Parks Department moving ‘booze cruises’ out of Sheepshead Bay
Mill Basin, Sunset Park will suffer, says local pols
The city is being hailed in Sheepshead Bay for a plan to scatter the Emmons Avenue “booze cruise” business — but the plan has enraged lawmakers in the other Brooklyn neighborhoods that will soon host the floating bacchanal.
The Parks Department confirmed that all six boats, which have been picking up and dropping off passengers on Emmons Avenue for years, will be relocated, with three going to Mill Basin next month and three to the Brooklyn Army Terminal once repairs at the piers there are completed in September.
The copious liquor served on the so-called “booze cruises” leads to problems when drunk passengers disembark and brawl, argue, urinate and litter, Sheepshead Bay residents and business owners said.
The city tried to deal with the problem in September by barring boats from leaving port after 11 p.m., but it was not enough to halt complaints from residents. Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay) said he’s happy with the city plan to exile the boats entirely.
“[The] arrangement … allows the party boat owners to continue to operate their businesses, whilst ensuring that the safety and security of community residents and visitors is not compromised,” Deutsch said.
Lawmakers in Mill Basin, however, offered a shot across the city’s bow.
“There was no confirmation from the mayor’s office of whether an environmental impact study was done … nor were any of the elected officials made aware of the possible relocation to the Mill Basin area until the apparent unilateral decision was made by the mayor’s office,” Assemblymember Jaime Williams told Bklyner.
Moving the boats to Mill Basin doesn’t eliminate the problems, but only shifts them to another neighborhood, added Councilmember Alan Maisel, who told KingsCountyPolitics.com that the area lacks adequate parking and that quality of life for residents and businesses will be ruined.
Maisel’s best evidence comes from the business owners in Sheepshead Bay, who have complained about the boats for years.
“They create a mess in the area,” said Peter Katchtis, owner of Yiasou, a Greek seafood restaurant on Emmons Avenue.
He also said the party boats, which serve food, are hurting his business.
“These boats carry 300-400 people. The people come with their cars and park their cars before they get on the boat. They’re taking up all the parking spaces. My customers can’t find parking,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The party boats leave every 15 to 20 minutes on different short cruises around Sheepshead Bay, Gateway National Park, Coney Island and the Rockaway Peninsula.
Even an operator of the boats says they make significant waves in a community.
“If a boat has 400 people and it makes different runs, that means you have hundreds of people on the boats and hundreds of other people waiting near the dock to board the boat for the next run,” Fred Ardolino, a dinner cruise entrepreneur himself, told the Eagle.
Ardolino’s boat, Atlantis, does corporate cruises, though mostly out of Manhattan.
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