Ridgewood bar out of control, residents say

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Neighbors say that Suad Sports Cafe is “unable” to keep its patrons in check.

A Ridgewood establishment has sparked concerns among residents, causing them to lose sleep—literally.

Neighbors say that the patrons of Suad Sports Cafe, a bar located on 60th Lane and 71st Avenue, have been a menace to their quality of life—acting inappropriately at all hours of the day, and what one neighbor suspects as possible illegal activity.

Nancy Watson, a longtime neighboring resident, recently started a petition against the bar, which has garnered around 70 signatures so far.

She also submitted a letter to the public forum of Queens Community Board 5’s meeting this month, regarding events that have left people on the block feeling uneasy.

“Although the business has been around for 10+ years, over the last two years things have changed significantly for the worse,” the letter said. “Almost every single evening/night, there are several cars blocking the crosswalks, making it difficult and unsafe for pedestrians. This especially affects seniors and children in the area.”

It is not uncommon to see cars illegally parked near Suad Sports Cafe.

In addition to the illegal parking, Watson said she has seen patrons of the establishment driving irresponsibly, including revving their engines, performing burnouts, and speeding around the block.

“Someone’s going to get hit by a car… there are children and elderly people in the neighborhood,” Watson said.

“They are probably driving drunk, or just sleeping in their cars to sleep it off,” she continued. “It’s not even young guys. It’s just so bad.”

Watson sent a collection of photos to CB5, which show blocked crosswalks, large groups of men congregating in the middle of the street, men urinating on people’s stoops, excessive garbage, and what she claims to be the appearance of  a man ingesting an unknown substance in public.

“Now we have rats. I have never seen a rat in my yard, and a couple of weeks ago, I had four,” Watson said.

“You see them running rampant because they put garbage out on the sidewalk days before their garbage truck shows up.”

Adding to the sanitation and hygiene issue, Watson said that the security cameras outside her home captured a man urinating on her stoop—directly facing the camera.

It has also been reported that the patrons have publicly urinated on other people’s stoops, cars, trees, and plants.

Another neighbor, who requested to remain anonymous, said that despite the fact that she lives toward the end of the street, her household still faces “a fair amount of abuse” from the bar’s patrons.

“I called the cops two weeks ago on one guy who was actually going to the front of people’s houses, looking at the doorbells, and making notes of the names on people’s doorbells. On Thursday afternoon, I called the cops again, because a family was sitting on our stoop and just observing who exits the houses near us… who goes in, who goes out,” she said.

“We don’t want to be robbed. We don’t want to have our property vandalized,” she continued. “I’ve been reaching out to 311 and 911, but this bar just doesn’t want to go away.”

The resident said that their loud and disruptive behavior continues into the wee hours of the morning, making it impossible to sleep or relax.

Due to the loud noise and smoke smells, neighbors do not want to open up their windows to get fresh air, like they normally do.

“They are just a shady bunch of people,” the resident said.

“If you come here on a Saturday night into Sunday, you will see $20 bills, $100 bills shredded up and down the street,” she continued. “You will see playing cards, either whole playing cards or shredded ones that are bent because they’ll gamble, they’ll get into fights, and then they’ll bring the fighting all the way down to my side.”

Watson and other neighbors believe that the bar should be shut down, but CB5 said that the first step would be to have their liquor license revoked if there is evidence of illegal activity.

“First, we go to the [104] Precinct, see what the Precinct has, and then we notify the State Liquor Authority,” Vincent Arcuri, chairperson of the board, said at the last meeting. “If they’re up for renewal, we send them a notice saying they’re not getting renewed by us, and they ask for a hearing.”

Suad Sports Cafe last notified CB5 of their intent to renew their liquor license in January of this year.

Although residents say they’ve seen officers ticket and tow some illegally parked vehicles, many of them feel as though the police are not doing all that they can to put a stop to the commotion.

“The cops have not been able to provide the relief we were hoping for either,” Watson wrote in her statement to CB5.

“I have pictures of multiple cars parked illegally every single day and very few getting ticketed. After many 311 calls about the parking issues, the cops have towed cars on a couple of instances. All the while talking and laughing with the patrons,” it continued. “This seems to have emboldened the crowds even more, now anyone complains about anything to these guys, they say, ‘go ahead and call the cops.’ They won’t help you.”

The anonymous resident said she spoke with Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, the new commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, about the persisting issue at a community meeting.

“We’ve been trying to have the precinct work with us, but the police are limited in what they can do. From what I was told the last time I called the cops on these people, it literally has to escalate to such a level. Basically, they can’t do anything unless somebody gets hurt,” she said. “We are trying to prevent that from happening…You claim at the meeting that you want us to work alongside you guys, what is it that you need in order to shut this place down?”

Officer Michael Berish of the 104th Precinct said that police were informed of the location about a month ago.

“We’ve done enforcement there and we are working on things to correct the situation,” he said.

When interviewed by the Queens Ledger/Glendale Register, a man who identified himself as the owner of Suad Sports Cafe declined to comment.

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