You are reading

Elected Officials Voice Opposition to Proposed Liquor Store, Too Close to Astoria Houses and Rehabilitation Center

8-23 Astoria Blvd. (Google Maps July 2018)

Dec. 21, 2018 By Christian Murray

A liquor store operator with a checkered history is about to face fierce opposition as he attempts to open a new store by Astoria Houses.

Xiao Wang, who operated the now-shuttered Baba Wine & Liquor at 3-15 27th Ave., plans to open a liquor store at 8-23 Astoria Blvd., next door to a facility that treats veterans with alcohol and substance addictions. The site, formerly used by a church, is also near Astoria Houses, the large public housing development.

Wang is going before the State Liquor Authority on Jan. 9, 2019, in his quest to get a license, the agency said. He filed for the license on Aug. 20 under the name “Vernon Wine & Liquor,” an entity that is not related to a liquor store by that name at 50-06 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City.

Council Member Costa Constantinides has written a strongly-worded letter to the SLA in opposition to Wang’s application.

“I strongly believe a business established with the main driving purpose of selling alcohol would be a detriment to the surrounding community, which includes a veterans-focused rehabilitation facility and a public housing complex,” Constantinides’ letter reads. “For the applicant to disregard its proximity to such a center is a sign of arrogance, selfishness and toxic hubris.”

The SLA has also received a letter from Assembly Member Cathy Nolan in opposition to the application, according to Bill Crowley, a spokesperson for the SLA. Her letter stated that Reality House—the rehabilitation center next door—was also against it.

Community Board 1 has not weighed in on it, according to Florence Koulouris, CB1’s district manager. She said that the board was not notified of the application.

Costa Constantinides

Liquor store operators are not required to notify community boards when they apply for a liquor license, Crowley said. The requirement only pertains to entities that serve alcohol on site.

Crowley said that Wang’s previous liquor store ran afoul of the law in July 2017.

Wang was fined $20,000 for selling liquor that had not been purchased from a licensed wholesaler and for not allowing an inspector onto his premises during normal business hours.

Wang was unable to be reached for comment.

Crowley said that Wang’s past offenses and the letters in opposition would be taken into consideration at next month’s hearing.

Meanwhile, Constantinides plans to put pressure on the SLA until the agency rejects it.

“The Council Member is ready to hold the SLA accountable,” said Terence Cullen, a spokesperson for Constantinides. “This is what the SLA is there for—to protect the neighborhood.”

Wang’s previous location at 3-15 27th Ave. (Google)

email the author:


Click for Comments 
Earl bigglesworth

is the hearing open to the public? id like to go put my two cents in, where it would count. Also those bodegas already sell beer. And there is a liquor store 100 yards west of that place across from the library. I don’t see the fixed income of the projects making that place a cash cow based off of some Georgi and MD 20/20!

Pat McNamara

Nothing smarter than having a drug rehab right next to the projects. What is the owner’s checkered history? Costa needs to worry about why Steinway street is a filthy ghost town. Talk about hubris…


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

NYPD searching for burglary crew that targeted nearly 30 laundromats in Queens and others in Brooklyn and the Bronx

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst are looking for three masked men who broke into Susan’s Laundromat at 85-12 Grand Ave. at around 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 24, while a fourth member of their crew acted as a lookout near their getaway car parked in front.

The burglars stole $1,800 in cash and removed a payment machine for the laundry room continuing an undetermined amount of cash.

Law enforcement ghost car crackdowns continue with dozens of vehicles seized on Whitestone Bridge: MTA

MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers, the NYPD and law enforcement partners impounded 55 vehicles from motorists crossing into Queens on the Whitestone Bridge on Monday, July 8, as a multi-agency crackdown continued unabated.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday that through 25 joint enforcement operations focusing on ghost plates and persistent toll violators on bridges and tunnels throughout New York City, 1,540 vehicles have been impounded, 339 arrests have been made and 12,007 summonses have been issued so far this year to drivers who owe more than $12.5 million in unpaid tolls and fees.