State Senator Calls for Moratorium on Liquor Licenses in Inwood; LES Next?

Posted on: October 27th, 2015 at 11:12 am by

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Photo: Daily News

Hold a mirror to the Lower East Side and you roughly get Inwood.

Yup, the northernmost Manhattan neighborhood is struggling with a gold rush of nightlife reminiscent of what’s happening here at home. Hot-spot establishments are proliferating. Now the local State Senator who represents that district – Adriano D. Espaillat – is calling on the State Liquor Authority to impose a liquor license moratorium of one year in that area. Apparently it’s a free-for-all; eighteen new liquor establishments were issued in the three-year period ending 2015.

The New York Times has the scoop, and as you’ll see, this text could’ve been written about the Lower East Side. An excerpt:

“This used to be a drug den with crack vials on the sidewalk,” Mr. Espaillat said, a day after the announcement, standing along Inwood’s Dyckman Street, a main thoroughfare, as the restaurants and bars that line it readied for the weekend crush. “There has been somewhat of a renaissance here. But there has got to be a balance.”

In fact, the liquor authority does not have the ability to issue a moratorium on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis — it can only do so statewide or for individual counties.

The last ban, imposed in 2006, was for all of Manhattan because the authority was updating its system of rules. The bill Mr. Espaillat, a Democrat, is promoting, would attempt to establish a sort of “home rule” for neighborhoods, so each area could set its own guidelines about who qualifies for a liquor license.

The liquor authority said it did take the views of residents into consideration before making decisions.

Every weekend night, the parking lot at the Dyckman Houses, a public-housing project, is the scene of an after party once the clubs close, said Mr. Riddick, a member of the tenant association. “I’m not trying to stop people from making money,” he said. “I’m just saying find an area where it’s more suitable.”

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