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Astoria Bar Suspended from City’s Curbside Dining Program After Crowds Swarm Street

Brik Steinway (Photo: Twitter @Michelina9093)

July 20, 2020 By Allie Griffin

An Astoria bar and lounge has been booted from the city’s curbside dining program after crowds of customers swarmed the street out front with little to no concern for social distancing rules.

The city has suspended Brik Astoria, located at 32-16 Steinway St., from its outdoor dining program for seven days after dozens of videos and complaints surfaced over the weekend showing a clear lack of social distancing among patrons.

The lounge cannot set up tables and chairs in curbside street parking areas for one week and must submit a social distancing plan to the city to resume operations.

Brik Astoria is the only establishment that the city has suspended from the program thus far, according to City Hall.

Videos from this weekend show massive crowds of people — many without face masks — dancing and singing in the middle of Steinway Street. One video shows two people climbing up a moving ice cream truck.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the crowding “unacceptable” on Saturday afternoon and warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not over.

“New Yorkers have made too many sacrifices to fight COVID-19,” he Tweeted. “We can’t let up now.”

By the following evening, de Blasio had taken a stronger stance, Tweeting “Party’s over.”

“Dedicated sheriff patrols will be on Steinway until further notice,” he wrote. “They’ll enforce closing times, issue summonses and work with the NYPD to keep the roadways clear.”

Astoria Council Member Costa Constantinides called the crowds on Steinway Street Friday night “an embarrassment.”

He issued a strongly-worded statement Saturday, condemning the bars and residents responsible and city agencies for a lack of enforcement.

“For the last week, we have seen a select few bars think they can flaunt every rule in the book while the City agencies tasked with enforcing them sit idly by,” Constantinides said.

“Our streets have descended into pure mayhem, the threat of COVID-19 spreading is dangerously high, and Astoria residents are rightfully furious at the relentless noise that goes into the early hours of the morning.”

He said Astoria has descended into “complete chaos” and that a few bars have turned the neighborhood into “one giant resort bar.”

Constantinides alerted the mayor’s office, the governor’s office and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) as well, he said.

“Every business that flouts the rules has to be shut down — period.”

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a ‘Three Strikes and You’re Closed’ initiative in which any establishment that receives three violations will be closed down.

This morning, he responded to the chaotic scene along Steinway Street on Twitter, but didn’t say whether the state or SLA would reprimand Brik Astoria or other bars along the strip.

“This is not NY Tough and it sure isn’t NY Smart,” he wrote.

He told the young people partying to “don’t be stupid” at a press briefing this morning and warned that the state could roll back its reopening plan by closing bars and restaurants if the lack of social distancing continues at such establishments.

Cuomo said the local governments must enforce the requirements.

De Blasio also said last week that the cases of COVID-19 are rising among New Yorkers in their 20s — and bar hopping could be a cause.

Council Member Constantinides, who was previously hospitalized for COVID-19 himself, called out young adults partying through the night on the Astoria block.

“To those out there partying until sunrise, stop,” he said. “COVID-19 is still a serious threat, and just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re invincible.”

He warned that they could pass the deadly virus to others who are more vulnerable.

The Council Member also added that Astoria residents deserve to walk down clean streets safely and go to bed without it sounding like a carnival outside.

“I am sorry that has been taken away from them this week, but we are working to ensure they are afforded that basic right.”

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40 Comments

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Diane

“‘Rona” isn’t over by any means and we were not at herd immunity months ago. The first wave isn’t over yet and a second will probably hit in the fall with behavior like this. The police need to enforce the rules on these cafes/restaurants and people – everyone, all ages – need to understand the basics. Wearing a mask protects others and you too. It’s been proven now that a mask wearer who is exposed to the virus is likely to get an a-symptomatic infection, which is less serious. And if they’re a mask wearer already, the chances of spreading it is much lower. Read the science !

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Bill

“zero risk,” eh? Tell that to the relatives of the 141,000 people who have already died fro COVID-19. If you are indeed a “sensible man,” I suggest you make sure you have health insurance. Then again, why would you need it since you are at zero risk?

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Gia

Most of the people complaining about the above crowd in particular are the same people from Astoria that were marching with them up and down steinway last month. Its hysterical.

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Frida

Its like they are punishing the places where most fellow Astorians like to hang out. Its discrimination.

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Sara Ross

Some people who live in Astoria and LIC are the selfih 20-35 year olds who think they’re immune from covid and everything else in life. They’re spoiled brats who can’t do anything without technology, can’t talk without so, like, uh and you know. Because of them restaurants will have to close and maybe even close forever. The owners have got to start protecting their livelihood and their employees.

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ASensibleMan

The vast majority of these people, being young, are at zero risk from the ‘Rona, which is over in New York anyway since we were at herd immunity months ago. The lockdowns should have been totally ended back in May. The street behavior you see is a direct response to an incredibly stupid and totally ignorant government policy. How long can you keep people locked up?

Open the bars and restaurants now. The street behavior will stop. There won’t be another “wave” of deaths because the virus has already killed nearly everyone it’s going to kill. It’s over.

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Louisa

It took a weekend of rap music to get the police to the scene, shut one place down and for the newcomers and dig owners in the area to complain.

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Patricia

This has been happening on most major avenues in Astoria since the Spring. Some og the same restaurants that donated meals to healthcare workers and first responders are trying to make sure they give them all more to do now by encouraging large crowds through social media and ignoring social distancing guidelines. Most never cared about the essential workers or the Astoria community. It was all for social media publicity.

