Don’t open liquor store
next to rehab site: Costa
Photo via Google Maps
BY BILL PARRY
City Councilman Costa
Constantinides is urging the
State Liquor Authority to deny
the issuance of a liquor license
to Vernon Wine & Liquor Inc. to
operate a store down the street from
the Astoria Houses.
Owner Xiao Wang applied for the
license in August to open a location
in what was a storefront church at
8-23 Astoria Blvd., which is next door
to a facility that treats veterans with
alcohol and substance addictions.
“I strongly believe a business
established with the main driving
purpose of selling alcohol would
be a detriment to the surrounding
community, which includes a
facility and a public housing
complex,” Constantinides wrote in
a letter expressing his unequivocal
opposition to the SLA. “Moreover
given the utter disregard for
neighborhood context, I believe
the applicant has made it explicitly
clear that they do not seek to work
in tandem or with respect towards
the community, but in hostile
Wang, who used to own Baba Wine
& Liquor at 3-15 27th Ave., could not
be reached for comment.
Baba Wine & Liquor closed
permanently in 2017 after receiving
numerous violations and a $20,000
fine for selling liquor that had not
been purchased from a licensed
wholesaler, according to the SLA.
In his letter, Constantinides
explains how inappropriate it
would be to have a liquor store
alongside Reality House, a not-forprofit
medically certified outpatient
facility that treats patients with
alcohol and substance abuse issues.
Reality House made Astoria its home
in 2013 and the majority of its clients
are from the neighborhood.
“The organization focuses a
large part of its efforts in treating
veterans and its facility has 30 beds
specifically reserved for them,”
Constantinides wrote. “For the
applicant to disregard its proximity
to such a center is a sign of arrogance,
selfishness, and toxic hubris.”
Finally, Constantinides told
the SLA that the location would be
inappropriate because it is just a
half-block away from the Astoria
Houses, the 22-building NYCHA
complex with 1,104 apartments and
more than 3,200 residents.
“Opening a liquor store only
a stone’s throw away from this
housing development would be
completely contradictory to all of the
city’s, non-profit organizations’ and
community leaders’ efforts to foster
stability and improved quality of
life,” Constantinides concluded.
Wang is scheduled to go before
the SLA Jan. 9.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by
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