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Van Bramer says spas in LIC may be illegal

Some Dutch Kills residents say illegal activities occur at this massage parlor. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and civic leader George Stamatiades said they are determined to fight two spas in the Dutch Kills area they suspect of being illegal businesses.

“It’s contrary to everything else that is happening in the Dutch Kills-Long Island City community,” Van Bramer said.

The councilman’s office said the community was concerned with two spas, one on 37th Avenue called Smile Dawa, and another on 38th Avenue called Asian Body Work. They said these parlors may be fronts for prostitution or other illegal sex activities.

“It’s a situation where it’s a quality of life issue and we have to address it,” Stamatiades said.

The voice mailbox for Smile Dawa was full when TimesLedger Newspapers called. The manager for Asian Body Work was not available for comment.

Smile Dawa had previously been closed by the NYPD and three arrests were made, one of which was for solicitation, Van Bramer’s office said.

But to close the establishment permanently, the location needs to be cited three times.

Stamatiades said the police were doing their job, although the system makes it difficult.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” Stamatiades said. “Does that mean you can rob a bank three times?”

Van Bramer’s office also said it was working with the NYPD to close Asian Body Work.

In the past, Long Island City has had to fight prostitution in the area, and Stamatiades described the massage parlors as another battle that needs to be fought, both against prostitution but also because of the possibility of the johns who frequent the businesses being hurt.

“It’s a situation where I guess they’re being run out of town from Roosevelt Avenue [in Jackson Heights] and they’re finding small, inexpensive space throughout all the area,” he said.

Van Bramer said he did not believe the problem was systemic in any way, but he was concerned that the businesses detracted from the otherwise “wonderful residential neighborhood.”

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal businesses and crime in our neighborhood,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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