By Gabriela Resto-Montero
UPPER EAST SIDE — An application for a liquor license at the Explorers Club is a step too far for neighbors who are worried about late-night parties at the science club's East 70th Street house that are already keeping them up at all hours.
The alleged hard-partying club — which counts illustrious explorers like astronaut John Glenn as an honorary director and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary among its former members — plays host to some wild events that neighbors say keep them up all night.
"Why should we suffer like that when we pay so much for this location?" said Simone Enders, whose bedroom overlooks the club's terrace, at a Community Board 8 street life committee meeting Tuesday.
Explorers Club board members said they were not looking to turn their historic town home into a restaurant or bar, but that a liquor license would make it easier for caterers to serve alcohol at meetings and lectures.
"Having our own license would just enable us to have better events," said Anne Doubilet, a club board member, at the meeting.
Although non-members can use the building at 46 E. 70th St. for a fee, the board has been cutting back on the number of outside events held at the clubhouse, Doubilet said.
But scaling back was not enough for neighbors who said the Explorers Club has strayed from its mission to educate the public about scientific exploration and research by turning its clubhouse into a party venue.
"They're running basically an illegal catering operation," said Barry Mallin, an attorney for the residents of 710 Park Ave.
"There's great fear now that if they're given a liquor license, it will turn what is already a bad problem even worse," Mallin added.
In 2004 and 2005, Community Board 8 approved the club's request to apply for a liquor license, but the Explorer's Club board chose not to follow through with the application, said Donald Bernstein, counsel for the club.
Despite its previous support of the move, the community board asked to see more details about the number and frequency of events held at the town home's terrace before making a decision on the application next month.