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Cops make arrest in late-night Bell Blvd. assault: NYPD

By Joe Anuta

BAYSIDE — A Douglaston man was charged with hitting a 23-year-old in the face with a sharp object on Bell Boulevard early Thursday, the NYPD said.

Joseph Spione, 36, faces a lengthy list of charges after he allegedly got into an argument near the corner of 40th Avenue around 4 a.m. and struck another man on the left side of the face, according to police.

Officers responded and found the man lying on the ground and bleeding.

Police began to canvass the area and shortly afterward, Spione was cuffed about a block away on 39th Avenue and allegedly had drugs and what cops called an edged weapon on his person, according to a spokeswoman for the NYPD.

The Douglaston resident was charged with felony assault, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance, harassment and disorderly conduct, according to the NYPD.

Bartenders along Bell Boulevard were not happy to hear of the violence, with one suggesting the police should focus more on the sidewalks outside the neighborhood’s many watering holes instead of pulling people over to check for drunk driving.

But at the same time, few were surprised.

“There is always going to be bar fights because alcohol is involved,” said one barkeep, who did not want to be identified by name. “That’s why we have some of the best bouncers in town.”

The bartender added that both men and women contribute to some of the fisticuffs that periodically erupt along Bayside’s main drag and added: “Legalize pot for God’s sake. You don’t see anyone fighting over that.”

The Bell Boulevard bar scene in the late 1980s and 1990s is the stuff of legends, according to many who witnessed the revelry firsthand. Party-goers from the Bronx to Long Island would descend on Bayside’s many taverns in droves, filling the streets even on weeknights.

And while some bartenders said the streets are much safer than during the area’s heyday, others said the sidewalks — and their cash registers — feel a little empty.

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