No hard liquor sales at Orchard Beach concessions

From now on, beer and wine will be the only alcoholic beverages sold at Orchard Beach.

There will no longer be sales of drinks like margaritas, daiquiris and other fruity alcoholic beverages, after Community Board 10 contacted the Parks Department to express concern over increased availability of alcohol from illegal vendors at the beach.

The last few years have been particularly brutal for cops assigned to the scenic beach detail because of the availability of drinks called Nutcrackers, sold by illegal vendors, containing a toxic mix of booze.

“No one knows exactly what is in them, but I went on a tour of the beach and was shown how police officers were spending an inordinate amount of timedealing with beachgoers who would become inebriated and disorderly after drinking Nutcrackers,” Kearns said.

He later became aware that a Request for Proposal for snack bar beach concessions at Orchard Beach would be selling mixed drinks, possibly in an attempt to break the allure of Nutcrackers.

“The board wrote a letter to the parks department requesting that they not issue any future RFPs selling hard alcohol, and we won,” Kearns said.

The Parks Department even agreed to give special preference to vendors who sell healthy food and beverages, like juices, granola bars, and fresh fruits, in the future,”

“This is one of those moments where we actually got a chance to change the entire RFP process for city beaches,” Kearns added.

All the more exciting is the fact that the winning bidder on the beach concession, Hot Days Inc., has agreed to voluntarily refrain from selling any mixed drinks that may contain hard liquor, Kearns said.

“Community Board 10 expressed concerns about hard liquor, so in the current RFP for the snack bar, we will only allow the sale of beer and wine,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Jesslyn Moser.

Thus puts to end any controversy that surrounded the RFP, with the boards letter to parks in February 2010 and community and civic groups like the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association and Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership all

opposing sale of any kinds of hard liquor, even the limited amount that can be found in many mixed drinks.

TNCAP, which is part of the Archdiocese of New York’s Drug and Alcohol abuse prevention program especially savored the victory.

The organization supported CB 10’s position on not allowing the concessions to sell hard liquor and wrote a letter of support of the position to the Parks Department, TNCAP organizer Julia Geronimo said.

“TNCAP wrote a letter to the Parks Department, as well as the State Liquor Authority stating our concerns that this would increase alcohol accessibility, that alcohol is dangerous when combined with the heat, and that there were already several problems with ‘Nutcrackers’ which were

being sold in and around Orchard Beach,” Geronimo stated. “We are happy to hear that Parks Department has made the decision that concession cannot sell hard liquor, and want to thank CB 10 for making this happen!”

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