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Red Hook Fixture LeNell's Ousted, Future Remains Uncertain

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Things aren't looking too sunny for Red Hook. The remote nabe has seen the recent shutterings of a few neighborhood draws, like restaurant 360 and drink spot Pioneer Bar-B-Q (which should, in fact, be reopening shortly), leading the Post to dub the area 'Dead' Hook. Perhaps the most troubling loss that Red Hook is facing is that of liquor store LeNell's. Today, the Times files a full-page report on the state of the Hook shop, which has been open at 416 Van Brunt Street for four years now. LeNell's has developed a dedicated following thanks to its homey and welcoming atmosphere and excellent selection of liquor and wine sourced from small, independent producers. But that doesn't matter to the building's new owners, who are giving LeNell Smothers the boot next year when the place's lease is up.

Ideally, Ms. Smothers would like to move within the 1,000-foot boundary that, under city regulations, would allow the relatively simple transfer of her liquor license. But there is no place to go, she said. “There are not many storefronts in Red Hook,” she said. “Then you have a gazillion vacant lots. I’ve talked to everybody in my range. Nobody’s willing to build.” Next summer sounds far off, but not when construction or renovation time is considered, and the months it could take to get a new license, she said.
As of now, Smothers is still searching for a home for the establishment in Red Hook. Failing that, she would consider moving the business to Manhattan, stating, “If I’m not in Red Hook, I’m not interested in Brooklyn.”
· A Neighborhood Fixture Faces an Uncertain Future [NY Times]
· Call It 'Dead' Hook [NY Post]

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