Booze Plans for Marina Concerns Baysiders

“Boating Under The Influence” – Isn’t that a wonderful concept? Another instance of Parks & Recreation at their best.

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Booze plans for marina concerns Baysiders
by Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor
11/13/2008
Plans for a new concessionaire at the Bayside Marina who could possibly sell alcoholic beverages have met with opposition from the community.
The city’s Parks Department issued a Request for Proposals recently that is due for submission on Nov. 26. The RFP states that alcoholic beverages may be served with the appropriate state license. Drinks would only be served in the immediate area and would have to be consumed on the premises.
Currently, only beer is sold at the marina’s snack bar. That concession has been run for 15 years by MDM Marina Corp., which is interested in keeping the business.
“Adding liquor there is an accident waiting to happen,” said Henry Euler, a member of Community Board 11’s Parks Committee.
Frank Skala, another C.B. 11 member, who attended a walk-through with Euler and people interested in gaining the concession last week, agreed. “Alcohol and boats don’t mix,” Skala said. “It’s not a good combination.”
C.B. 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld noted that although alcoholic beverages are mentioned in the RFP, the city has no intention of permitting liquor there. “I spoke to Alexander Han [of the Parks Department] and he understands the concerns,” she said.
Seinfeld added that potential operators make their own proposals and Parks looks them over and picks the best one and then tells exactly what it wants.
“The RFP opens up a variety of options,” she said. “But people are concerned about liquor. It’s not great with boats.”
The city’s proposal also calls for a major renovation to the snack bar, repairs the docks and making the marina into, “a first-class destination that draws visitors from all over the area.”
The marina has 70 parking slots and the city is looking for solutions aimed at easing parking congestion, although no expansion of the area will be allowed. In addition, the RFP seeks proposals that includes a storage area for kayaks and canoes.
Although the RFP says the snack bar is in need of major renovation, there are no suggestions that it will expand or become a destination restaurant. The lack of parking would make that impossible, according to Matty Castellano, manager of the current snack bar.
He confirmed that the business partners will reapply for the concession and plan to remodel the snack bar, get new Energy Star refrigeration and remove the counter. The facility currently has seating for 30.
“We won’t serve liquor,” Castellano added. “We serve beer by the cup and monitor it.”
The concessionaire is also responsible for maintaining the 120 moorings for boats and operating a launch to the anchored vessels.
The current operators also do some community service. Each year they work with the Bayside Anglers to provide a fishing derby for youngsters; hold a fishing school in August for adults and children; and with Alley Pond Environment Center, provide a launch for a bay tour once a year.
The concession contract ends Dec. 31. Since this is the off season, Parks is expected to make its decision by February before the season begins in March.
“This is the most beautiful spot in Queens,” Castellano said. “And for me, this has been the most fun to work here.”

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