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Astoria Native

Instead of only targeting Steinway, which by the way is nothing new it’s always been like that. As an Astoria native and living here in my hometown for over 30yrs this does not surprise me. But what about also looking Into 30ave bars and cafe’s which always has been like that too, and now Ditmars Blvd strip is becoming a mini 30ave and a Steinway Jr. How about checking that out.

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Louis Bauso

We are all aware that we have been locked down since mid March. However it’s been for our own good. We live in a new world today, and our health going forward is paramount. All must be smart and considerate of others and ease back into socializing. You must crawl before you can run. Restaurants like bric should have know better and set a proper example. Now they are the example of what should not be done. Brik brought this problem on by themselves and should know better. They let customers quickly get out of control. And could not regain order. They can only blame themselves. TOO BAD.

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Joe Zullo

Wow. I’d had the idea that the booming Astoria nightlife scene was propelled by hip young upscale professionals. Maybe I’m watching the wrong video. Just looks like an unsophisticated overcrowded assembly set to bad reggaeton. Who knew?

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Steven

Yep, this is Astoria now. The neighborhood changed dramatically in less than a year. I hear that junk music every 10 mins all night from passing cars. I guess they think everybody should listen to this music during sleep so they drive through the neighborhoods.

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Geo

Glad you finally woke up Costas. This garbage behavior hs been plaguing the Astoria Park area for years and now covid has made it worse. Costas and Aravella (whose staff cant be bothered to respond to complaints) have been sleeping on the job.

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Bill

So why are Cuomo and DB moving to Phase 4? They should see what has been happening with Phase 3. I understand their solution is to hand out free masks which these party goers won’t wear. In addition, why wasn’t Brik totally shut down? This is nuts and it’s spreading, the length of Steinway and Grand Avenue. Now watch our coronavirus rates spike here in Astoria and the entire city!

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Anonymous

You’re absolutely right Bill. The patrons of Brik, Fusion, Melody, and the rest of Steinway were predominantly from outside of Astoria. Let’s say they’re from the Bronx…they partied in Astoria, went back home to the Bronx. Got sick, infected a bunch more, now there’s a spike in the BX, and the headlines will call out how “lower income” neighborhoods are being hit hard by Covid and nothing is being done to help. No one will talk about how it got there and how they were essentially playing Russian roulette. Let’s send more tax dollars and more funding to these hard hit areas. Then maybe they’ll get better and start the process all over again

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CRS

What is so frustrating is that the more this type of behavior, the more it delays everyone from getting back to a more normal life. The vast majority of people are sacrificing fully enjoying their lives for the betterment of all.

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Eddie G

To whoever the Council Members are, what about Northern Blvd, between 86 and 89 streets, is carnival time every night, loud music, cars blasting their music can be heard from blocks away, public drinking in the sidewalks, this new city rule enacted trying to help the restaurant and bar business has converted the boroughs in small Bourbon Streets Mardi-Gras style, quality life has deteriorated, they have to re-think this rule.

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Disgusted Citizen

Just call it a protest which is permitted regardless of how many people are there. PROBLEM SOLVED!

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jhoe

Blame the mayor for not applying the rules evenly. One for protesters and one for everyone else. That causes to people to not take it seriously.

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Margery Spagnoletti

There should be enforcement, but for serving drinks to customers who are waiting for a table should not be one to be enforced.

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Anonymous

It kills me to see this crap but kills me even more that our well compensated elected officials are so damn blind to this crap. How are they so blind that they are only hearing about it now!!! The shock and disbelief in their statements are not genuine. It shows how blind and out of touch Costa and the rest of the New Democratic socialists machine is. These are “astoria” people who have no clue about what’s going on. Lastly, why are the police taking action now as well? We’re they instructed to stand down? Did they not care and are complacent? Everything is broken and somehow it should/ needs to get fixed.

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Astoria mediocrity on display

Be relieved that Costa didn’t win his BP race. I have personally made multiple calls to his office about this since May with NO response. And almost everyone I know in Astoria has a ‘I called Costas office and was ignored/they never got back to me story.’ Everyone who wants to crown him as an exciting new flavor of progressive needs to look at his track record of absolute mediocrity.

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Isaac Chiang

The punishment is way too light, it’s a slap on the wrist. We work too hard to get the stats down, don’t want to see another spike and more people dying.

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Isaac

The punishment is way too light, it’s a slap on the wrist. We work too hard to get the stats down, don’t want to see another spike and more people dying.

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G

I was born and raised in Astoria … these newcomers have no respect for the quality the neighborhood used to be …

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JM

7 days is not enough!!!we should make an example from this bar and make sure no other bars even think about letting this happen!This is Disgusting its like all the animals were let out of the zoo? Where do these people live? No respect for our residents and families in the neighborhood that are trying to sleep!

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Geo

If I owned a bar on Steinway I would have shut down immediately to save my livlihood from these sickos and the inevitable fines that will be incurred. He would have saved money by closing early. This man is blaming non-customers..:ok, but you still stayed open knowing there would be confusion. It is his fault no matter how hebspuns it. He got cocky, stayed open and is now paying the price.

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Ed Babcock

Brick Astoria could have hardly been solely at fault since the disturbances continued for at least two more nights. What about that much bigger place across the street from them? I think the state owes Brick story an apology and maybe compensation.

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Sunnysideluvr

Where are all the mask ambassadors? They would’ve shut this down immediately. And all the patrons would have obliged without question, hesitation or resistance.

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