Councilman Costa Constantinides has called on the state to revoke the liquor license of a “problematic” Steinway Street bar and lounge, after weeks of crowded bars have garnered a number of social distancing and noise complaints from his constituents.
The Astoria councilman, a survivor of COVID-19, released a statement over the weekend saying “enough is enough,” calling on state agencies tasked to handle these issues to actually address them.
Videos of Saturday night’s Steinway Street show police were present as the parties ensued.
Constantinides asked the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) to revoke the on-premise liquor license of Melody Cafe and Restaurant, a bar and lounge located at 25-95 Steinway St.
“This location has been in business for quite some time and over the years it has grown to be evermore problematic causing more quality-of-life issues, especially in terms of violent incidents amongst patrons,” Constantinides wrote in a letter to SLA.
The councilman cited 11 911 calls for incidents that include assault, disputes, and forcible touching at Melody since July of 2019, as well as a reported shooting incident in March of 2019 outside of the location.
“It’s clear that this business has failed in maintaining safety and has become a magnet for bad actors,” he wrote. “Moreover, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the location has become problematic to neighbors in terms of noise and large crowds that flout social distancing rules.”
There have been 22 311 service requests in recent months regarding those complaints, according to his letter.
QNS reached out to Melody Cafe and Restaurant several times for comment but was directed to a voicemail that is not set up. QNS is also awaiting response from SLA regarding the councilman’s letter.
Prior to this call, Constantinides previously called on SLA to suspend M.I.A. at 27-35 21st St. due to 81 311 complaints of disorderly conduct dating back to July 2019 and a reported shooting outside of the establishment. On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced M.I.A. was among two Astoria bars and one pizza restaurant in Maspeth that got their licenses indefinitely suspended.
Cuomo’s response to businesses that fail to control their environment is to take away their liquor license, which cost $4,300 per year.
On Tuesday, he said, “The bad operators will make it worse for themselves and for the good operators. I’ve spoken to many operators who are doing the right thing and playing by the rules. It’s unfortunate the good get penalized for the actions of the bad.”
Constantinides echoed his sentiments.
“I take no joy in this, as many bars and restaurants have struggled over the last four months and deserve to make a livelihood while keeping everyone safe,” he told am New York Metro. “Bad actors have to be held accountable, however, which is I asked the SLA last week to revoke M.I.A.’s liquor license. My office received call after call about their unsafe actions. We cannot have people flaunt the laws, endanger the public, and risk ruining the reopening for those who have followed the rules. I’m glad to see the governor heard out call and acted to root out those who don’t want to be a community partner.”
QNS reached out to M.I.A.’s contact but it went straight to voicemail. We are awaiting a response to an email inquiry.