Despite a hasty retreat in response to community opposition, tempers are still aflame (and residents remain concerned) over the potential opening of a new bar rumored to be a front for an “adult business” at a busy Gravesend intersection less than a block from multiple schools and a neighborhood park.
“It’s outrageous,” said local resident Tom Sajecki, whose daughter attends P.S. 215, just one block from the location. “You have not one, not two, but three schools within walking distance. If the city allows this, it’s beyond comprehension.”
But “Al” at security for Magen David Yeshiva–also a mere block away–said that the allegations turned out to be unfounded upon investigation.
“It was reported to us that the rumors of an ‘adult business’ were false,” Al said. “It’s not going to happen.”
Nonetheless, even the possibility of such an establishment so close to so many children caused State Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) to leap to action. The Assemblyman made plans for a rally and press conference Sunday morning in front of the property (at 2067 McDonald Avenue), but canceled the affair after he convinced the property owner to meet with community leaders to stop the rumored adult establishment from opening. Discussions late Saturday night led the owner to agree to the sit-down, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz claimed.
“Opening the line of communication is an important first step,” Cymbrowitz said. “We’re hopeful that the owner will come to understand that an adults-only establishment is simply not compatible with our neighborhood and is inappropriate in a location where thousands of children go to school each day.”
City Council Members Mark Treyger and David Greenfield agreed.
“This is a residential neighborhood with a number of nearby schools, yeshivas, parks and churches where residents expect and deserve peace and quiet. This location is completely inappropriate for any type of bar, let alone the kind of adult entertainment that was initially proposed,” Council Member Treyger said. “The entire community is uniting in opposition to this outrageous idea due to the major impact it would have on the neighborhood. I will continue to monitor this proposal closely with my partners in government as it moves forward. I am also reiterating my call for the State Liquor Authority to recognize that there is no public interest in allowing this establishment to open and to protect the many families whose quality of life is at stake by immediately rejecting this application.”
“While it’s a great relief to hear that the owners have pledged not to open up an adult establishment, this location is no better suited for a bar and cabaret,” said Council Member Greenfield. “Hundreds of school children pass by this site each day on their way to the many schools that are literally a few hundred feet away. This is not an something we need or want in our quiet residential community. I urge the State Liquor Authority to deny their application.”
Records show that a corporation, El Bukanas, Inc., applied for a liquor license at the location through their attorney, which remains pending. Though the application claimed a proposed business of a bar with live and recorded music, it was widely rumored to become an “adult establishment,” sources say.
In addition to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Council Members Treyger and Greenfield, Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo and other leaders had expressed widespread disapproval of the not-yet-opened business, noting that it posed a serious threat to the quality of life and safety of the community, and were urging the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to reject its liquor license application.
The proposed business site sits in close proximity to Magen David Yeshivah, McDonald Park, P.S. 215, David Boody Junior High, Coney Island Prep High School and a United Cerebral Palsy facility that serves children. New York State law’s “500 foot rule” prohibits new licenses within this radius unless it is in the public’s interest to issue a license.
“Since the park, UCP Center and Coney Island Prep are all within the 500-foot radius, and Magen David Yeshivah and other schools sit just outside this radius, the public’s interest clearly will NOT be served by this business,” Cymbrowitz added. “The only influence the business will have is a negative and dangerous one.”
Cymbrowitz, who is also Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said he will continue to monitor the issue closely to ensure that the community is satisfied with the resolution.
The landlord, proposed tenant, and their attorneys could not be reached for comment.