Not in my backyard, strip club! Not in my booming-on-its-way-to-becoming-the-coolest-neighborhood-in-the-city backyard! Long Island City, that is. Elected officials and allegedly everyone in the blossoming Queens neighborhood on the other side of the East River (business, civic, AND religious communities!), are celebrating the latest obstacle for a strip club hoping to set up shop in the area.
Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority denied the club’s application for a liquor license — the second time for the business, known as Gypsy Rose (though it was apparently a different incarnation of the company the first time it tried).
Electeds — who have been rallying against the club for years — sent out giddy press releases celebrating the decision.
“For over two and a half years, I have stood side by side with members of the business, civic, and religious communities in opposing this establishment, because it is wrong for our neighborhood. Long Island City 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,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement.
Today, Runnin’ Scared caught up with the lawyer for the disappointed club owners, who said it’s unclear what the next step would be.
“My client was obviously disappointed with the decision, and they believe that they should’ve been granted the license,” said lawyer Terry Flynn (who said he’s been so busy he hasn’t talked to any other reporters about this. You read it here first, folks). “My clients are trying to decide what to do now.”
Flynn said they have two options at this point — operate without a liquor license or fight the decision in court. “[We could] challenge the SLA determination in court…The decision of the SLA was arbitrary and capricious…and contrary to the evidence,” he said.
When we spoke with Flynn last week, he argued that the zoning is appropriate, his clients have all the necessary permits, and said they have gone above and beyond to make concessions for the community, like agreeing to limited signage and extra security.
The Daily News spoke to SLA officials about their decision yesterday. “I believe that there is sufficient good cause for us to deny this application,” said Dennis Rosen, chairman of the authority, according to the News.
Commissioner Jeanique Greene, who voted against granting the license, is quoted saying, “I don’t anticipate that violence and crime is going to break out if this establishment is licensed,” and “I have to evaluate whether the community finds it part of their whole plan of revitalizing their neighborhood.”
If the club decides to take legal action, it could become the local battle with no end in sight (Van Bramer told Runnin’ Scared last week that he would continue to fight the club from entering the neighborhood).
The first time Gypsy Rose tried to open up, apparently one of the owners threatened to feature fully nude dancers at the club if the liquor license was denied. The law says that if a joint serves liquor, exotic dancers must be at least partially clothed. When we spoke to Flynn last week, he said that none of the current partners have ever made that threat.
Keep your fingers crossed, anti-strip-club community people.
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