It has come to the attention of Maspeth civic organizations that the developer that owns 52-19 Flushing Avenue, Mr. David Sklar (and a relative named Paul Sklar), have applied for a liquor license to serve up to 5,000 people at a location that they have been operating as a dance club and art exhibit hall for more than a year. They made their pitch to Community Board 5 on Wednesday, September 18.
The application that CB5 received was for a new liquor license to serve “up to 600 patrons” with the applicant listed as “David Sklar d/b/a Knockdown Center”. However, there is reason to believe that the 3-acre facility will host many more people than that, based on DOB records on file.
The zoning for this area is M1-1, and the location sits within the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone. The Daily News mentioned this in a report earlier this year, when the community board was taken by surprise at the brazenness in which the club was operating without their knowledge or any permits.
There also are multiple complaints on file that people are living there and the owner has applied to put “employees quarters” on the mezzanine. My guess is that "employees quarters" means live-in artist studios. Not only does this violate the purpose of Industrial Business Zones, but the Toxics Targeting website indicates that this site may require some cleanup.
As you can see from the Knockdown Center’s website, alcohol is already being served on the premises to hundreds of people per event via Roberta's, a caterer with a shady reputation. (Thank you Miss Heather for breaking that story.) The venue does not have a valid place of assembly permit; they applied for one earlier this year for occupancy of up to 5,000 persons, and it was rejected by the DOB. In this filing, they listed the building as “A-2: 24 GALLERY / EXHIBITION HALL”, but in another filing, they wrote “A-4: ASSEMBLY: INDOOR SPORTS.” Okay, so which is it?
The building is rented out for weddings, film shoots, parties and other events. They are planning an indoor/outdoor flea market on Sundays starting October 20th.
· How can the owner file for a liquor license without having an approved location at which to operate? The location is a run-down factory building, and its safety is in question. A special permit from BSA is required, and as of this date, the owner has neither received one nor applied for one.
· A cabaret license for this type of venue is required. None is on file.
· The current certificate of occupancy is for a factory, therefore having any event open to the public is illegal.
· Does anyone really believe that in a building with the capacity to hold 5,000, only 600 people will be served alcohol? And at what type of events? There have been drug busts at “raves” in other area factories that have been converted into clubs. It seems that "up to 600" has been chosen to avoid having to obtain a cabaret liquor permit from the State Liquor Authority (which is different from the city's required cabaret license).
· How would 5,000 people even get to Maspeth? Public transportation is lacking. Where will the parking be when the yard is in use (which is often)? And should people be driving around after they have been drinking at a club all night?
· This venue would no doubt become a trouble spot for the NYPD. The 104th precinct is already stretched way too thin.
· There are row houses on the same block as the venue and a residential community sits right across the street. When the club-goers start leaving during the wee hours of the morning, they will cause problems for the residents of the area. Complaints have already been received about noise and crowds at this location.
In addition, online reviews of the place have mentioned the loudness of the events (note from the photo above that the location is mainly outdoors, at least one building on site is missing a roof, and the main building does not have windows or doors) as well as the fact that drugs have been openly passed around and used at past events. There's even a photo on FourSquare of a guy puffing on a joint at one of their parties.
And then there's the shuttle bus. The L train at Jefferson Street is the closest rapid transit to the Knockdown Center. It's about 3/4 of a mile away. So they send this bus out to pick up the patrons:
Does this thing look safe or street legal? It doesn't even have a license plate on the front of it. Miss Heather found people living in it on Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint last year. Note the bunk beds inside and hammocks on the roof! Does the person who drives this thing have a CDL to transport passengers? It's highly doubtful. And this vehicle certainly would not be able to handle the shuttling of thousands of people to and from the subway, even when it is running.
Since the owner himself has not been forthcoming about what his establishment will be and how many people it will serve, and since he has pretty much flipped the bird at the neighborhood and its representatives by operating illegally for more than a year, it is imperative that his liquor license application be rejected.
Assembly Member Cathy Nolan and State Senator Michael Gianaris, whose districts this is in, have already sent letters asking SLA to reject the application and State Senator Joe Addabbo has done so in support, since his district begins a block away. (The Council Member for this area, James Van Bramer, reportedly has told civic groups that he was sending a letter out last week.) The Queens Civic Congress has sent their own letter to SLA.
Shockingly, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley spoke in favor of the application at the September community board meeting even though this is currently not in her district. She "coincidentally" has received thousands in campaign donations from the main investors, the Argento family.
do what they please in Greenpoint), especially since they only project 30 full-time jobs being created at the Knockdown Center after expansion?
Crowley also said she is pleased that someone is bringing an arts center to Maspeth. In fact, she called it "positive economic development." It's quite clear that the "arts center" nonsense is a smokescreen for the club that they are running, which can be called a lot of things, but positive economic development is not one of them, at least not in the eyes of the community she represents.
When have you ever heard a politician testify in favor of a liquor license at a community board meeting, especially when the venue is not even in his or her district?
