Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz reintroduced legislation on June 2 that would ban notoriously noxious “booze cruises” from the Emmons Avenue piers, but it failed again to come to a vote.
The pol commended the skippers last year for a calmer start to the summer after residents had complained the year before about excessive loud noise, traffic, and trash from the party boats — but it’s been anything but smooth sailing this season, said his chief of staff during a Sheepshead Bay Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting on June 6.
“It’s gotten out of hand, the number of complaints we’ve been getting is a lot more,” said Lenny Markh. “We understand the situation is a bit different, so the Assemblyman put in that legislation again to — if it becomes necessary — we would be able to act on it and pursue it further.”
Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) first introduced the legislation in 2015, and state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Sheepshead Bay) co-sponsored the bill in the upper chamber, but it never made it out of the Transportation Committee. The bill — which would prohibit party boats from going within 750 feet of the Sheepshead Bay shore or 100 feet of the Parks Department-owned dock — was again referred to the committee this month, according to Cymbrowitz’s office. But this year’s session ended for the summer on June 21 without acting on it, so the bill is dead until next year.
Savino supports the legislation, but did not add her name as a co-sponsor this term, and said she is trying to work with residents to curb the problems, she said.
Most locals are in favor of a ban, arguing that the seaside neighborhood has always been a quaint fishing village and that’s the way it should stay.
“I would support it, because I don’t think that it’s in line with the values of the neighborhood,” said one local familiar with the boating community but who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s one thing if these people just went out and had their cruise and enjoyed their cruise, but what happens is intoxication levels, they come out, they fight, they throw garbage at all hours, they are disrupting an entire neighborhood, the fishing boats don’t have that problem.”
And the flood of passengers waiting to board and get off the boats — which often exceeds 1,000 people at a time — prevents patrons from sitting down for a quiet meal at any of the local restaurants because there’s simply nowhere to park, said Tom Paolillo, a board member of the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association.
“On weekends, Emmons Avenue is a gridlock, nobody can get to the restaurants, nobody can park, nobody can do anything,” he said. “We’re a fishing village, we want to preserve the fishing boat business in Sheepshead Bay. I grew up here, I’ve been living here, and it’s always been a fishing village, not a booze-cruise village.”
The local precinct, elected officials, the Parks Department, and boat captains met two weeks ago for a private meeting to discuss the quality of life problems plaguing the neighborhood — and the Parks Department will continue to monitor the docks for safety and efficiency, an agency spokeswoman said.