4 THE QUEENS COURIER • JULY 23, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Three Queens businesses penalized over COVID-19 parties
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Th ey fl outed the law, and the law won.
Th ree Queens businesses lost their
liquor licenses July 21 at the order of
Governor Andrew Cuomo for welcoming
throngs of partygoers over the weekend
in spite of COVID-19 crowd restrictions.
Two of the three aff ected businesses are
in Astoria: Brik Bar at 32-16 Steinway St.
and M.I.A. at 27-35 21st St. Th e neighborhood
Photo via Google Maps
Councilman calls for Steinway Street lounge’s liquor license to be revoked
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Councilman Costa Constantinides has
called on the state to revoke the liquor
license of a “problematic” Steinway Street
bar and lounge, aft erweeks of crowded
barshave garnered a number of social distancing
and noise complaints from his
Th e Astoria councilman, a survivor of
COVID-19, released a statement over the
weekend saying “enough is enough,” calling
on state agencies tasked to handle
these issues to actually address them.
Constantinides asked the New York
State Liquor Authority (SLA) to revoke
the on-premise liquor license of Melody
Cafe and Restaurant, a bar and lounge
located at 25-95 Steinway St.
“Th is location has been in business for
quite some time and over the years it has
grown to be evermore problematic causing
more quality-of-life issues, especially
in terms of violent incidents amongst
patrons,” Constantinides wrote in a letter
Th e councilman cited 11 911 calls for
incidents that include assault, disputes,
and forcible touching at Melody since
July of 2019, as well as a reported shooting
incident in March of 2019 outside of
“It’s clear that this business has
failed in maintaining safety and
has become a magnet for bad
actors,” he wrote. “Moreover,
since the onset of the
COVID-19 pandemic the
location has become problematic
to neighbors in
terms of noise and large
crowds that fl out social
Th ere have been 22 311
service requests in recent
months regarding those
to his letter.
reached out to Melody Cafe and
Restaurant several times for comment but
was directed to a voicemail that is not set
up. QNS is also awaiting response
from SLA regarding the councilman’s
Prior to this call,
called on SLA to suspend
M.I.A. at 27-35 21st
St. due to 81 311 complaints
of disorderly conduct
dating back to July
2019 and a reported shooting
outside of the establishment.
On Tuesday, Gov.
Andrew Cuomo announced
M.I.A. was among two Astoria
bars and one pizza restaurant in
Maspeth that had their licenses indefi nitely
Cuomo’s response to businesses that
fail to control their environment is to
take away their liquor license, which cost
$4,300 per year.
On Tuesday, he said, “Th e bad operators
will make it worse for themselves and for the
good operators. I’ve spoken to many operators
who are doing the right thing and playing
by the rules. It’s unfortunate the good get
penalized for the actions of the bad.”
Constantinides echoed his sentiments.
“I take no joy in this, as many bars and
restaurants have struggled over the last
four months and deserve to make a livelihood
while keeping everyone safe,” he told
am New York Metro. “Bad actors have to
be held accountable, however, which is I
asked the SLA last week to revoke M.I.A.’s
liquor license. My offi ce received call aft er
call about their unsafe actions. We cannot
have people fl aunt the laws, endanger
the public, and risk ruining the reopening
for those who have followed the rules. I’m
glad to see the governor heard out call and
acted to root out those who don’t want to
be a community partner.”
QNS reached out to M.I.A. but was sent
straight to voicemail. We are awaiting a
response to an email inquiry.
was one of several New York City
hotspots for street parties held during the
weekend of July 17-19.
A fourth business on Long Island, the
Secrets Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park,
also had its liquor license pulled for similar
Both Astoria clubs, and Maspeth Pizza
House at 59-60 55th Road in Maspeth,
had their liquor licenses indefi nitely suspended
by the State Liquor Authority
(SLA) on July 21. Each business, Cuomo
said, had taken advantage of outdoor dining
rules during the COVID-19 pandemic,
serving alcohol to large numbers of
congregants gathered there.
“I’m sorry it’s come to this but it’s a dangerous
situation and I’ve said it many
many times,” the governor said during a
Tuesday conference call with the press.
“Th e bad operators will make it worse for
themselves and for the good operators.
I’ve spoken to many operators who are
doing the right thing and playing by the
rules. It’s unfortunate the good get penalized
for the actions of the bad.”
Th e SLA did not immediately respond
for further information about the suspensions.
According to City Councilman Costa
Constantinides, MIA had racked up 81
calls to 311 about disorderly conduct dating
back to July 2019. More recently, in
June, shots were reportedly fi red outside
the location along with other “violent
“I take no joy in this, as many bars
and restaurants have struggled over the
last four months and deserve to make a
livelihood while keeping everyone safe.
Bad actors have to be held accountable,
however, which is I asked the SLA last
week to revoke MIA’s liquor license,”
Constantinides said. “My offi ce received
call aft er call about their unsafe actions.
We cannot have people fl aunt the laws,
endanger the public, and risk ruining the
reopening for those who have followed
the rules. I’m glad to see the Governor
heard our call and acted to root out those
who don’t want to be a community partner.
” When reached for comment, an
employee for Brik bar and lounge hung
up the phone immediately. MIA’s contact
went straight to voicemail; we are
awaiting a response to an email inquiry.
Additionally, a Maspeth Pizza employee,
who responded to our phone call, said
someone would reply later.
Cuomo said there seemed to be a “disconnect”
among a number of bar owners
in New York who believed the expansion
of outdoor dining for restaurants gave
them the ability to set up a similar operation
at their shuttered taverns.
New York State liquor licenses cover
bars and restaurants equally; other states
have separate liquor licenses and related
conditions for these establishments. But
Cuomo said that the easing of outdoor
dining rules was not an authorization of
bars reopening for customers and permitting
During the COVID-19 pandemic, bars
were allowed to continue selling alcoholic
beverages to patrons who could pick them
up outside the establishment. However, the
bars are not allowed to let the patrons drink
there or on the street; the patrons had to
bring their orders home for consumption.
“We said outdoor dining was allowed,
and we facilitated that to restaurants,”
Cuomo said. “We didn’t authorize outside
drinking. Th e bars took this outdoor
dining as an opportunity to do outdoor
drinking, but that’s not what the regulations
intended, and this is now a signifi -
Bars remain off -limits to customers
as the state continues to deal with
the pandemic. Of the 66,000 COVID-19
tests conducted in New York on July 20,
Cuomo reported that the positive rate
came back at about 1.2 percent.
Additional reporting by Angélica
Courtesy of Constantinides’ offi ce
Brik Bar and Lounge in Astoria lost its liquor license on July 21, 2020.