With the Knockdown Center’s battle over attaining a liquor license for 600-plus persons coming to a head on May 6, the 104th Precinct’s second in command has become the latest in a long line of community officials to publicly slam the arts and events venue.
At last Thursday’s Juniper Park Civic Association meeting in Middle Village, 104th Precinct Executive Officer Timothy Brown responded to a question from an audience member about permits required for the M.I.A. rap concerts scheduled for May 8 and 9 at the controversial venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. in Maspeth.
Brown’s answer was simple.
“Listen, I don’t want them to have anything,” he said. “I want them to go away.”
According to Brown, the Knockdown Center’s operators met with the 104th Precinct at the venue earlier in the day, and the police captain said he wasn’t sure if they had totally grasped the community’s opposition to the facility, even going as far as to call their demeanor over the recent months “aristocratic.”
“They don’t understand the power this community has,” Brown said. “We showed them copies of the letters we sent to the State Liquor Authority and the Buildings Department with so many attachments from people in this room.”
Two weeks ago, Capt. Christopher Manson, the 104th commander, penned a letter to the State Liquor Authority, stating his opposition to the Knockdown Center receiving a liquor license, but Brown’s statements are the precinct’s first in a public setting.
Additionally, Lt. George Hellmer confirmed that undercover police officers will be present at the M.I.A. concerts, searching for alcohol and health code violations, while the precinct will be monitoring the situation outside the building and on the surrounding streets.
“Do we want this here? No, we don’t. But we have to prepare for what happens if it does happen here,” Hellmer said. “But should an event go on, initially it seems things will be OK.”
He said he feels comfortable in the abilities of the Knockdown Center’s security staff, noting they have “hosted and secured a number of larger, high-profile events” in the past.
However, those attending the concerts might not be able to enjoy a beer or two during the show. The temporary liquor permits the center sought for the nights of the events were denied, and the SLA will vote on its permanent license on May 6.
An application to host 5,000-person events is also pending.