Tag Archives: New York State Liquor Authority

Rowdy college bar ‘behaves’ as awaits license decision


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The sobering news of its last call has at least temporarily tamed a problematic college bar in Queens.

Cheap Shots, at 149-05 Union Tpke. passed a recent multi-agency checkup with “flying colors” and received no summonses, police and local leaders said.

“They have been behaving,” said Carolann Foley, president of the 107th Precinct Community Council.

The once-rowdy bar near St. John’s University has been under fire since it opened in March 2010. Residents said unruly customers constantly break out in fights outside. Some have even been spotted urinating and vomiting on the street.

Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee unanimously rejected the bar’s liquor license renewal application in January.

But the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has not cut the bar off yet.

It fined Cheap Shots $15,000 on March 25 for numerous complaints and at least 10 violations, mostly for disorderly conduct and alleged underage drinking, officials said, but has not reviewed its liquor license application yet, a spokesman said.

Bar owner Louis Abreu, who has hired more security detail to hush up weekend commotions, said a decision will likely not be made until a court date in two weeks.

Foley said she’s skeptical the state agency would close the tab on Cheap Shots.

“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “The SLA is just so hot and cold.”

 

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Cheap Shots on the rocks: SLA to vote on liquor license


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will vote next Tuesday to either cut off a problematic college bar in Queens or let the drinks keep flowing.

Cheap Shots, at 149-05 Union Tpke., has racked up numerous noise complaints and at least 10 violations since it opened in March 2010, mostly for disorderly conduct and alleged underage drinking, SLA records show.

Rowdy customers constantly break out in fights outside, and some have even been spotted urinating and vomiting on the street, 107th Precinct Community Council President Carolann Foley said.

The SLA’s licensing bureau will decide the bar’s fate on March 11 — either approving or rejecting Cheap Shots’ request for a license renewal — after a full board meeting, an authority spokesperson said. Its current liquor license expired Feb. 28.

“I fully expect the SLA to protect our community and revoke Cheap Shots’ liquor license,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, who called the site near St. John’s University a “magnet for criminal activity.”

In January, Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee unanimously shut down Cheap Shots’ renewal application during a heated meeting with bar owners. The advisory vote was meant to urge the SLA to follow suit.

Bar boss Louis Abreu said he has since hired another security guard to keep a handle on commotions on weekends, bumping the total detail to five.

“I’m a small business owner trying to do the best I can,” he said. “We’ve been keeping the noise down. I’m still willing to work with the neighborhood.”

 

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Cheap Shots bar near St. John’s University may soon go dry


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A problematic bar near St. John’s University is facing its last call after a local community board voted against renewing its liquor license.

Community Board 8’s Liquor License Committee rejected Cheap Shots’ renewal application Monday, citing numerous complaints the 149-05 Union Tpke. bar has racked up since it opened in March 2010.

“This is the most I’ve heard about any establishment,” Committee Chair Michael Hannibal said. “There’s a concern.”

Rowdy customers break out in fights, repeatedly robbing neighbors in a residential area of a good night’s sleep, board members said.

Some have also been spotted urinating and vomiting in front of the bar, according to 107th Precinct Community Council President Carolann Foley.

“It appears to me your business is a cancer to the community,” said board member Marc Haken. “It is decaying the community. You have to be cut out of the community.”

Bar representatives have had multiple meetings with local civic leaders, but to no avail, the board said.

“It’s pretty serious,” said Councilmember Rory Lancman, calling the bar a “magnet for criminal activity” and the site of four arrests in the last year.

“Cheap Shots has failed to clean up its act and has instead remained a blight on our community,” he said.

The committee unanimously voted to shut down the renewal and urged the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) to follow suit.

The sobering news means Cheap Shots could be forced to close if it loses its ability to serve alcohol.

Its current liquor license expires Feb. 28. SLA officials did not immediately comment.

“Right now, we don’t know what this means for us. It’s basically in jeopardy,” said Louis Abreu, the bar’s owner. “I’m trying my best to fit in. It’s not easy, but I’m not throwing in the towel.”

The bar boss said he shells out at least $800 on security detail on weekends to keep a handle on commotions and often calls the police himself when fights erupt.

“What happened at the meeting was a lynch mob,” Abreu said.

 

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Community wins fight against liquor store near Springfield Gardens school


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The southeast Queens community has successfully shut down a proposal to put a liquor store mere steps from Springfield Gardens High School.

The shop was set to move into a new building on North Conduit Avenue, right across the street from the high school. Councilmember Donovan Richards, State Senator James Sanders and the community rallied against the proposal and won the fight when the New York State Liquor Authority rejected the proposal in June.

“I’ve seen what alcohol can do to a child’s life,” said resident Cookie Kojak. “We want to make sure this is it and [the owners] don’t try again.”

According to state law, a liquor store cannot open within 200 feet of an educational facility. The liquor store itself, located inside the new shopping mall-style building, would have exceeded that distance.
Regardless, the site’s close proximity to a high school left the community feeling uneasy.

“The environment which [the students] occupy has to promote their development, not deter it,” Richards said.

He added that establishing a liquor store in this area is an “abomination” and doesn’t depict “who we are as a community.”

“Developing young minds and constructing them into leaders is very crucial,” Richards said.
Once the neighborhood high school’s dismissal bell rings, hundreds of students flood Springfield Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue. Officials worried with such a great number of minors walking around, some of them could wander into the proposed liquor store.

