By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Several Asbury Park business owners spoke at this week’s City Council meeting about the crowds causing disruption and destruction to storefronts and vestibules.
Jan Sparrow, owner of Words Bookstore, said although the bar scene is “better” there is already a bigger influx this year, especially of college age or those in their 20s who are impacting the downtown area.
On a Saturday night they are impacting people who want to eat and the walk around town, Sparrow said.
“We are closing at 8 p.m because we felt uncomfortable last week,” she said
Sparrow said there kids who are rowdy pushing and shoving.
She asked for more of a police presence.
“Please, I beg you to make it a safe summer,” she said.
Retail people, she said have an opportunity to stay open, but only if customers feel safe.
Co-owner of Words, Scott Asalone echoed her concerns and said he feared for her safely and the safety of the store’s other manager.
Asalone said when he moved here 11 years ago he considered it paradise, but now weekends in the summer and winter after the bars close are full of singing, laughing, yelling, broken bottles, all affecting the quality of life in his Second Avenue neighborhood.
“I encourage council to be on top of this,” he said. “At night we can’t sleep through without being woken by drunken revelers. The police are phenomenal in their response but this wave is getting bigger.”
A Cookman Avenue resident suggested raising fines for disorderly conduct similar to Belmar’s.
Malcolm Navias, owner of Heaven on Cookman Avenue said he was afraid of staying open on a Friday nights, citing bar patrons urinating, defecating and vomiting in his doorways.
“There are windows smashed up and down the street. The bars don’t stop them from drinking when they are drunk. We should be open until 11 p.m. (but) we cannot do it,” he said.
Emory Street resident Thomas Pivinski said many of the revelers cans and bottles end up in his garden.
Pivinski, who is chair of the Environmental Shade Tree Commission, said one of their gardens on Cookman has become a hot spot for fornicating.
“We find many used condoms,” he said.
Pivinski, however, used his time to thank the Department of Public Works for their help in installing and maintaining the gardens.
“The DPW has worked with the ESTC like never before; it’s been a hand in glove experience. Thank you for the support and the small budget you allowed us” he said.
Gene Meniola, a shop owner, suggested bar owners put signs outside their establishments warning those leaving to obey local laws like he has seen in New York City.
“There is a lot of vomit on the streets in the morning….The signs and bouncers help. I recommend bars take some responsibility,” he said.
Mike Sodano, owner of the Showroom, said extra police during summer would be helpful but people use the vestibule for toilets.
He said stationing police on the blocks would be a deterrent and prevent the public from using city property as a toilet.
In a related matter the city approved the renewal of several liquor licenses, some with special conditions.
Porta, on Kingsley Street, will not be allowed to accept any new patrons after 1 a.m.
The Bond Street Bar complex is required to hire two off duty police officers or one officer and one security guard on weekends until 2 a.m. during the summer months.
Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn said she would be forming a committee to look at police reports and study the data regarding traffic incidents or disorderly conduct.