Tag Archives: strip club

Pol hopes new legislation will make it tricky for bikini bars to get liquor licenses


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Alexa Altman

The top has come off for one Astoria bikini bar.

Slinking under the guise of a regular lounge, Queen of Hearts’ thinly-veiled attempt to renew its liquor license, without alerting the State Liquor Authority (SLA) that it’s gone nearly-naked, has local leaders drafting legislation to expose them and similarly shady businesses.

Initiated by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, the Community Full Disclosure Act calls the SLA to improve its application process for obtaining and renewing liquor licenses by demanding businesses remain transparent regarding the exact activities inside the establishment – particularly adult entertainment.

The motion came after Queen of Hearts, at 26-12 Hoyt Avenue South, failed to disclose its status as a bikini bar, masquerading as an ordinary lounge.

“These businesses receive their license to sell alcohol by claiming that they operate as bars and lounges, but behind closed doors they have their employees strip down to their underwear and offer lap or poll dances to their patrons for money,” said Simotas.

Queen of Hearts filed to renew its liquor license with the SLA in September of 2012 under the name Wild Rose.

According to Simotas, institutions are required to disclose name changes and alterations to the style of venue upon reapplication, both of which the owner of the establishment, Steve Hatzilazaridis, failed to do. While forms have a category indicating “topless entertainment,” there is no selection that specifies whether a business plans to feature scantily-clad performers. To the assemblymember, two-inches of fabric do not make a difference.

“We shouldn’t be required to investigate every business that applies for a liquor license,” said Simotas. “The State liquor authority should be obtaining this information, basic information, whether or not they intend to have adult entertainment in their establishment.”

Liquor licenses are reviewed by the local community board, which gives a recommendation to the SLA. Community Board 1 District Manager Lucille Hartmann said she believes the application should not only ask more in depth questions concerning the establishment’s intentions but the SLA should also consider the recommendation of the local community board more seriously.

“It would be very beneficial to all communities if the board and our recommendation had a little more punch and had more of an impact,” said Hartmann.

According to the bar’s lawyer, Peter Stern, Hatzilazaridis failed to disclose to him that they would be adding adult entertainment.

“I didn’t know that they were refiling as a go-go bar. I didn’t know what they were doing in there,” said Stern.
The befuddled attorney, who filed the request to renew but not the original application in July of 2010, said he understood why residents in a neighborhood like Astoria would oppose the installation of an “adult establishment with any kind of erotic behavior.”

Several months ago, a similar skin-centric business, Racks at 19-26 Steinway Street, submitted an application for a liquor license. Simotas said she was perplexed as to why controversial establishments continued to pop up in a residential neighborhood.

“The only rationale is the Community Board isn’t getting the information it needs to properly scrutinize each application,” said Simotas. “The Community Board should not have to go investigate. They shouldn’t have to go knock down the door and find the owner. That information should be right up front.”

 

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Bikini bar gets fierce opposition from leaders, locals


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Aravella Simotas

Residents are worried that an uncovered bid for an Astoria bikini bar may be a scantily-clad plan to wiggle a strip club into their neighborhood.

Racks, the club located at 19-26 Steinway Street, was recently leased to a company called 8G Inc. Formerly a billiard parlor, the establishment sits just half a block from homes, several hundred feet from a park and two blocks away from a school.

8G Inc. sought to obtain a liquor license, which was voted against unanimously by Community Board 1 in early September. District Manager Lucille Hartmann attributed the board’s decision to the establishment’s inability to benefit the community. Racks’ fate will be decided by the New York State Liquor Authority, advised by recommendations made by the community.

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, who lives three blocks from Racks, said the neighborhood is an absolutely inappropriate place for a skin-based business.

“People who live in Upper Ditmars are very unhappy and are concerned that it’s going to have a negative effect on the community,” said Simotas. “Who is going to want to move in when there’s a bikini bar half a block away?”

Simotas, whose campaign against Racks garnered support from Congressmember Joe Crowley and Senator Michael Gianaris, said she remains confident the State Liquor Authority will consider their side and heed their warning.

According to Simotas, 8G Inc. executives refused to promise that the bar would not morph into a full-blown strip club.

8G Inc. attorney Kerry Katsorhis claimed Racks would not become an adult entertainment establishment and that women would be dressed no differently than if they were at the beach.

“It’s zoned for it. It’s in a commercial area. Its neighbors consist of a truck depot and warehouses. It seems to be in a remote area. It’s not surrounded by houses. There are no houses of worship or schools. Where else can you think of,” Katsorhis asked.

Katsorhis believes many people in the community would enjoy the bikini bar.

Carolyn Scarano, a life-long resident of Upper Ditmars, fears the installment of such an institution could devalue the neighborhood. Scarano, who frequently took her now-grown children to the park near Racks, believes it may draw questionable clientele to a family-oriented area.

“I really don’t think this neighborhood calls for an establishment like that,” said Scarano. “We encourage businesses — this is not the kind of establishment we’re looking for.”

Denied liquor license, Long Island City strip club goes ‘Full Monty’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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A controversial Long Island City strip club is refusing to have its last dance — despite losing its fight for the right to party with alcohol.

