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Market Hotel Shuttered After Police Find Alcohol Kept Without Permit: NYPD

By Gwynne Hogan | October 10, 2016 5:24pm
 The bust happened on Friday, according to police.
The bust happened on Friday, according to police.
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83 Precinct/Twitter

BUSHWICK — A recently revamped alternative music venue that was shut down in 2010 for issues with its liquor license has temporarily closed again, according to police and the venue's owner.

Officials at Bushwick's 83rd Precinct tweeted pictures of officers inside Market Hotel, at 1140 Myrtle Ave. The space was reprimanded for "warehousing alcohol" without a State Liquor Authority license, police said.

Police said officers found 1,000 bottles and cans of alcohol. The venue didn't have a permit to store it and operators were hit with a criminal summons, police said.

Deputy Inspector Maximo Tolentino said that the hotel, which had reopened in January, had been applying for temporary event permits instead of having a full liquor license.

They got about 15 permits a month, he said, which is allowed under state liquor law because the venue is a nonprofit organization. For-profit businesses face other more stringent restrictions.

On Sunday, the Market Hotel announced on Twitter that management would be relocating all shows while they waited for to get a full liquor license and that no alcohol was allowed on premises in the interim, Brooklyn Vegan earlier reported.

Todd Patrick, owner of the Market Hotel, pointed out that police had signed off on many of their temporary event permits in the past. On Friday, he was waiting for approval for one when he was told that it had been denied by the SLA.

Police showed up at the venue within two hours of him being told, he said.

"I respect their authority to respect their letter of the law," Patrick said. "We understand our error, but it's hard not to feel it's a gotcha moment."

The venue has been saving up funds to pay for a full liquor license and began the process of applying for it in August. That license is currently pending approval by the state, he said.

He highlighted multiple email exchanges with the NYPD precinct as evidence of the venue's attempts to operate within the law.

"People who are trying to break the law do not establish constant communication with the police," he said. 

The nonprofit opens its doors to the community by day for free, he said. It's hosted a community K2 task force meeting, a gathering for the MTA to discuss upcoming work on the M train and afterschool programs and fundraisers.

The tweet sent by police frustrated Patrick, who felt it portrayed the Market Hotel as "simply a party hall" and "reflect[ed] our organization as if we're some kind of criminal enterprise."

"We are earnestly committed to supporting our community and being a positive force in this neighborhood," he said. 

"There are a lot of other easier paths to accomplish a concert hall and we have willfully chosen to take a more difficult path."

The State Liquor Authority and the Department of Buildings were also involved in the Friday bust, according to the tweet, though neither agency returned a request for comment.

Following Friday's bust, police also claimed that the space was being "illegally arranged and occupied as a dormitory" without enough exits, according to Department of Buildings records. 

Patrick contested this claim, highlighting the venue's active permit was approved by the Department of Buildings and the FDNY.