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Queens Chronicle

Hipster haven riles area civics, electeds

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

The people who run the Knockdown Center, a former industrial site in Maspeth that has become home to dance parties, weddings, concerts and avant-garde art shows, recently applied to Community Board 5 for a liquor license.

The application has drawn objections from civic activists and most elected officials in the area. Activists allege that alcohol has already been served illegally at the former factory, located at 52-19 Flushing Ave., near the Ridgewood line, and note that the property has been subject of several code violations issued by the city. They say they are concerned about safety at the site.

Area officials including Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) and state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) have objected to the liquore license application in letters to the State Liquor Authority. Although CB 5 gets to vote on the application, it only has advisory power; the SLA makes the decision.

“I have some questions and concerns regarding the viability of this business,” Nolan said in a recent letter to the SLA urging that the application be denied. “Currently, Queens Community Board 5 received an application for only 600 people but the owners applied for a permit earlier this year for 5,000 people, which was rejected by the New York City Department of Buildings. ... If a business has room to house 5,000 people, why would we believe that only 600 will be served alcohol on a given night?”

Representatives of the Knockdown Center could not immediately be reached for comment, but one told the Daily News that the facility has had permits for all events it has hosted.

One official who supports the center is Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who says it brings jobs to the area and that the operators do good philanthropic work.

CB 5 will next meet on Oct. 9.

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