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All a bad dream: Public backlash leads NRA to free Grand Prospect Hall owner from hosting fund-raiser

Trigger unhappy: Grand Prospect Hall owner Michael Halkias abandoned a deal to host a National Rifle Association fund-raiser at his 19th-century ballroom after the firearm lovers cancelled their contract with the businessman, who faced intense public backlash for welcoming the event.
Brooklyn Paper
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His nightmare is over.

A local National Rifle Association chapter let the owner of Park Slope’s Grand Prospect Hall off the hook for hosting a controversial fund-raiser in the face of overwhelming backlash against the businessman.

The man made famous by his televised promise to “make your dreams come true” announced the firearm aficionados voided their contract for the event hours after he confirmed he would welcome their April bash, an invitation that led irate locals and politicians to promise demonstrations against the venue.

“The people in charge were understanding of my plight — my difficulty,” said Michael “Mr. H” Halkias, who with his wife has owned the hall at 263 Prospect Ave. for 37 years. “I had to make a very serious decision, so I’m relieved by their response to the contractual agreement I had with them.”

Halkias — who books his gilded venue for events beyond traditional weddings and parties in order to pay the rising property taxes on it — agreed to host the April 12 fund-raiser for The Brooklyn Friends of the National Rifle Association after gun-control activists ran the group out of Coney Island, where a plan to host the bash at iconic Italian eatery Gargiulo’s fell apart when that restaurant’s owners backed out of their deal in the face of public resistance.

And the hall owner originally told this newspaper on Monday that breaking his commitment to the pistol packers for anything short of a court order would be cowardly.

“I’ll be a bad guy — a scared, yellow guy who chickened out,” Halkias said.

But after eliciting a similar response from pols including Borough President Adams along with Park Slope’s Councilman Brad Lander and Assemblyman Robert Carroll, who that same day assured they were “prepared to protest if the NRA comes into our community,” Halkias recognized the democratic forces at work and within hours reconsidered his decision in light of the people’s reactions, he said.

“Democracy works very well in the sense that the majority wins over the minority,” he said. “I never told you I’m insane, or that I lack flexibility or fairness. If you prove to me that you’re right, I’m going to flex.” Halkias, who lives in Bay Ridge and has owned firearms, said he first agreed to welcome the local gun lovers because he wanted to help them out after they were booted from Coney Island.

“For me its not ‘the NRA,’ it’s a bunch of nice people from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst who were screwed for no real reason,” he said.

But the businessman later acknowledged that the concerns of his neighbors — who also promised rallies outside Grand Prospect Hall if the venue went through with the fund-raiser — mattered more than his bottom line.

“In Park Slope they feel a certain way, and it’s fair for them to win,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:47 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Law and Disorder from Formally of Brooklyn now N C says:
Pretty soon only the Criminals and Hoods will have Gun's in NYC
They will control the streets. Remember when the Prey is armed Predators think Twice.
March 20, 12:18 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Worse - only the government will have guns.
March 20, 1:01 pm
Disappointment from Town says:
Disappointed in Mr. Halkias. He said he'd stand his ground for a legal event even if it meant selling for condos and now he's proven not to be a man of stature.

Changing your mind and backing down are two separate things.

I'll never return to the Grand Prospect Hall as I won't to Gargiulo's. Two chickens who's goose is cooked!
March 20, 2:03 pm
Don't let the facts get in the way from Tyler's shadow says:
While African Americans were being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan, where the Klan were sometimes aided by local law enforcement, the NRA setup charters to help train local African American communities to be able protect themselves. The most prominent case being in 1960 in Monroe, N.C. where the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People head Robert Williams also chartered an NRA Rifle Club that succesfully defended an assault on one of their leader's homes by the KKK without casualties.
March 20, 4:18 pm
Zero Vision from Zero life says:
I’m a gutless internet troll, and I really want a boyfriend, so I make annonymous homophobic comments on the internet
March 20, 7:54 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Places,such as homicide-plagued Baltimore,Chicago,Detroit;St.Louis,etc.,need NYC-like,Zero-Tolerance,anti-Gun Laws.If you are so much,as found in,possession of an"illegal gun";you do prison time. That's that!!
March 20, 8:33 pm
Benny from Sunset Park says:
I'm with disappointed, if restaurants can't stand their ground and sell to any legitimate customer, they are prejudicing the customer.

This is a fight at city Hall, not random restaurant owners.

If these restaurants can't maintain neutrality, then I will boycott them.

Shame on you politicians for falsely profiling a business to further your political careers.
March 21, 7:39 am
Benny from Sunset Park says:
Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Cars, planes, etc are used in mass murders and we don't see a movement to try and ban them, do we?

We need to get to the root of the problem and not waste time attacking legitimate gun rights for responsible people.
March 21, 7:54 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
and..... I've stopped caring already.
March 21, 9:16 am
DG from Greenwood says:
The owner of the Prospect Hall is a fool if he thought Park Slope residents WOULDN'T have a problem with this. Know your neighborhood.

PS There are some ridiculous statements on this comment thread. It never ceases to amaze me how moronic people can be.
March 21, 9:22 am
Morris from Mill Basin says:
Guns kill people. I kill people -- mostly the moronic pieces of excrement and subhuman garbage like the commenters on this site except for a few intelligent ones.

Slit the throat of an NRA member and save America!
March 21, 10:17 am
Morris from Mill Basin says:
DG from Greenwood says:
There are some ridiculous statements on this comment thread. It never ceases to amaze me how moronic people can be.

You are right. Why do we even allow these morons to live? I hope you will join me, DG, in killing as many of them as you can.
March 21, 10:19 am
SCR from Realityville says:
Whatever?,the secret to NYC's continued success,in drastically bringing down violent crime-rates,and keeping them down;are our city's,Zero Tolerance"anti-"illegal Gun Possessions" laws. Early last year(2017),US.Attorney General Jeff Sessions,asked,during a quick visit here,just what is our city's secret? And,he even thought,other cities,should follow NYC's anti-criminal policies. Of course,since Sessions doesn't particularly like us,and we collectively don't really like Mr.Session's at all;his brief comments-were totally ignored
March 21, 10:40 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Use a little reading comprehension, folks. The article specifically says that Mr. H. didn't back down. The NRA pulled out of the contract. If you want to boycott a bunch of gutless cowards, you need to boycott the NRA, not Mr. H.
March 21, 12:19 pm

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