4 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 24, 2022 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Hospitality leaders call for return of to-go alcoholic beverages
BY JULIA MORO
Restaurant owners and community
leaders came together at Neir’s Tavern in
Woodhaven on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to
urge the state Legislature to bring back
takeout alcoholic beverages permanently.
All across the state, legislators and members
Photo by Andrew Mangini
Restaurant owners and community leaders came together at Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to urge the state Legislature to bring
back takeout alcoholic beverages permanently.
Jamaica Bay cleanup removes 800 pounds of trash, full case of beer
BY BILL PARRY
Cleanup volunteers discovered car seats,
a full case of beer, a tent and many other
items that don’t belong on the shoreline.
“I’m so appreciative of these volunteers
More than 60 volunteers braved the
who are committed to making our wetlands
cold and joined Assemblywoman Stacey
and beaches safe and clean. While
Pheff er Amato recently as she hosted a
Jamaica Bay cleanup event. Together they
removed more than 800 pounds of litter,
trash and debris from the bay.
these cleanups are vital, we must step up
our game to teach people you cannot use
the bay as a dumping ground, or just leave
behind your belongings,” Pheff er Amato
said. “Our beaches, bays and wetlands are
a treasure, and should be treated as such.”
Th e cleanup event was organized with
Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Park Conservancy,
NYC Plover Project and the National Park
Service. Volunteers learned about endangered
birds, such as the piping plover, and
ways to protect their nesting habitat.
“Rockaway is surrounded by water
and our natural areas provide some of
the region’s most important habitat for
wildlife, especially nesting shorebirds,”
Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Park Conservancy
Executive Director Alex Zablocki said.
“Partnering with our elected offi cials, like
Assemblywoman Pheff er Amato, to host
volunteer cleanups is critical to ensuring
these spaces are kept free of debris but
also an opportunity to educate the public
about these important places.”
Th roughout the year, Pheff er Amato
will continue to host multiple cleanups
along Jamaica Bay and other waterways
in her district. Anyone interested in getting
involved in future events, or learning
more, can reach out to her offi ce at
When she launched her re-election
campaign in December, Pheff er Amato
listed protecting Jamaica Bay as a priority
along with increasing access to services
for our veterans and 9/11 fi rst responders,
expanding transportation options, helping
area schools fl ourish and keeping
nearby communities safe and clean.
“We have so much more to accomplish
together and I’m ready to continue fi ghting
for us and our community,” she said.
Pheff er Amato will be running for
her fourth term representing the 23rd
Assembly District which includes South
Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach,
Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, Breezy
Point, Neponsit, Belle Harbor, Rockaway
Park and parts of Rockaway Beach,
Arverne, Edgemere and Far Rockaway.
of the hospitality industry held press
conferences to call on state lawmakers to
fi nally pass legislation that would bring
back to-go drinks. Th ese press conferences
took place simultaneously as the
budget subcommittee held a hearing on
economic development today to show the
overwhelming support for this legislation
as a way to stimulate the economy.
Hochul announced in her State of the
State address last month that she fully
supports reviving takeout drinks from bars
and restaurants, which the state temporarily
enacted to keep businesses afl oat
during the height of the pandemic.
However, legislators and the hospitality
industry are facing an uphill battle to make
Previous eff orts to bring back the pandemic
policy by state lawmakers last spring
failed due to staunch opposition from
liquor store lobbyists. Th is legislation set off
a debate over who should be bringing alcohol
to the masses outside their establishment:
liquor stores or bars and restaurants.
Loycent Gordon, owner and CEO of
Neir’s Tavern, stressed the need for this legislation
as many businesses like his own are
“Th e pandemic amplifi ed the need for
temporary fi xes that would serve a shortterm
purpose,” Gordon said. “What many
forget is that the eff ects of this pandemic
are now long term, and the once-temporary
fi xes have become new constants.”
During the most recent omicron surge,
Gordon said that he could have signifi cantly
benefi ted from the additional revenue
that to-go drinks bring in.
“I myself have suff ered tremendously trying
to navigate rent that was tripled and
trying to fi ght back all those increasing
expenses,” Gordon said. “Drinks-to-go has
been embraced by all. It was wildly successful
and works for both restaurants and consumers.
Th e time is now to make this temporary
fi x a long-term solution. Th is is our
Despite misinformation from liquor
store lobbyists, the bill would not allow restaurants
and bars to sell full bottles of wine
and spirits. Th e bill also requires that customers
purchase a meal with the sale of a
cocktail or glass of wine to go.
A survey conducted by the New York
State Restaurant Association in 2021
found that 78% of New Yorkers support
permanent to-go alcoholic beverages.
Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO
of the NYS Restaurant Association, said
that the time to get this done is now and
state legislators must get on board.
“Governor Hochul’s proposal makes
clear the Executive Chamber’s commitment
to supporting the economic recovery
of the restaurant industry,” Fleischut said.
“New Yorkers overwhelmingly support
this policy and it falls to the Legislature
to stand with restaurants who have faced
unprecedented economic hardships since
the beginning of the pandemic.”
Photos courtesy 0f Pheff er Amato’s offi ce
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheff er Amato hosted a recent cleanup event at Jamaica Bay that resulted
in more than 800 pounds of trash and other debris being removed from the shoreline.