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Police boats! More cops to patrol Emmons Ave. for booze cruises

Set sail: One of the party boats docked at Sheepshead Bay pier.
Brooklyn Daily
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They’re adding more pier pressure!

There will be more boots on the ground patrolling Emmons Avenue during peak times for party boats this summer. Local leaders and the boating community have tried to work out the issues of the notoriously noxious so-called booze cruises, but this season has the neighborhood up in arms, said a local pol, who announced the additional cops last week.

“While issues associated with the party boats have waxed and waned over the years, this particular season has seen a marked increase in the level of frustration we’re experienci­ng,” said Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay). “There are more boats here, and therefore more people are boarding and disembarking at the same time, not to mention looking for parking in a neighborhood where parking is a tremendous problem to begin with.”

Cymbrowitz and the 61st Precinct’s commanding officer Captain James King worked together to send more men and women in blue, along with additional traffic agents, to keep an eye on the hundreds of passengers boarding and getting off the large liquor-slinging vessels on the weekends.

The officers will be out in force Fridays through Sundays to monitor the heavy traffic flows and congestion, double parking, illegal tailgate parties, and address the slew of other quality-of life issues that plague the once-quaint fishing village during the summer months, said Cymbrowitz before things get out of hand.

“It’s issues like these — where frustration can lead to anger and potentially something worse — that make increased police attention a necessity,” he said. “Everyone feels the pain equally. We want to keep everyone safe. That’s our first priority. I’m hopeful that stepped up enforcement will help for the remainder of this summer season, but next year isn’t far off.”

Last month, Cymbrowitz re-introduced legislation in Albany he first proposed back in 2015 to ban the party boats from the Parks Department-owned piers in Sheephead Bay, but it won’t go anywhere until the legislature reconvenes next year. And skippers have continuously fought back, saying the move to ban the booze cruises is bigoted since most of the boat passengers are black.

But locals argue it has nothing to do with race — it’s simply about obeying the law, according a board member of the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association, who hopes the increased officers will at least help the severe congestion along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare.

“The media is twisting this whole thing into a racial issue. It’s not a racial issue, they’re breaking the law and getting away with it,” said Tom Paolillo. “I think that they will just be able to at least prevent Emmons Avenue from being clogged with the traffic.”

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