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Bon Voyage! Party boats to leave Sheepshead Bay for good

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They’re finally going to shove off!

The infamous booze cruises are finally getting the heave-ho from Sheepshead Bay, and even though the mayor’s promise to remove all the party boats before this summer was only half-kept, the pols pushing for the change rejoiced at the news.

“This is a long-awaited, gratifying victory for a community that has put up with numerous quality-of-life and public-safety issues for many years,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay).

Cymbrowitz and Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), who has also worked on the party boat issue, announced on April 24 that the party boats would be leaving the otherwise sleepy seaside community in two stages, with the last weighing anchor for good in September.

Three of the boats will be leaving the Emmons Avenue pier by May 1, with the remaining boats heading off after Sept. 1, according to an email from the mayor’s office obtained by this paper.

A Parks Department spokeswoman said three boats will move to Mill Basin off of Flatbush Avenue along the water in May, while the three others will move to Brooklyn Army Terminal along the Bay Ridge Channel in September after repairs there are completed. The exact details are currently in the works, the spokeswoman said.

The mayor’s office did not respond in time to a request for more details.

Pols and Sheepshead Bay residents have said the booze cruises bring drunken shenanigans, noise, and parking issues to the neighborhood. In September 2017, mayor DeBlasio promised to move the boats out by the end of that year’s season. And this February, the city announced the boats would no longer be allowed to depart after 11 pm. Many praised the cruise curfew, but some party boat captains slammed it as a racist measure aimed at their largely Caribbean-American clientele.

Deutsch said he is satisfied with the news, despite the mayor reneging on his promise and some boats staying this summer.

“It’s more controllab­le,” he said of the smaller number of boats that will be at the pier this season. “It’s safer for the community regarding emergency vehicles. Less crowded, less problems.”

Deutsch and an aide from Cymbrowitz’s office informed Community Board 15 of the news at its meeting on April 24. Both said there will be an increased police presence on the pier for the remaining party boats’ last hoorah in Sheepshead Bay this summer, with up to 10 additional officers on busy nights.

“The type of behavior seen here won’t happen again,” said Cymbrowitz’ aide to CB15.

One community leader said the boats’ impending departure will be good for both residents and the fishing boats that will remain in the bay.

“I wish them success. It’s been a problem,” said Steve Barrison, president of the Bay Improvement Group. “They didn’t mix well with the party fishing fleet. Maybe now things will calm down.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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