Southern Brooklyn

Dionysus? Denied! Golden and Cymbrowitz Unite


With the influx of Sheepshead’s latest liquor establishments, Sheepshead Bay’s thirst for a frosty brew need not be quenched.

Senators Marty Golden (R) of Bay Ridge (aka the bar capital of Brooklyn) and Sheepshead’s Steven Cymbrowitz (D) fearing the decline of the mom-and-pop liquor store and the heightened teen accessibility to booze, united the unlikely pair in an effort to oppose Governor Paterson’s proposal to “legalize win sales in 19,000 new outlets.”

Although no one can predict how fast the Bay would be running to 7-11 for an ’85 Merlot, is there any real reason to increase the amount of places one can buy alcohol to begin with? According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 million deaths a year are attributed to alcohol usage, 1/3 of that alone being accidental. That’s not to mention the staggering rates of drunk driving in Sheepshead Bay.

With the State Liquor Authority having “only 38 inspectors statewide regulating 70,000 license holders,” Cymbrowitz notes that “To increase the inspection team’s workload by almost one-third is a recipe for disaster.”

We can already buy beer in corner stores and grocery stores have a less than humble selection of beer and prepackaged frou-frou drinks. Maybe a staggering four blocks seems like a ways away up in Albany, but down by the bay, our cup runneth over. Enough already.

Related articles:
Cymbrowitz Blasts Gov On New Booze Plan
Sheepshead Bay Is Sauced

Comment policy


  1. Ok all you Tea Party revelers. Is this another overreaching government intrusion into free market solutions? Is Big Brother too big? Should Liquor stores be shielded from competition?

  2. This sort of thing can spin your head. You got free market competition against protectionism for possibly afflicted businesses, and libertarianism against moralism. Oh, what fun!

  3. Though I've published more than a few articles against this now, personally, I think it's a silly situation.

    Bodegas already sell alcohol. Allowing them to sell a wider variety won't, in my opinion, alter the number of bodegas selling to underage customers, nor will it make it easier for drunk drivers to get booze. Again, the number of places selling alcohol will remain the same (at least initially).

    It will, of course, likely put the squeeze on many liquor stores, overall reducing the number of places alcohol is sold. So those bent on moralism should probably get behind the initiative.

    In reality, of course, the best solution is probably to sell all types of alcohol – beer and liquor – at liquor stores ONLY. That's the way it is in NJ, and when I went to college there I found it far more difficult to get booze (both underage and of age) than I ever have in NYC.

    But NY will never do that, because we already make a ton of money off of liquor licenses. And as we've seen, our legislature will never cut away a reliable revenue source, no matter how many problems it causes at the neighborhood level.

  4. The unfortunate reality is that many local stores survive because of the sale of beer and cigarettes. So as much as it might have some socially curative value it might mean the difference between marginally profitability and financial failure for some.But you are right,liquor stores would be more strict in their selling practices if they were the singular outlet for all alcoholic beverages.

    Some states place serious limitations on where tobacco products can be sold. Again, the state revenue pool would be diminished if such restrictions were put into places, and, as noted above, small store owners would be adversely affected. But enforcement would be much easier in both cases.

    Increasing license fees based on volume would, in the end, generate the same income for the state as before, and decrease administrative costs.

  5. I don't want to sound like a Yesman but I agree with Ned. If a store is already selling alcohol it shouldn't really matter much what kind it is selling. The distinction between Beer and Wine and hard Spirits is an artifact of 80 years ago. If a store is allowed to sell alcahol it should be allowed to sell all of it, especially since the rules of purchase are the same (21+).

    However, I should still point out, I strongly feel we shouldn't be adding NEW venues for people to purchase alcohol.


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