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SLA rejects LIC strip club again

Bishop Mitchell Taylor (first row, l.-r.), Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley rally with civic leaders, business people and residents against the Gypsy Rose strip club getting a liquor license. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

In keeping with the wishes of the Long Island City community, the State Liquor Authority rejected for a second time an application from the Gypsy Rose strip club on 21st Street.

“We think it’s a great victory for the community and it shows that when the community comes together single-mindedly, the community can win,” said Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley.

The request for a liquor license by Gypsy Rose, located on 42-50 21st St. in Long Island City, was previously rejected by the State Liquor Authority in 2011. Two years earlier, the business earned the community’s ire when its then-co-owner, Gus Drakopoulos, threatened to lower the age of the performers from 21 to 18 and have them perform fully nude instead of topless if the business did not get a liquor license.

While representatives of Gypsy Rose said at a previous CB 2 meeting that Drakopoulos was no longer affiliated with the company, CB 2 members said they could not be certain Drakopoulos was still not involved in the venture.

The board and other community members also objected to the business, saying it was inconsistent with the city’s investment into the community.

“This neighborhood is no place for a sex-based business,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said in a statement, “and today’s vote brings us one step closer to ensuring the wholesome, family-friendly environment in which an increasing number of people live and work.”

Conley said the area already had eight strip clubs.

“It was something that was not going to enhance the community,” Conley said. “It was something that was going to have a negative impact.”

Members of the community and board held a rally against the strip club Jan. 12, six days before the SLA made its latest decision.

“For over 2 1/2 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,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said in a statement.

Conley said he suspected the owners of Gypsy Rose would try again to get a liquor license for the establishment. The owners have said they have millions invested in the property, although Conley said CB 2 and the SLA believe they have invested around $500,000.

“We’re going to be very vigilant, keep an eye on what’s happening there,” Conley said.

The chairman added that a man contacted the board who was interested in opening a restaurant at the location and the board was looking to pursue that option.

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

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