BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
Community members and elected officials in Oakland Gardens gathered Friday outside of outside of Lavoo Cafe, shouting “no more Lavoo,” demanding the closure of the smoke lounge, which has seen several incidents of violence, including a brawl on Feb. 29.
“With a number of incidents at Lavoo Cafe in recent months, most notably last weekend, it is imperative we take a serious look at whether or not this establishment should have the right to operate in Queens with a liquor license,” said Assemblyman David Weprin.
QNS reported last week that the establishment has been the scene of numerous shootings and slashings over the last three months.
Most recently, officers from the 111th Precinct were called to Lavoo after 2 a.m., on Feb. 29, following reports of “a large group fighting” and shots fired. Employees at the establishment said that a fight had broken out inside but security had pushed the men out onto the street, police said.
Two men ages 25 and 26 suffered gunshot wounds to the thigh and groin, respectively. They were transported to Long Island Jewish Hospital and North Shore Hospital. Police also reported that three men, ages 27, 34 and 46, were slashed in their faces and were transported to Jamaica Hospital. All of the victims remain in stable condition.
Police said that several males struck a sixth man, 29, in the face, resulting in bruises to his nose, eyes and forehead. There have been no arrests made at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
Weprin said elected officials and community leaders are united against Lavoo and that the community would do everything they can within their power to shut down the cafe.
Eileen Miller, chair of Community Board 11, said that the board will work closely with the NY Liquor Authority to have Lavoo Cafe’s license removed and the establishment shuttered.
The establishment at 224-13 Union Tpke. in Oakland Gardens is being reviewed by the Community Board 11 Public Safety Committee this month who will examine the terms of its liquor license, according to Joseph Marziliano, district manager of Community Board 11.
Community members and the elected officials do not believe that the lounge coincides with their community values.
“We need a business that will be symbiotic with the neighborhood and not put children and families in harm’s way,” said state Senator John Liu. “Lavoo needs to go.”
Residents have started a Change.org petition that has garnered over 1,200 signers as of Monday morning.
Additional reporting by Jenna Bagcal.