‘Party Time’ Could Wreak Havoc In Maspeth
Community Board 5 members are asking the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to knock out a Maspeth art venue’s liquor license application that, if approved, would allow operators to serve booze to up to 5,000 guests at a time.
During the board’s meeting last Wednesday, Mar. 12, at Middle Village’s Christ the King Regional High School, members formally denounced the SLA application recently submitted by the owners of the Knockdown Center, an arts venue located within a former glass factory at 52-19 Flushing Ave.
In a strongly-worded memo disseminated and read aloud to board members, District Manager Gary Giordano stated the board recently learned the Knockdown Center’s owner, David Sklar, also filed an application with the city Buildings Department for a public assembly permit to accommodate up to 5,000 persons on site.
Last August, Sklar originally asked the SLA for a cabaret liquor license to accommodate 600 people, the maximum number for which they could apply. Previous applications with the DOB for a certificate of occupany to have up to 5,000 patrons were denied.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, Giordano stated the community is not set up to handle the huge number of guests the Knockdown Center intends to attract for events from performance art to large raves.
“There is a residential community very nearby, just on the opposite side of Flushing Avenue … problems with intoxication, fights, calls for ambulances and noise from loud music will hurt the community,” he wrote.
Several board members in agreement with Giordano’s memo made their voices heard last Wednesday.
“It’s a blueprint for disaster,” remarked Robert Holden. He later added that he was, “strongly opposed, ” and that, “(there) is no benefit to our community.”
“It’s going to be party time there,” added John Maier, who spoke of accounts that patrons at past Knockdown Center events became overly intoxicated-and a few of them may have even taken drugs such as the hallucinogenic LSD.
In the memo, Giordano expressed concerns over possible alcohol and drug abuse at parties held there. Just having several hundred coming into Maspeth to party could put severe strain on the 104th Precinct and negatively effect police response time, he noted.
“Having a cabaret with dancing, music, an alcohol for even 600 people would put enormous pressure on our already stressed 104th Police Precinct & will almost certainly have a negative effect on police response time throughout the precinct,” Giordano wrote. “I find it very alarming that the owner of this property, David Sklar, has applied to the NYC Department of Buildings for a permit for 5,000 people. He notes in the letter that, ‘this site has not yet been approved for a Certificate of Occupancy Change from factory to cabaret.'”
Giordano also mentioned the influx of visitors to the Knockdown Center who happen to come by automobile would also result in the loss of the few on-street parking spaces regularly available in the area.
In the days since the board’s vote against the Knockdown Center application, several lawmakers- including Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and State Sen. Joseph Addabbo-sent letters of their own to the SLA expressing their opposition to the art venue’s permit.
The next Community Board 5 meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, Apr. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave.