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Lounge 47 license raises ire at CB 2

Complaints about loud patrons at Lounge 47 on Vernon Boulevard were met with a customer’s story of being hosed down by a neighbor as Community Board 2 grappled with a spate of liquor license applications on the Long Island City thoroughfare.

On the block between 47th Avenue and 47th Road, there was a combination of five existing licenses and license applications, CB 2 members noted at the July 14 hearing.

“Vernon Boulevard has certainly come of age,” Conley said, warning that the board would probably see another four or five applications by this time next year.

The board heard applications from Manducati Rustica, LIC Restaurant and Tenaccio. Lounge 47 has requested a license transfer. Conley said the restaurant’s prospective buyer has not been available to discuss noise problems because his mother died in Ireland. The CB 2 Public Safety and City Services Committee will make its recommendations on the applications at the next full board meeting in September.

With so many applications, Conley said, the trick was to come up with a policy for deciding which establishments to endorse and which establishments to request a 500-foot hearing for. The State Liquor Authority’s 500-foot rule requires a hearing to determine whether granting an applicant a license would be for the good of the community if the establishment is within 500 feet of three or more other liquor-serving businesses.

“We have to be applying the same rules to everybody,” he said, noting some applicants, like Manducati Rustica owner Gianna Carbone, have lived in the neighborhood all their lives.

Committee Chairman Patrick O’Brien said the board’s approach is to get business owners to agree to specify the hours in which they serve alcohol. Those who cooperate are more likely to get the board’s backing.

“If the hours are stipulated in the license, the SLA will enforce it,” O’Brien said.

Residents enthusiastically supported a liquor license for Carbone’s Italian restaurant, noting she closes early in the evening and does not cater to the bar crowd. But they were less enthusiastic about other establishments on the boulevard, especially Lounge 47.

“When I hear from Kenny Greenberg that people are having sex on his front stoop at 3 in the morning and I hear there are people wandering all up 50th Street, I take notice,” Conley said.

But Lounge 47 supporters fought back against neighbors’ complaints at the meeting. Patron Sharon Redman said one evening she was sprayed by a hose from the other side of the backyard fence, and Conley laid out some of the complaints he had heard about neighbors’ retaliatory efforts.

“Recordings made of people’s conversations being played backi Illegal,” Conley said. “Signs being put upi Illegal.”

Seamus McEntire said he is now the sole owner of Lounge 47 and denied that there was any prospective buyer.

“I’m not in it for the quick buck, because there’s no quick buck to be made in the bar business anymore,” he said.

McEntire said the business he gets from the garden section is essential to his bottom line, but said his revenue is 85 percent food and 15 percent liquor. Neighbors said the garden section does close on time.

The board also heard a dissenting opinion from Brett Banchek, 31, who lives in one of the Queens West towers. Banchek condemned many Vernon Boulevard residents for what he called “borderline bigotry” toward newer residents and new businesses.

“If these restaurants move out, we’re going to move out,” he said. “We don’t want to go to Manhattan or Williamsburg every time we want to go out.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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