By Sarina Trangle

Dueling petitions have cropped up debating the merits of the Knockdown Center in Maspeth.

Knockdown bills itself as an arts center seeking to build on events it has held in the former glass factory, at 52-19 Flushing Ave., using temporary permits. The venue wants to secure a permanent public assembly certificate to serve up to 5,000 people and a liquor and cabaret license.

The surrounding community has disputed Knockdown’s self-definition, saying prior events have drawn thousands of young partygoers consuming drugs and alcohol.

The city Department of Buildings said it disapproved the public access permit March 21 and issued a notice of intent to revoke work permits for construction work over minor concerns.

Knockdown’s manager Tyler Myers said his staff plans to meet with the DOB soon to discuss its objections to the ongoing construction work, which entails expanding bathrooms and adding more doors as well as the department’s dismissal of the public access permit.

“We’re going to address these four or five objections, which [the inspector] came up with, which are minor and don’t require changes, just clarification,” Myers said, adding that the public access permit application process is ongoing. “It doesn’t mean we can’t get it. Disapproved means that they looked at a plan and they have comments.”

The state Liquor Authority has not made any determinations on Knockdown’s bid for a liquor and cabaret license.

While government agencies weigh Knockdown’s permits, the public debate rages on.

By Wednesday morning, 109 people had signed an online petition opposing the Knockdown Center.

“Having this many people gather in one location to drink alcohol will put a strain on police services. There have already been documented incidents of bad behavior involving drugs and alcohol at dance parties at this location,” the petition reads.

It also raises concerns about noise for nearby residents as well as inadequate parking.

A second online petition rallying behind the Knockdown Center states the facility has done its due diligence to address issues.

“They have publicly perpetuated false information, unfairly judged our intentions — as well as our potential clientele — and spun the facts to incite fear amidst our surrounding concerns,” the petition reads. “Cited as their primary concerns are noise, disorderly conduct and ‘hipsters.’”

The document notes that Knockdown has not received official complaints over prior events and has commissioned an acoustics study to ensure the building met the city noise code for its proposed use.

About 262 people had signed the petition, as of Wednesday morning.

Although neither petition mentions M.I.A., the British-born musician’s upcoming concerts have riled the community.

Myers said Knockdown anticipates having its permanent public assembly certificate in place before the May 8-9 shows, but would use temporary ones if necessary.

“Anything we do here will be permitted and fully legally,” he said.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at

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