Booze boat backlash

Set sail: One of the party boats docked at Sheepshead Bay pier.
Brooklyn Daily
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Oh buoy, not again!

The city must crack down on the party boats cruising in and out of Sheepshead Bay for the upcoming summer season because residents are fed up with trash left behind the next morning, loud noise late at night, and increased parking problems in an already parking-starved neighborhood, locals say.

“Sheepshead Bay becomes inundated with double parking. These people that go on dump a lot of garbage all over Sheepshead Bay — you can’t believe the trash,” said one local familiar with the boating community but who asked to remain anonymous. “Sheepshead Bay has no capability to deal with this capacity.”

The boozey bashes, which set sail from the Emmons Avenue piers for Manhattan with hundreds of passengers, have plagued the former fishing neighborhood for years.

Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) even proposed legislation in 2015 to ban the liquor-slinging vessels from the pier, but skippers fought back, accusing the boat-banners of racism, since most of the party-boat passengers are black. The bill never reached a vote in the chamber, and Cymbrowitz applauded the captains in 2016 for a calm start to the summer.

But things haven’t gotten better — trash piles up at the pier between Ocean Avenue and E. 26th Street, and passengers treat the neighborhood with disrespect when they pregame for the cruise during tailgates on residential streets, said one nearby resident at a Community Board 15 meeting last month.

“We are having a little problem with this tailgating in front of our homes, not only the mess, of course, of the obvious, and the food and the drinks all over the street, but people parking in your driveways and urinating in your front yard,” said Jack Spadaro. “It’s getting worse, it’s not getting better.”

And the nearby restaurants opposite Emmons Avenue are frustrated with the hundreds of passengers taking up parking spots that should be left for loyal restaurant-goers, according to the owner of Yiasou.

“Seven, eight years ago, they never were here, this port was for fishing boats — for fisherman —but lately they take it out from Manhattan and they bring heavy traffic on the weekend in summer time. That’s our problem, the area doesn’t have enough parking, not enough parking for the restaurants,” said Peter Katsichtis. “Our biggest problem is the parking we have no parking. They do noise but our biggest problem is the traffic.”

Twenty boats currently dock along the Emmons Avenue piers, though two will be departing this summer, according to information from Parks Department, which has jurisdiction over the piers and issues permits for the boats to dock. Quiet times commence at 10 pm on weekdays, and at midnight on the weekends, and boats cannot depart during quiet times, but locals say party boats routinely flout the rules.

The Parks Department does monitor the boats to ensure they comply with the regulations, said a spokeswoman for the agency.

“Parks has a significant amount of rules and regulations in place to keep our docks and waters safe for everyone,” she said. “Parks works closely with NYPD to monitor the docks.”

The local pol is aware of the concerns and is working with the local precinct to monitor the piers, said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay).

“I spoke to the 61st Precinct, they told me they will be monitoring when the boats depart and the boats arrive,” he said. “They are anticipating once the season begins. And again, I’m very accessible — if anyone has complaints they should reach out to my office.”

And the precinct will keep a close eye on the pier, said a spokesman for the police department.

“The 61 Precinct Commanding Officer and his staff have established a relationship with the businesses and boat operators who dock on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay,” the spokesman said. “The Commanding Officer will continue to maintain this relationship over the coming summer months, during which time the precinct will be provided with docking schedules in order to establish a police presence in the area at the appropriate times.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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