Senator Peralta proposes liquor license moratorium along Roosevelt Avenue for new nightclubs





(East Elmhurst, NY) In a multifaceted approach to clean up Roosevelt Avenue, State Senator Jose Peralta and community leaders today called on the New York State Liquor Authority to stop granting on-premises liquor licenses for new nightclubs along Roosevelt Avenue. As part of this new effort, Senator Peralta also urged the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to increase enforcement of the cabaret license laws, and introduced legislation authorizing Consumer Affairs to impose fines of up to $10,000 for violations of cabaret licensing rules.


Senator Peralta also proposed the formation of a Commission on Roosevelt Avenue as a key component of this multipronged endeavor to tackle criminal activity along the corridor. The Commission will release a report within a year of its creation, establishing a roadmap to turn around the thoroughfare and revive the economic engine of its surrounding communities. “Unfortunately, Roosevelt Avenue has become the new ‘old Times Square,’” said Senator Peralta. “We must ensure this thoroughfare is safer for families, for shoppers and for visitors.”


Under Senator Peralta’s proposal, the legislation will improve the current cabaret license rules by allowing DCA to issue fines of up to $10,000 upon a cabaret holder for each violation of the rules, as well as a 60-day license suspension. In addition, for businesses operating as nightclubs without the proper license, the bill similarly calls for fines of up to $10,000 against these establishments. It also allows DCA to take these violations into account when the business later applies for a new cabaret license.


The proposal also enables the City’s Consumer Affairs to reject any applications for a new cabaret license or a renewal if the community board overseeing the location where the establishment operates determines that the business “will have a negative impact in the surrounding neighborhood.” Senator Peralta said, “the community board will have a significant say in the approval of the issuance of a new cabaret license, or for its renewal.”


Cleaning up Roosevelt Avenue as it cuts through Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona has been a priority of the Senator for years. “Criminal activity is all too common along Roosevelt Avenue. Prostitution, drugs, the sale of fake identification documents, and unscrupulous agents providing false hope of employment to immigrants, as well as apartment rental scams. All these bad actors have hindered development in neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst. So, today I am saying: enough is enough,” said Senator Peralta.


“Roosevelt Avenue is in a state of disarray even though we have some of the City’s best attractions here, including Citi Field, the U.S. Tennis Center, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and most of the bars and businesses are great neighbors and responsible for the economic success of the avenue. Today, the U.S. Open begins just a few miles from where we are, so let’s make every possible effort to make sure some of the profits of this popular international event stay in our community.”


Senator Peralta noted that there are only six establishments that hold a valid cabaret license along Roosevelt Avenue between 74th and 114th streets. “Dancing occurs in many more places than those six, as many nightclubs operate without the proper cabaret license,” he said.


He also called on the New York Police Department to beef up enforcement of the existing cabaret laws. “Clearly, enforcement of these rules is lacking, and this is why I am urging the New York Police Department to enforce laws overseeing by the Department of Consumer Affairs,” added Senator Peralta. He urged the NYPD to develop a strategy to tackle the pervasive problems that exist under the elevated tracks of the 7 train, such as a redesigned program similar to the Department’s now-discontinued ‘Operation Impact.’


As part of the approach to clean up Roosevelt Avenue, Senator Peralta also called on the New York State Liquor License Authority (SLA) to impose a one-year moratorium on on-premise liquor licenses for new nightclubs along this stretch of Roosevelt Avenue. “Traditional bars and restaurants make Roosevelt Avenue and its nightlife an attractive place to dine and have a drink. But when night falls, the corridor metamorphoses into a noisy and salacious place, which is undesirable for area residents,” said Senator Peralta.


Senator Peralta also announced that in the next few days he would be introducing legislation calling for the creation of an 11-Member Commission on Roosevelt Avenue. The Commission will have a lifespan of 5 years, and within the first year, it will release a report detailing an Action Plan to clean up the commercial corridor. “Most establishments are good neighbors, they follow the rules. It is vital that we get rid of the bad apples and make Roosevelt Avenue flourish again,” said Senator Peralta.


The Commission on Roosevelt Avenue will be composed of:


  • The Commander Officer of the 110th Police Precinct; or his/her designee.
  • The Commander Officer of the 115th Police Precinct; or his/her designee.
  • The Commissioner of NYC Department of Consumer Affairs; or his/her designee.
  • Representative of Community Board 3.
  • Representative of Community Board 4.
  • Merchant’s representative appointed by Queens Community Board 3.
  • Merchant’s representative appointed by Queens Community Board 4.
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation; or his/her designee.
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Health; or his/her designee.
  • The Chairperson of the New York State Liquor Authority License; or his/her designee.
  • The Commissioner of the Fire Department of New York City; or his/her designee.
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