DeBlasio: ‘Booze cruise’ boats will be shipped out of Sheepshead Bay

Ship shape: Mayor DeBlasio, with microphone, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay) share a light moment with Sheepshead Bay residents at a town hall Thursday night discussing party boat activity in the area.
Photo by Jon Farina

Party off!

Controversial party boats that attract raucous crowds at Emmons Avenue piers in Sheepshead Bay will be shipped off to a new berth at season’s end, Mayor DeBlasio declared at a town hall meeting in the once-quaint fishing village last night.

“I know there’s been some real concern about late-night activity, that’s very disruptive and does not belong in a residential neighborhood,” Hizzoner said during the gathering at the Connie Lekas School on Avenue Y between Haring and Batchelder streets. “Everyone has a right to enjoy a party boat, just not in the middle of a residential neighbored in the middle of the night. So we’re going to make a change. This current party boat season is about to end, we will over the winter, find a new location for the late night part boats away.”

Locals have been complaining for years about the so-called “booze cruises” wreaking havoc because of the late night loud noise, fights, trash left behind the next morning, and increased congestion. The quality-of-life problems slightly improved in 2015 after Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) proposed legislation to ban the liquor-slinging vessels from the pier, but things took a turn for the worse this summer — prompting Deutsch to draft his own bill that would limit the number of boats by requiring they provide enough parking for guests.

Skippers have fought back against the boat-banners, accusing them of being bigoted since most of the party-boat passengers are black.

DeBlasio didn’t specify where the boats would dock next summer — some locals have pitched moving them to the federally run Canarsie Pier — but so long as they are out of the bay, that is good enough, said a board member of the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association, who has been fighting the boats for years.

Come sail away: The mayor, seen here in this file photo, promised to get “booze cruise” boats out of Sheepshead Bay.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

“I’m very happy. I think they might take our suggestion and make them pick up passengers as Canarsie Pier,” said Tom Paolillo of the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association. “It’s a viable alternative, which allows the boats to stay docked in the bay but pick up their passengers where there’s ample parking. I think that would be great.”

DeBlasio, who was joined by Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), also discussed a handful of other quality-of-life issues, including a promise to improve the district’s roadways, parks, and schools, along with the following:

• Hizzoner announced that the Department of Environmental Protection would deploy skimmer vessels twice a year to clean the trash that builds up in the Sheepshead Bay inlet.

• DeBlasio pledged to spend $20 million for improvements to the medians along Kings Highway between E. 23th and E. 27th streets.

• He doubled-down on his efforts to bring Russian-speaking translators into the poll sites on election days.

• He announced a clean-up of graffiti along Sheepshead Bay Road, Coney Island Avenue, and Avenue Z.

Lights and sirens: Party boat passengers broke out into a fight late at night on Aug. 6.
Photo by Mark Mellone

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

More from Around New York