Following the viral video of a chair-throwing brawl at City Island restaurant Seafood City, the eatery has agreed to add more security and close their bar at an early hour in order to try to avoid another incident like Thursday night's fight.
Assemby member Mark Gjonaj announced in a a press release that following the publication of the fight video, he forged an agreement between Seafood City's owners and the deputy inspector of the 45th Precinct that to add more security to the restaurant. According to the press release, Seafood City has agreed to close their bar at 6 p.m., hire private security and participate in the NYPD's paid detail program. In addition to the actions Seafood City is taking, the 45th Precinct has agreed to provide additional patrols on City Island.
Gjonaj told Gothamist that he found the video "disturbing and alarming" and that he worried it could tarnish the image of City Island as a "peaceful, tranquil" place.
"You want to make sure incidents like this are prevented, not promoted, and that was achieved I believe," Gjonaj said of the security agreement that the restaurant and the NYPD reached.
The fight video, and reactions to it, have become part of the campaign for the City Council seat in the district that includes City Island that's being vacated by James Vacca because of term limits. Earlier this week, two candidates running for the seat, Community Board 10 member Marjorie Velázquez and City Island Civic Association member John Doyle, spoke up about the fight. Velázquez called for the SLA investigate the incident, and Doyle asked that Seafood City participate in the paid detail program. While Gjnoaj represents a neighboring district in the Assembly, he's also running for the City Council seat, and told Gothamist that he used to live on City Island and that his family has "has not forgiven me for moving them off City Island."
Gjonaj dismissed concerns that businesses had about taking on liability for potential injuries that could befall officers providing security through the program. Gjnonaj said that the issue didn't come up in the meeting between himself, the deputy inspector and Seafood City's owner, but that in the event of an injury he believed that the same workman's compensation that covers a businesses' employees would cover the off-duty police officers. This conflicts with what Doyle told Gothamist about Seafood City and other City Island businesses being hesitant to participate in the paid detail program, and a report from the News last year in which companies were unhappy that the city was requiring them to pay liability costs and offer legal representation if an officer was sued.