as they are.”

A representative for Knockdown Center declined to comment on the SLA's latest decision to postpone the vote.

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