Community board votes against liquor license for gay bar near schools in Hell’s Kitchen

October 06, 2011 02:08PM

Community Board 4 last night voted against a liquor license for
Boxers, a gay bar that wants to open a new location at 766 10th Avenue,
near P.S. 111 and the Sacred Heart of Jesus School,
DNAinfo reported. The bar’s owners said that the new location would
not violate a state statute prohibiting bars from being within 200 feet
of a school’s entrance. But for many of the residents in the area, it
was not enough that the owners planned to open a liquor-free taco shop
in the side of the building facing the Sacred Heart School.

“The issue at hand is location,” said Stephen Belida, co-chair of the
West 50th-51st Street Block association. “No matter how it’s packaged,
this Location On 10th Avenue is a school yard.” Supporters said the
bar, which already has a location at 37 West 20th Street, has been
committed to the community and is a tame space.

Some participants of the meeting accused each other of
homophobia.”These kids are curious. They’ll want to look into this,
they’re going to go in there,” said Nivia Cefello, who has lived in
the area for 65 years. “I’m upset they can meet these people.” But Joe
Restuccia, a board member, said he was gay and was just opposed to the
liquor license due its proximity to the schools.

The board voted to write a letter to the State Liquor Authority,
asking it to deny Boxers’ liquor license, but still commending its
owners for their outreach. The SLA does not have to follow the
community board’s recommendation, which is advisory. [DNAinfo]