Market Hotel reprimanded for ‘warehousing alcohol’, issues statement (UPDATED)
As mentioned, Market Hotel has been moving shows to other venues: "Finally pending for our full liquor license! While waiting strictly no alcohol can be in bldg. To be prudent, relocating all shows for now." There's a little more to the story, however. As DNA Info points out, Market Hotel was raided by the police on Friday, 10/7, the same day shows were first moved, and found "warehousing alcohol" without a State Liquor Authority permit and about 1,000 bottles and cans were confiscated. They were given a criminal summons.
DNA Info also reports that the NYPD requested an additional inspection, reporting that part of the space was "illegally arranged and occupied as a dormitory" without enough exits. Market Hotel however tells us that nobody resides there, and once the Department of Buildings confirmed that.
UPDATE: We have a full statement from Market Hotel:
Market Hotel understands and respects the NYPD's authority and duty to enforce the law.
1) Market Hotel applied for a one-day special event beer and wine permit for Friday evening and only got emailed final disapproval of that application at 1pm Friday afternoon. Our Operations Manager arrived at the building a little over an hour later on Friday afternoon in order to prepare for the night's event, which we intended to run dry with no bar. Police officers where on site in the building when he arrived. They charged us with "warehousing" alcohol because the night's permit had been denied.
2) Market Hotel's one-day beer permit for Friday evening was denied by the New York State Liquor Authority only because the SLA has finally acknowledged receipt of Market Hotel's application for a permanent on-premises full retail liquor license. Once a permanent license app is pending at the SLA, a location isn't allowed to get more one-day permits -- and is liable for any alcohol found on the premises (even if it's snuck in). The rule is very strict.
3) An organisation that applies for special event permits to sell alcohol is not attempting to circumvent the law, it is attempting to follow the law.
3) Market Hotel is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Not-for-profits are exempt from the SLA rule that limits locations to four one-day beer permits a year. Many not-for-profit cultural spaces routinely operate with these one-day permits.
4) Every bar at every event at Market Hotel for the past year has had a one-day beer permit. The local NYPD police precinct reviewed and explicitly approved each special event one-day permit that Market Hotel was issued. The Precinct has the authority to deny permits at any time if it feels that permits aren't appropriate for a location or an applicant.
5) The local Precinct approved a one-day event permit for Market Hotel as recently as Monday of last week, 4 days before this incident. One week before this incident, the Precinct sent an email to Market Hotel reminding us to submit permit applications for Halloween weekend. Market Hotel has worked hard to maintain frequent and open communication with the local Precinct.
6) Market Hotel has never had a 911 incident in a year of operating, and has received remarkably scant 311 complaints -- notably fewer than most bars in Bushwick. We have had no underage drinking incidents and no reports of fights or unruly customers. Market Hotel hosts regular community classes, afterschool groups, workshops, and important neighborhood meetings. Market Hotel's mission statement calls on us to find common ground between nightlife, culture, and community service. Market Hotel enjoys a good relationship with our neighbors and the greater community. We have not been subject to complaints.
7) Though the NYPD filed an "emergency" complaint to the NYC Department of Buildings claiming "dormitory" use and blocked fire exits, the Department of Building inspector who arrived with the police found no such thing. Nobody has lived at Market Hotel for many years, and Market Hotel's exits are fully up to code, as is the entire facility.
8) Market Hotel maintains a valid Certificate for Temporary Public Assembly issued by the FDNY and the DOB. This certificate permits us to host large events and gatherings and is renewed every 90 days. The building gets inspected by FDNY at every renewal as well as is subject to routine inspection by DOB.
Thanks to the last 9 months of events, Market Hotel has been able to afford to finish installing our sprinkler system, fire alarm system, and elevator, and is finally eligible for permanent Certificates of Occupancy and Public Assembly, which were the prerequisites for filing for the permanent liquor license.
Everyone at Market Hotel loves music and wishes we could continue hosting concerts and events, dry or not. Unfortunately, this incident has made it clear that being open in anyway while are full on-premises liquor license is pending is a risk and would not be prudent, and so we have moved all events for the time being.
And Todd P personally adds:
I understand and accept that the way Market Hotel is perceived by people in enforcement authority might be colored by who I am and what my own history is as an organizer of underground events in New York City for many years. I can see how that might breed skepticism of our motives. But I'm a much older man now and a father of two, and my commitment to show that you can follow the rules and you can do good culturally relevant work with the right licenses and permits is real.
Market Hotel is a project about showing that we can do good work and have a positive impact on our community and the cultural landscape of the City in a fully legal space, and built with the kind of modest funding and budgets accessible to regular people. The fact that Market Hotel was issued 15 or so Special Event beer licenses a month for the last 10 months is not evidence that were trying to circumvent the law, it's evidence of our commitment to follow the law. Special Event one-day permits are a common method for not-for-profit organisations like Market Hotel to host events, and it's been the only way we could make there improvements we had to make within our modest budget. The Precinct reviewed and approved every permit we have received.
For the past 11 months, Market Hotel has followed the letter of the law and has worked hard to maintain open and respectful lines if communication with the Precinct. Market Hotel has done good work in our community by hosting classes and community meetings, and at the same time has created a vibrant concert and art space without generating complaints from our neighbors or any kind of nuisance for the community. We've never had a 911 call and we've had remarkably few 311 calls, far fewer than many bars in the Precinct. We're proud to be an example that good and relevant work can be done within a commitment to follow the rules.
It's a shame that this incident mis-characterizes Market Hotel as somehow attempting to circumvent the law -- the truth is exactly the opposite.
Most of Market Hotel's relocated shows are going to Williamsburg event space Villain. Here are ones we know for sure:
The Cloud Nothings show on Tuesday (10/11) now happens at Villain with Shellshag (sold out)
The SALES / Harmony Tividad / Chaos Chaos show on Wednesday (10/12) now happens at Villain (tickets).
The Juliana Huxtable / Chino Amobi / Elysia Crampton / Them Flavor DJs show on Friday (10/14) has also been moved to Villain (tickets).
The PWR BTTM show is 10/21 at Villain. They also play 10/20 at Baby's (both are sold out).
The Mitski show moved to Villain.
Stay tuned for more updates.