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Northeast Queens police said they will focus on bars and restaurants operating illegally in 2012, but community leaders said more needs to be done on a state level and cited a Flushing watering hole with a questionable liquor license as an example.
At a recent meeting of Community Board 7’s monthly district service cabinet, 109th Precinct Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire said his NYPD officers would be on the prowl in the upcoming year for bars and restaurants that are flaunting the law by serving minors or allowing drug use on the premises.
“There will be a big push in 2012,” he said.
Maguire also said he wanted to crack down on bars that apply for a license under one name and then use another, or employ similar tactics to throw inspectors and police off their scents.
He cited Dreamer Music World Corp., a bar in downtown Flushing that received a liquor license in September, as an example of providing misleading information on its application.
The address on the liquor license is listed as 133-55 Sanford Ave. There is no door with that listed address along Sanford Avenue, but a plain steel door leading into an alley is located between two addresses that suggests it could be the one listed on the application.
“It doesn’t even have a building attached to it,” Maguire said.
In fact, the bar is inside a small shopping center around the corner at 41-44 Main St.
The principal of the corporation nor an attorney that was listed on the liquor license could be reached for comment by press time.
While there is a large sign along Main Street advertising the bar, upon entering the shopping center a glass door leading downstairs is marked as 133-55 Sanford Ave.
As part of its application to the state Liquor Authority, the bar had to submit a picture of its entrance, which is yet another address along Sanford Avenue. The license application is only for a beer and wine restaurant and not to serve hard liquor.
The applicant, Shu Mei Chen, marked “no” to the question: “Has the building/premises been known by any other address?” despite the fact that city Department of Buildings documents list 133-55 Sanford Ave. only as a supplementary address for 41-44 Main St.
Other inconsistencies appear in the application.
Chen did not check the box for “karaoke bar” even though it is advertised as a “KTV,” which is another name for a karaoke bar, and microphones and musical notes appear on its sign.
CB 7 members said applications like those for Dreamers slip through the cracks due to a combination of a limited number of inspectors and Flushing’s abundance of bars.
In addition, the Liquor Authority gives community opinion less weight when an applicant only wants to serve wine and beer and not hard alcohol, according to a spokesman from the authority.
That is why CB 7 members said the state Legislature needs to give the authority more power to deny beer and wine licenses, even if hard alcohol is not behind the bar.
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) thinks that starting a regional office of the authority in New York would solve a lot of problems.
CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said that something needs to be done, although amending state laws might be the more efficient way.
“I’ll take anything,” he said. “Even if it means creating a city agency. But I’d rather do it the easy way.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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