SLA rejects Gypsy Rose’s bid for liquor license

Long Island City officials and residents protest earlier this month against a Long Island City strip club getting a liquor license. The state Liquor Authority denied the license last week.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley said he expected the owners of Long Island City club Gypsy Rose would continue to fight for a liquor license even though the state Liquor Authority rejected their bid for a license last week.

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

Members of the community board and neighbors held a rally Jan. 12 against the strip club, at 42-50 21st St. in Long Island City, six days before the SLA made its latest decision.

“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 CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley.

The request for a liquor license by Gypsy Rose was previously rejected by the SLA 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 whether Drakopoulos was still involved in the venture.

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

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.

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

“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 (D-Sunnyside) said in a statement.

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

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