Pols apart on Hunts Point nudie bar

Sen. Jeff Klein led a group of local leaders May 7 in slamming the reopening of Hunts Point’s last strip bar, and proposing new oversight regulation.
Photo by Alex Belisle

A group of pols are putting the squeeze on a Hunts Point strip club that danced its way through a legal loophole to reopen this month as an all-nude “juice bar.”

Platinum Pleasures, Hunt’s Point’s last remaining jiggle joint, closed in February after it was stripped off its liquor license after staunch opposition from the local community board. But the Lafayette Avenue club reopened in May as a “juice bar,” serving no alcohol but allowed to have all-nude dancers because of an obscure loophole in state liquor law. The club was also exempt from appearing before Community Board 2, which has worked over the last decade to rid the area of strip joints.

Pols: Give nabe a say

The new law would require Platinum Pleasures, or any other strip club, to apply for a so-called “cabaret license” and give the community board a chance to vet its application. Though the board’s recommendation is technically advisory, state and city licensers usually echo local opinion.

“Nightclubs that have threatened our safety and our quality of life continue to find new ways of circumventing the law to re-open with little state or community oversight,” said state Senator Jeff Klein, who is sponsoring the legislation alongside Bronx assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Luis Sepulveda, and state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.

Members of the local community board rallied outside the club Wednesday, May 7 in support of the new law and against Platinum Pleasures, which is now open on weekends from 3 a.m to 8 a.m. on Lafayette Avenue just off Bruckner Blvd.

A nabe nuisance

Locals have long griped that strip clubs at the location are neighborhood nuisances. Drunk patrons flood the joint and then harass women on the street when they leave, charged Robert Crespo, chair of CB 2’s franchise, licensing and permits committee.

“We have two schools across the street. Kids coming in off the train [at Longwood], and people walking to work are going to subjected to this type of nonsense,” said Crespo.

Another community concern is exhausting late night police resources.

“Whenever this place is open, we need to put a car outside to prevent issues from happening,” said Deputy Inspector Phillip Rivera, commanding officer of the 41th Precinct. “If something happens on the other side of the precinct, we’re constricted.”

Church plans halted

Local momentum had been building to replace the strip club with a church, run by Real Life Church pastor Reggie Stutzman, until a new owner, Alex Mesouris, bought the club and reopened it as a juice bar.

Stutzman had been raising money to take over the property lease, but that plan has been put on hold – though he’s staying optimistic.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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