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Queens Chronicle

Knockdown Center alcohol vote tabled

The State Liquor Authority will rule on the venue’s application May 6

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:57 am, Thu May 1, 2014.

Coming into Tuesday’s hearing with the State Liquor Authority, the battle over the Knockdown Center and its attempt to garner a liquor license for 600-plus patrons has raged on in southwest Queens for over six months.

So waiting two more weeks for an official decision shouldn’t be too difficult.

After nearly 30 minutes of testimony and questioning, the State Liquor Authority decided to give the operators of the Knockdown Center, the controversial arts and events venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. in Maspeth, until the close of business on April 29 to submit additional paperwork concerning security at large events.

The facility is also seeking a permit to host up to 5,000 people at a time.

A vote on the center’s liquor license application will occur at the agency’s next board meeting, on May 6.

Meanwhile, the temporary liquor permits the center sought for the two concerts to be played by popular Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A., scheduled for May 8 and 9, were denied by the SLA.

Terrence Flynn, the attorney representing the Knockdown Center at the hearing, asked for an adjournment from the board to allow more time for the center’s owners to formulate a comprehensive security report and to allow for a meeting with the 104th Precinct.

“I would ask to leave the record open for two weeks to provide a complete security report and to have a meeting with the precinct,” Flynn said. “If we can control the numbers of people that at these events, then we can satisfy the community’s and precinct’s concerns.”

Neither David Sklar, the owner of the Knockdown Center, nor Tyler Myers, the venue’s manager, were present at the hearing.

Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano testified at the hearing in opposition to the Knockdown Center’s license application and expressed the opposition the board and most of the community have voiced over the recent months.

“I don’t know of anyone in the community who’s in favor of this,” Giordano said. “There’s a residential community right across the street.”

Alex Maureau, the constituent liaison for state Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), as well as representatives from the offices of Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), testified at the hearing.

Maureau opined that throngs of intoxicated young adults walking through residential neighborhoods after an event would be dangerous for residents, the Knockdown Center’s attendees and the officers of the 104th Precinct patrolling the area.

“The nearest subway station is about a mile away,” Maureau said. “In order to get there, you have to pass through a residential zone the whole way through.”

Area civic activist Christina Wilkinson testified that young children are believed to be living at the center illegally, an allegation which Flynn denied.

“I know of no children occupying this building at all,” he said.

There will be no oral arguments given at the May 6 SLA hearing, only a ruling.

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