Show Palace, formerly known as Gypsy Rose, is slated to open on May 31 at 42-50 21st Street in L.I.C. — despite strong community opposition and having its request for a liquor license rejected twice.

In response to the rejections, Show Palace has opted to offer full nudity, which is not allowed in establishments where alcohol is served.

Community groups, civic leaders, elected officials and neighborhood residents have all publicly denounced the club, and a rally was held on January 12 protesting Show Palace’s opening.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer believes the strip club is bad for the neighborhood, and he says the community is currently discussing holding another protest in the coming weeks.

“These guys have just been sticking their fingers in the eyes of their neighbors, and that’s not the way to come into a community – by showing a real lack of concern and appreciation for the people around you,” Van Bramer said. “People getting off the Queensboro Bridge who exit at 21st Street, the first thing they see is that club. Great things have been happening in L.I.C., and it is an amazing place to live, work, own a business and raise a family, and it is going to continue to be so. I think we don’t want anything to detract from that and that’s why we have been opposed.”

Attempts to contact Terry Flynn, the attorney of Show Palace’s proprietors, were unsuccessful as of press time.

The club’s Twitter account publicizes it as the “newest, largest, most upscale FULL NUDE Adult Nightclub/Restaurant in NYC.” The message also ironically exclaims, “We raised the bar!”

Show Palace’s web site says it is open from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Although the club opens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, its closing time is answered only with three question marks.

Despite its dull and dreary exterior, a picture on Show Palace’s Facebook page portrays a lavish interior with bright purple lighting and chandeliers.

 

Long Island City strip club denied liquor license


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

            Instead of “take it off,” Long Island City is shouting, “shut it down!”

            After rallying in front of a local strip club to block its opening, L.I.C. residents and officals got their wish as the club, Gypsy rose, was denied a liquor license by the State Liquor Authority on January 18.

            Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who led a rally against the club, said that the SLA’s decision is a victory for families.

            “L.I.C. is a great place to live, work and raise a family and we will never stop fighting to keep it growing and to keep it great,” said the councilmember. “I congratulate all those who rallied, wrote letters and spoke before the SLA and I commend the SLA for its appropriate decision, which it took today.”

            Opposition to the pole dancing haven reached its pinnacle at that rally, with Van Bramer leading the charge along with Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, Senator Michael Gianaris, Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley, as well as civic and religious leaders.

            “This is the wrong type of business in the wrong neighborhood,” said local resident Grant at the initial rally on January 12. “Long Island City is different now and we really don’t want a place like this next door.”

            “Gypsy Rose threatened our community when we rallied against it last year, telling us they would put in a club that featured full nudity as opposed to what they originally proposed,” said Van Bramer among the crowd of over 50 community leaders and officials.

            Representatives from Gypsy Rose’s parent company, 21 Group Inc., have met with community board officials numerous times over the past year, and have said that they will strengthen security with more guards and cameras. They also said that their establishment would be classier than what residents expect, and that it would convey an “elegant and artful” atmosphere.

            At a public hearing last June, 21 Group Inc.’s attorney called Gypsy Rose “unobtrusive” and an “improvement” to the area. He also said the renovations would give residents a stylish building.

            But the majority of residents and officials stood staunchly opposed to the strip club, no matter what the building might look like.

            “The community is against it, and businesses are against it, that is why I’m standing here to ensure that all our voices are heard,” said Van Bramer at the rally. “Not here, not now!”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/08/2011: Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies, 67


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Severed Foot Found On Front Lawn In Rosedale; Turns Out To Be Bear’s

There’s relief in Rosedale this morning after a gruesome discovery rattled nerves. A man taking out the garbage Sunday night found what appeared to be a severed child’s foot on his front lawn. Police responded to the scene to investigate. On Monday morning, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the foot was that of a bear. Read More: CBS News

 

 

Man Arrested For Alleged Groping Of Shayne DeJesus On Train

Police in Queens say they’ve arrested the man who allegedly groped Shayne DeJesus at the Union Square subway station. Froylan Andrade, 39, is charged with sex abuse after cops were able to identify him from a photo DeJesus snapped on the train. Read More: WPIX

 

 

Feds forced to return nearly $1 million to Gallagher’s 2000, a Long Island City strip club 

The feds have been ordered to return nearly $1 million seized from a Queens strip club after a judge cleared the owner of civil charges of financial improprieties. Robert Potenza, the pistol-packing owner of Gallagher’s 2000 in Long Island City, ran afoul of government agents who suspected the strip club king had made more than 100 bank deposits in amounts less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Graffiti legend was also an NYPD cop

Police have discovered the identity of one of New York City’s most prolific graffiti vandals — and he’s one of their own. Steven Weinberg, 43, of Flushing, a patrolman who retired from the NYPD in 2001 after hurting his leg, is the notorious “Neo” — one of the peskiest subway taggers of the 1980s. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies, 67

In another era, Joe Frazier—”Smokin’ Joe” to anybody who cared about boxing—might have perched serenely atop the heavyweight boxing division for a decade, his powerful punches and stolid visage epitomizing pugilistic grace. Mr. Frazier, who died Monday at age 67 after a brief bout with liver cancer, was small by heavyweight standards. But he was a warrior who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. Read More: Wall Street Journal