Sklar and Argento no doubt are hedging their bets that both Crowley and Melinda Katz will be victorious in November. They will then proceed to apply for their licenses and permits with the assistance of Crowley and Katz after the new district lines bring the Knockdown Center's site into Crowley's district. The liquor license takes the longest to obtain, which is why they are putting the cart before the horse.
In fact, the Knockdown Center's Twitter page has been re-tweeting her campaign tweets!
Now I know i will vote foe the Republican against Katz. Do not care if he has three heads.
What do you want? The woman is a bird-brain.
Looks like an underground club from the 70s...sigh. I remember buses taking people from the Village out to the Blitz club on the island.
Mixed feelings...I fully understand the neighborhood and safety concerns but it's kind of refreshing seeing a youngish-artsy crowd instead of the boring uber-wealthy.
I would, however, be very concerned about gangs showing up and robbing everyone - what a perfectly captive audience. Queens has too many unsavory characters and probably a lot of guns.
Refreshing to see a youngish artsy crowd instead of the boring uber wealthy? So you think it has to be either-or? What's wrong with the working and middle class that lives there now?
Why didn't the community board call DOB & FDNY back in March to have the place shut down when they first learned about it? What are they there for?
Holy crap I can't believe Crowley is this dumb. I mean we all knew she lacked adequate brain cells, but good Lord, what was she thinking?
it's kind of refreshing seeing a youngish-artsy crowd
Refreshing? These don't look like young artsy types. They look like trustafarian dweebs. They bring absolutely nothing to a neighborhood and leave behind a mess when they leave.
How about bringing in something that conforms with the zoning and will create real jobs that residents of the area will benefit from instead of bending over backwards to accommodate someone who has no problem making money by bringing noise and drugs to the area? What's the point of having an IBZ if you're going to make swiss cheese out of it by allowing a bunch of non-conforming uses?
Liz Crowley supports ear-splitting noise and drugs in her district? Lovely.
When that dopey bus has an accident or part of the factory collapses, this won't seem like such a cute idea, Liz.
just one more NY democrat! And who elected this bird brain?
I'm fairly surprised that Crowley would support a business that caters from Roberta's, who got in trouble for basically using slave labor. Isn't Crowley a union darling?
Who the fuck is actually running this asylum called New York City?
joe if you look at the NYC council you should be able to see its all democrats. The peoples party!
Quick - no looking at the internet or back issue of a newspaper . . .
Can you name her Republican opponent?
Holy crap I can't believe Crowley is this dumb. I mean we all knew she lacked adequate brain cells, but good Lord, what was she thinking?
The entire family is like that - ever go to a Joe Crowley Xmas party and see him performing on stage?
And talk about lack of self respect, watch the audience's reaction to his 'performance.'
Is this what NYC politics have come to? Note that Weiner and Spritzer and Quinn all said f*you to all of us and ran for office here.
We are making ourselves the laughing stock of the world.
You make me dizzy, Miss Lizzie.
Third Generation New Yorker. This is the last time I will let anyone know this.
Guess it must be my Grand Parents fault - They were immigrants,
Crowley an Katz should be required to live, work, and sleep within 100 feet of this when there's an event for 5,000 taking place.
The lack of scrutiny for a venue of 5,000 people is incredible -- The pettiness of the city when there's a $50 fine at stake, and the anarchy of the city when there's another "Happy Land" that wants to open.
Sorry crappy I got busy. I don't know who ran against Dizzy Lizzy on the republican side and I didn't even look! More trivia: of the last 17 politicians convicted of crimes how many were
dems. You are allowed to look!
well the hipster infestation of queens is complete...where do I go now...I know...away the hell from here
As a Former assistant Director of a performing arts space. They are required to have multiple Fire Guard certificates and the bodies that hold them in place for every event for if a Fire Marshall were to inspect during an event and they are not present the event is to be shut down. Plus governed by the rules of public assembly all of which FDNY takes very very serious ...I would start a call campaign to the FDNY to see of they have the necessary certificates. I was involved back in the 80's in the development of the Public Assembly regulations and they are no joking matter if they are messing with them or trying to avoid them it is grounds for closure. I have held such certificates. I take the lives and safety of the public that attended my facility and any that I worked for very serious...any one that does not follow these regulations should be shut down!
Too bad nobodies listening. The FDNY Fire Marshalls all hit the rack about 9 P.M.
"a guy puffing on a joint at one of their parties" Oh no!
No factory is going to be replacing this space. Similar places have been good neighbors in areas such as Red Hook and Bushwick. Let's make sure the Community Board holds them accountable for all necessary certificates and licenses, but the complete opposition is unwarranted.
I meant can you name her Republi-cant opponent in the COMING election?
(Republi-cants Ragusa and Ognibene are too busy fiddling while Rome burns.)
Her opponent is Craig Caruana.
"No factory is going to be replacing this space."
Perhaps not. But M1-1 allows for more than factories. Wholesale, storage, etc. why can't the Argentos expand Broadway Stages instead of opening a club that specializes in "noise parties" where attendees have to wear earplugs or face hearing damage? The place is not soundproof. Why are they allowing some hipster to drive partygoers back and forth in a bus that he sleeps in?
How is any of this showing that they'll be good neighbors?
