Hard liquor sales proposal nixed at Orchard Beach

An Orchard Beach vendor who was originally considering selling hard liquor at his concession this summer has backed off from the proposal after learning the community opposed his plans.

John Ferriello, a local restaurant owner who has operated a concession selling beer and wine at Orchard Beach for over a dozen summers, met with resistance when he applied for a hard liquor license for his business, Hot Days Inc., Community Board 10 voted in February against approving a liquor license for the concession. The plan also met with opposition from the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership, Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, and other groups concerned about sales of frozen beverages containing hard liquor at the beach this summer.

Ferriello, who resides in Pelham Parkway, had gone before CB 10 requesting approval for the expansion of Hot Day’s liquor license at the beach, but backed away voluntarily when he realized how much resistance there was to the plan.

“If the community says no to the plan, I am not going to pursue the liquor license,” Ferriello said. “I have had a great relationship with Community Board 10 prior to this. I don’t want to look like the bad guy here.”

Ferriello said that he has been selling beer and wine at Orchard Beach for the past 15 years, but it was last year that the Parks Department said he couldsell hard liquor at the beach.

“Last year was the first time that the Parks Department put it into the contract that we could sell liquor,” Ferriello said. “I raised my bid for the concession because I thought that we would be able to make more money and that Parks would make more money.”

Ferriello is not sure if his lease with the Parks department can be renegotiated.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca said that he had reached out to Ferriello to see if he was aware of the reaction. He indicated he would work with the community.

“I think Mr. Ferriello did not anticipate this type of reaction from the community,” Vacca said. “The Parks Department is seeking to maximize how much revenue they can collect from all leases. Their being open to the possibility of hard liquor at Orchard Beach was a big mistake,” Vacca said. “I want to thank Mr. Ferriello for doing right by the community.”

Senator Jeff Klein was also pleased by the outcome. Even though the final paperwork was never submitted to the State Liquor Authority, Klein had a conversation with deputy CEO of the SLA Mike Jones, and put a hold on any license application that may be submitted.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with my constituents in opposition to Hot Days Inc. receiving a hard-liquor license,” Klein said. “Mixing hard liquor with swimming creates an extremely dangerous situation that would require NYPD officers to spend extra hours monitoring the beach. After several months of working with the SLA, I am pleased to find out Hot Days Inc. is no longer seeking a license. I thank the owner for listening to the community’s concerns.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com.

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