CB3 to Discuss Impacts of Liquor License Saturation on the Lower East Side

Posted on: September 7th, 2017 at 9:34 am by

Pianos at peak crowding, June 2015

Next week, Community Board 3 will attempt a discussion on the linkage between alcohol density on the Lower East Side and adverse impacts upon both local public health and safety. The event is billed as a “Special Agenda Item Notice” and falls under the Transportation, Public Safety, and Environment subcommittee

This conversation is especially significant when considering the nightlife zone referred to as “Hell Square,” where embattled residents must contend with the constant ebb and flow of drunken humanity. The situation is nothing new and seemingly worsens with time. There are over 130 active on-premise liquor licenses in the 24-block area bounded by East Houston, Allen, Broome, and Clinton Streets, translating to approximately 11.5 bars per block. This gives the tiny quadrant the distinction of having the highest density of licenses in New York City.

In the recent study by the Hunter College and the LES Dwellers block association, findings showed a direct relationship between density of nightlife in Hell Square, and crime, perceptions of public safety, and quality-of-life issues.

Below is the official announcement passed around to CB3 members:

At its September 2017 meeting, Community Board 3’s Transportation, Public Safety & Environment Committee will be investigating the link between alcohol outlet density (the number of alcohol serving establishments within a limited geographic area) and adverse effects on local public health and public safety.

The Committee’s primary focus will be on if existing data establishes such a link and, in the event such a link exists, if CB3 should take any future actions based upon the data (potentially with the State Liquor Authority, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and/or New York City’s incoming “night Mayor”).

To guide us through the discussion, the committee will hear presentations from Robert Pezzolesi, MPH, the Founding Director of the New York Alcohol Policy Alliance, and Professor Sigmund Shipp, Director of Hunter College’s undergraduate urban student program, along with two Hunter graduate students who recently authored a report on the link between alcohol outlet density and public health/public safety in an area of the Lower East Side that has a particularly high concentration of alcohol serving establishments.

In connection with the presentations, the Committee is interested in hearing from community members’ and organizations’ about their perceptions of any link (or lack thereof) between the number of alcohol serving establishments in your neighborhoods and declining or improving local health and safety conditions. Please join us.

The meeting is Tuesday, September 12, at 6:45pm, Downtown Art (70 East 4th Street).

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