49 shuts down gambling op/Morris Park beauty salon was a front

The NYPD shut down an illegal gambling operation at the Blow Styling Bar on Friday, April 14.
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

The NYPD shut down an illegal Morris Park gambling operation at 1741 Colden Avenue.

The base of operations, Blow Styling Bar, is next door to the Community Board 11 offices.

According to the business’ Instagram page, the storefront was a hairdressing salon during normal business hours.

According to the community board, after the business opened in January, board employees soon noticed there was cigarette smoke coming from the salon, through the board’s ventilation system and into their offices.

District manager Jeremy Warneke said cigarette smoke got so bad he had to move from his office and complete his work in the conference room.

Furthermore, Warneke said the smell lingered in the building to the extent that a CB 11 employee’s wife believed he had started smoking again.

Warneke said the community board sent several requests for help to the city’s Department of Health.

However, the NYS Department of State handles beauty salon inspections and did not provide comment at the time of this article.

A spokesperson from the NYC Department of Buildings said the department received a 311 complaint on Friday, February 10 that construction was being done at the establishment without a permit.

DOB attempted to inspect the storefront on Wednesday, March 1 and then again on Thursday, March 9.

On the first attempt a DOB inspector was turned away from the establishment and on the second try the shop was locked.

According to Captain Thomas Alps, commanding officer of the 4-9, the precinct also received their own 311 Service Request.

In addition, said Alps, the precinct received “several community complaints about an unlicensed social club operating a full service bar where gambling was being permitted and violations of the smoke-free air act were occurring.”

A precinct spokesperson said the social club opened after normal business hours.

On Friday, April 14 at 8:20 p.m., after a period of surveillance, the 49th Precinct police officers arrested ten people inside the beauty salon for allegedly promoting gambling in the third degree and possession of gambling records in the second degree.

The names of those arrested were not released because the case is still ongoing.

Alps said the officers recovered thousands of dollars in addition to gambling instruments such as playing cards and poker chips.

He said at the time of the arrests local residents thanked the officers for their service.

Alps also discussed why having such an establishment can be harmful to a community.

“These types of operations – such as unlicensed social clubs with unregulated gambling – often lead to violence and a multitude of criminal activity,” said Alps. “Add in the fact that intoxicants were being served at the location unlawfully, the probability of violence or disputes occurring increases.”

He continued, “Another factor to consider, when large sums of money are being displayed openly it attracts a violent criminal element who may target the location to rob.”

Tony Signorile, president of the Morris Park Community Association, said he was aware of the social club aspect of the beauty salon but was disappointed to hear about the illegal gambling taking place.

“Shame on them,” said Signorile. “We don’t particularly care to have those type of clubs in our community.”

“If they were gambling they got what they deserved,” Signorile continued. “No club should be allowed to gamble in the community. It portrays the wrong impression of our community when people do that.”

The Bronx Times found the Blow Styling Bar closed and no one available to comment.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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