An ongoing effort to tackle crime and quality-of-life issues along Roosevelt Avenue in Corona and Jackson Heights should expand west to target problem bars and clubs in Woodside, lawmakers said Monday — likening the street at night to "old Times Square."
Elected officials called on city and state agencies to pour more resources into monitoring "bad actor" businesses along the corridor: bars that operate without proper licenses and attract drug use, prostitution and other problems, they said.
"Roosevelt Avenue is a vibrant avenue during the day," said state Sen. Jose Peralta, who's been pushing for several years to clean up the street, including a request to have NYPD lines redrawn so the avenue was united under one precinct.
"What happens at night is that it turns into something completely different," he said. "It's turned into the old Times Square, where you have prostitution, where you have $2 dance bars, where you have drugs, where you have fake IDs, and that needs to end."
While the stretch of Roosevelt Avenue located within Peralta's district has garnered much of the negative attention in recent years — including in Jackson Heights, identified as a problem spot for sex trafficking — its issues extend into Woodside too, officials said.
"Unfortunately, it's no different on this part of Roosevelt Avenue, a little bit further west," state Sen. Michael Gianaris said at a press conference on 65th Street Tuesday.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The lawmakers say their focus is on getting the State Liquor Authority and the city's Department of Consumer Affairs to better enforce licensing rules, saying many bars on the avenue operate as dance clubs without the cabaret license that allows them to do so.
Peralta introduced legislation this summer that would increase fines for clubs that violate cabaret rules, and would temporarily suspend the licenses of bars found to be operating illegally.