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April 8, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
On March 4th, when the Poulakakos restaurant group presented to the CB1 for approval of a resolution in favor of their 4:00 AM liquor license at Pier A, Peter Poulakakos proudly stated that there were no other liquor licenses within 500 feet. This is important because the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will not allow a public hearing to debate a pending liquor license if there are not at least three existing liquor licenses within 500-feet of the new applicant.
BatteryPark.TV received training on navigating the SLA website. We have discovered that, in fact, there are eight liquor licenses within 500-feet of the Pier A restaurant at 22 Battery Place, zip code 10280. Several of them are “booze cruise” companies. The others are the Ritz-Carlton, Gigino, Osteria Casano, and “Just an Oven”.
Also, BP.TV has learned that the proximity of churches and schools to the address of a liquor license application is a very important factor. Although 200-feet is the typical cutoff parameter used by the SLA, “nearby” schools will get the attention of the SLA. In the case of the Pier A restaurant, the Jewish Museum and PS 276 are in close proximity, less than 500-feet away (Summary of 500 and 200 foot law for liquor licenses).
When the full CB1 officially voted on the Pier A liquor license resolution, they added a very unusually stipulation (see the actual CB1 resolution on Pier A liquor license). They allowed the 4:00 AM closing time, but only for a six-month trial period. The SLA could construe that as not a true resolution of endorsement, according to sources with experience challenging liquor licenses before the SLA.
During public hearings, the SLA board factors in the stewardship of the applicant over other liquor licenses they have operated. The Poulakakos group owns many establishments. Most recently, the SLA rejected their application for a nightclub on Bowery Street. Only after some lobbying (see video) did the SLA reverse that decision and grant them approval.
Of note, in the SLA hearing video, Mr. Poulakakos drops many names, including the fact that he has good relationships with “Wall Street”, and sits on the board of the Downtown Alliance with Goldman Sachs exclusives. BatteryPark.TV has previously pointed this out as a possible explanation for the aggressive expansion into BPC, following Goldman Sachs to their new neighborhood.