New Hyde Park residents filled the relatively small board room at the village hall last Tuesday night during the regular meeting of the village board to find out more information about a disturbance the previous Saturday night outside .
“There was no police report filed because there was no incident from the police perspective,” deputy mayor Robert Lofaro said. The village board had conferred with the but came back without any further information.
The lack of action by the police struck a nerve with some residents as well as board members.
Resident Joseph Barbagallo, who lives near the pool hall, has been experiencing issues with the crowd for a number of years and like many other residents, have taken action by emailing Mayor Daniel Petruccio as well as other board members.
Barbagallo stated that in the past he has been woken up at 4 a.m. because of patrons screaming and making a scene outside the pool hall.
Residents have been told by the village board to call the police about disturbances but Barbagallo stated that he and other residents have witnessed police dispersing the crowd and not taking any other action.
“Last Saturday the commotion there was unbelievable. It was like watching TV,” he said. “My question is and my concern as a village, is what are we going to do about this? I hope we’re not waiting for someone to get hurt up there or worse.”
Despite the perceived lack of action by police, Lofaro informed residents that the board “did get email correspondents from residents of South 12th Street and that information that we received has becomes part of our file, so we do have documentation of disorderly conduct or public intoxication.”
A few meetings ago, to operate billiard tables. The deputy mayor said a letter informing the business of the decision was mailed out this past week. Lofaro and the board hope this will be the beginning of a solution.
The pool hall has a permit to operate a billiards hall but not a bar or nightclub, so the lack of a billiard’s permit will cause a problem for the pool hall. Due to legal issues, the village board cannot unilaterally shut down the pool hall.
The board and the department of public works will routinely conduct checks on the pool hall after the permit was rejected.
“We’re going to give them a weekly inspection and if its being operated as its not permitted for, they’re going to get a summons,” New Hyde Park Department of Public Works Superintendent Thomas Gannon said.
“They are a billiard hall with a license to serve alcohol. They are a billiard hall that in effect operates as a nightclub. Now there is no billiard table operation, they can’t operate as a nightclub,” Lofaro said.
If the pool hall continues to operate as a nightclub, the village does has the power the step in.
“Its not open as a tavern or nightclub, it’s a pool hall,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “We’re finding out from counsel what it is we need to do to finally and definitively address this issue the best way we can.”
Lofaro offered his apologies to “the residents that live in the area. The difficult part is we don’t have the legal right to just say ‘you cant do this’.”
The board has attempted to address the issues of patrons’ actions with the hall owner, but has not yet yielded satisfactory results.
“We’ve spoken to the owner a number of times,” Lofaro said. “We don’t seen to be getting anywhere with him. We’ve changed parking regulations. We’ve done a whole bunch of things and the problem has not gotten better so we’ve resorted to pulling the permits and we are going to work through that angle to see how that works for us and the residents.”
The deputy mayor continued to encourage residents to “alert us to incidents that we may not be aware of.”
He added that the board would be “continuing our dialog with the Third Precinct because we were actually quite surprised there was no report.”