"Similar places have been good neighbors in areas such as Red Hook and Bushwick."
Yes, and similar places have become nightmares. Take Ridgewood Masonic Temple or Studio B.
Please name these good neighbor places. I'm curious.
To those of you who want this: it's in an Industrial Business Zone. These were created specifically to prevent industrial land from being converted into another use. What's the sense of having IBZs if you're going to make Swiss cheese out of them? Plus having one of these clubs sets a precedent and opens up the door to more of them. I doubt this community wants to be known as Williamsburg East.
No factory is going to be replacing this space.
The door factory that was here moved to a different Maspeth location, and the owners of that business retained ownership of this property. It's in an IBZ, and that land is highly coveted, but the brothers who inherited it all would rather throw hipster parties than seek a tenant or buyer.
Similar places have been good neighbors in areas such as Red Hook and Bushwick.
A whole lot of clubs operating in this exact way have caused a whole lot of headaches citywide. See the previously mentioned Studio B.
Let's make sure the Community Board holds them accountable for all necessary certificates and licenses, but the complete opposition is unwarranted.
The NYPD has been on scene at several of these events and claims not to have seen the magic shuttle bus or the drug use that the partygoers have taken numerous photos of. That's probably because they hire off duty cops as security. Ignorance is bliss.
Complete opposition is absolutely warranted. They want to do something non conforming that would set a bad precedent. It's perfectly ok to say no, especially when the local precinct has no problem looking the other way.
Pardon me for asking, but is this the same Gina Argento, plus husband, who have given Crowley's campaign coffers several thousand dollars?
(From the NYS Board of Elections Contrib. database)
31-76 38TH STREET
ASTORIA, NY 11103 1,000.00 20-JUN-11 ELIZABETH CROWLEY 2013 2011 July Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
31-76 38TH AVENUE
ASTORIA, NY 11103 2,500.00 12-MAR-13 ELIZABETH CROWLEY 2013 2013 July Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
31-76 38TH ST
ASTORIA, NY 11103 1,000.00 05-NOV-09 ELIZABETH CROWLEY FOR CITY COUNCIL 2010 January Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
31-76 38TH ST
ASTORIA, NY 11103 375.00 10-DEC-10 ELIZABETH CROWLEY FOR CITY COUNCIL 2011 January Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
31-72 38TH STREET
ASTORIA, NY 11103 100.00 11-MAY-09 CROWLEY '09 2009 July Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
203 MESEROLE AVE
BROOKLYN, NY 11222 100.00 05-NOV-09 ELIZABETH CROWLEY FOR CITY COUNCIL 2010 January Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
ARGENTO, ANTHONY P
203 MESEROLE AVE
BROOKLYN, NY 11222 1,000.00 20-JUN-11 ELIZABETH CROWLEY 2013 2011 July Periodic A City Council 30 Queens Queens
Like anyone on that bus earns enough to pay rent? They all look like moochers ...and sloppily dressed too.
The Argentos are brother and sister. Sis married Ciafone. Yup, the guy who ran for Vallone's seat and lost. And who has his illegal signs all over LIC and Greenpoint.
Sorry - missed the contribution images in the original post when viewing it in comment mode.
I tell ya', the Argentos sure know how to hedge their bets:
Mayor - max to Thompson, max to de Blasio, $2500 to Quinn, $4000 to Lhota, $100 to Liu back in 2012
BP - Thousands to Vallone, Over 10K to Katz, 5K to Peralta. (Not a penny to Avella.)
Public Adv - Max to Squadron, Max to Letitia James
Council - Almost max for Julissa F.
Plenty more here
Why not circulate a petition demanding she resign! There is no recall in NYC, so be polite about it.
Anon No. 34: Yeah. That'll work.
OK #35 what will work? Your elected officials cannot be recalled, like 20 other states and dizzy lizzy was duly elected by the enlightened constituency of her district. Now what? Call the FBI? They're already busy!
"What's wrong with the working and middle class that lives there now?"
The working and middle class are disappearing, in large part because of the decline of those unions that you seem to dislike so much.
Actually, the working and middle class are disappearing because of the decline of manufacturing, which you have to admit is leaving in large part because manufacturing goods is cheaper overseas where there are no unions.
Yet the unions continue to support the very politicians who support this system, which are the very politicians who thrive on tweeding. Kind of ironic. Anyway, if you and Liz Crowley actually think that the Knockdown Center is going to provide union jobs, then there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'll sell you. Also, the clients of Broadway Stages, in large part do not hire union workers. They don't even make that claim on their website, so I have to wonder where Dizzy Lizzy came up with that one.
Not sure what the previous commenter is talking about when he says working and middle class are disappearing from Maspeth. They haven't gone anywhere.
...And what does Queen Melinda have to say about this? Can't wait to hear her response LOL!
FDNY Fire Marshalls, stop lollygagging and put an end to this!
"Queen" Melinda? You must mean "Home-wrecker" Melinda. Notice how her sperm donor Curtis Sliwa is being kept under wraps.
George, your an atheist, this sort of thing shouldn't bother you! You sound like some kind of puritan, for God's sake!
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