In another case, Richards said, a minor could have the opportunity to pay somebody of age to buy them liquor from the nearby site.

Platinum Realty, owners of the building, let Gurmel Singh, the hopeful liquor store owner, sign a lease to set up shop. But since the liquor authority stepped in, their plans have been squashed.

Community leaders and local officials hope to instead use the building for more educational purposes, such as a library or “some sort of tutoring center,” Richards said.

Platinum Realty and Singh did not return requests for comment.

 

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Springfield Gardens doesn’t want liquor store near school


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Springfield Gardens wants to make sure the area around its high school stays dry.

A construction site across the street from Springfield Gardens High School could be the new home for a liquor store. But the community is calling for its owner to put a cork in it.

“We are not going to get drunk to a liquor store,” said State Senator James Sanders. “What does he think we are, high?”

By law, a liquor store cannot be within 200 feet of a school, according to the New York State Liquor Authority. Measurements showed the school’s doors are roughly 75 feet away from the proposed site of the liquor store.

Officials said once the dismissal bell rings, hundreds of students flood out of the high school’s doors and linger in the area. The youths socialize and stop in surrounding stores.

“We don’t want our young scholars seeing drunkards, people bobbing and weaving across the street,” Sanders said.

“This is not something the community wants,” echoed Franck Joseph, Community Liaison for Councilmember Donovan Richards. “It is very disrespectful, and a backhand slap. It shows a disregard to the community.”

Community activists Michael Duncan and Joan Flowers joined Sanders and Richards at a press conference on Friday, May 11 calling on the liquor authority to shut down the proposal.

Lawrence McClean, district manager of Community Board 13, said while owners are required by law to notify the local community board if they wish to open a liquor store, they have heard nothing.

“People are trying to get away with things in the dark,” he said.

McClean and the board have sent a packet with signatures to the liquor authority in strong opposition to the proposal. They were yet to hear back, but hoped the liquor authority does not even entertain the plan.

Richards said he tried to meet with the would-be owner, Tarsem Singh, but to no avail. Richards and Sanders hope to sit down and discuss the feasibility of using the space for something more “community-appropriate.”

“Put in an after-school youth center,” Sanders said. “We could have a place where we’re teaching values. It’s their future we’re concerned about.”

Singh could not be reached for comment. The liquor authority did not return repeated calls.

 

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14 Queens businesses busted for selling alcohol to minors


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

LIQUOR STORE

A nine-day undercover investigation by the New York State Liquor Authority has resulted in charges to 90 licensed groceries and liquor stores in New York City, including 14 throughout Queens.

Licensees charged by the SLA with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. Repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses.

“Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors is a priority for the State Liquor Authority. These large scale enforcement efforts will continue to be a part of our proactive measures to prevent alcohol abuse among our youth,” said SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen.

The Queens businesses charged with sales to minors are:

La Familia Mexicana Grocery Corp.
75-15 Jamaica Avenue

IBB Deli Corp.
75 Deli & Grocery (DBA)
75-02 Jamaica Avenue

Jamaica Express Deli Corp.
77-01 Jamaica Avenue

Heaven’s Two Deli Grocery Corp.
85-19 Jamaica Avenue

Meghna Bhatt
Preet Grocery (DBA)
86-06 Jamaica Ave

Reye’s Grocery Store
3229 Junction Boulevard

BAO Liquors
97-08 Northern Boulevard

Deli Grocery
9922 Northern Boulevard

Astoria Cigar & Candy
2865 Steinway Street

Mini Market Deli & Grocery
26-18 21st Street

24/7 Food Mart
31-02 21st Street

KA Food
24-02 34th Avenue

Solomon Wine & Liquor
24-14 34th Avenue

Mitul Convenience USA Inc.
Quick Stop (DBA)
7152 Yellowstone Boulevard

 

 

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Briarwood deli hit with violation for selling “loosie” cigarettes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A city investigation pinned a previously problematic deli grocery store in Briarwood with only one violation after multiple residents complained the store was selling “loosie” cigarettes and packs of smokes to minors.

Community Board 8 filed a complaint against the 84th Deli Grocery to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) this April, according to District Manager Marie Adam-Ovide. The store, located at 84th Drive and Manton Street, was formerly Stop & Go before new owners took over in late 2008.

According to a spokesperson for the DCA, the city agency issued one violation for selling loosie cigarettes to an adult during inspections this May, but the store was not found to be selling tobacco to minors.

However, numerous violations for selling alcohol to minors — accumulated since 2006 under previous owners — did cause the New York State Liquor Authority to revoke the deli’s liquor license in November 2009, records showed.

The store — which no longer sells alcohol — has stayed out of trouble for the most part since then, said manager Mohammed Ahmed.

Ahmed, who worked for a couple of months under the former owners, said he makes sure his employees always ask for proper identification to avoid repeating problems of the past.

“You have to do that,” he said. “How much profit could you make on one pack of cigarettes if you get a ticket?”

Deli employee Sharif Sagar, 36, said he IDs unfamiliar faces who are seeking smokes, but leaves the store’s regulars alone.

“We always ask for ID,” he said. “But if I’ve known you for a long time, I’m not going to ask you again because I checked already.”

The store’s new owners were barred from applying for a new liquor license for two years after it was terminated, but they are now eligible for one, Ahmed said.

The NYPD did not return calls for comment, but Adam-Ovide said police have not seen any illegal sales so far.