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Knockdown Center takes home liquor license

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The controversial Knockdown Center in Maspeth succeeded in its second attempt to get a liquor license.

The State Liquor Authority approved a liquor license last week for the arts center at 52-19 Flushing Ave. Last year the center’s application to serve alcohol at concerts and art shows was rejected due to community resistance.

But the license comes with demands. The Knockdown Center will have to reduce its capacity from 3,100 to 1,800 during events at which alcohol is served. In addition, the management was forced to decrease the number of events from 18 to 12 per year.

Many of the demands are the result of Maspeth and Glendale community leaders working with the Knockdown Center’s management. Last year, the community rejected the center’s request to serve alcohol at music shows and events. But the center kicked off a campaign this year to improve its image to the surrounding community.

“It is not dark, seedy or unsafe,” said Tyler Myers, a member of the center’s staff. “We do not take the responsibility we ask for lightly and we do not take the community it is in for granted.”

Maspeth residents first objected to the venue in August 2012, when the former glass factory was turned into a music hall. But community members have been swayed by the center’s management.

“During the events hosted by the Knockdown Center, their employees are constantly seen outside the venue maintaining order on the entry lines, removing trash as it accumulates and collecting any litter dropped by persons waiting to gain entry,” the former commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, Christopher Manson, wrote in an open letter to the state agency that controls liquor licenses.

In the same letter to the state, residents like Robert Holden , president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, urged the state agency to follow certain requirements, like the reduction in maximum capacity. Other community demands that were incorporated into the license include beefed-up security, a shuttle bus to take people straight from the center to train stations and a ban on artists with a history of protests outside their events or a history of violence at their events. The State Liquor Authority incorporated many of these things.

If any of these rules are broken, the license can be revoked.

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewicz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 12:00 am, June 26, 2015
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