A Woodhaven church is reportedly squaring off against their hookah-and-booze-swilling neighbors, who are trying to keep the peace while simultaneously applying for a liquor license. But the owner of the hookah lounge says he's not sure what the brouhaha is all about.
The Daily News reports that Rev. Dan Shafer of All Nations Baptist Church told the community board," Spiritually, we oppose what they're doing. It's kind of a sad commentary on society." Assemblyman Mike Miller echoed that sentiment, saying, "To have it near a school or a church puts the worshipers and the students of that school in not a good environment." But Yunior Espinal, the owner of the yet-to-open NEBU Hookah Lounge, told us he's not sure why there's so much drama: "I'm not trying to fight the church. I love god. I believe in god...I actually spoke to the priest at the church a few months ago about my business, and he told me he might even swing by and sit down."
SLA regulations prohibit liquor from being served within 200 feet of a church or school, though no such regulations exist for beer or wine. Espinal says he's willing to work with the church and will agree to not serve beer or wine during mass. He hasn't even applied for a license yet—when we spoke to him, Espinal was on his way to the church to talk to the pastor to "straighten this whole thing out."