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CB 2 honors member for fight against strip club

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (c.) and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (second from l.) deliver proclamations to CB 2's City Services Chairman Patrick O'Brien (second from r.), while CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley (l.) and Sen. Michael Gianaris (r.) look on. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

Long Island City elected officials congratulated Patrick O’Brien, chairman of the Community Board 2 City Services Committee, for the work he did in urging the state Liquor Authority to reject a strip club’s request for a license to serve alcohol in the community.

O’Brien received recognition through proclamations and certificates from City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood), state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and the board itself at CB 2’s monthly meeting Jan. 31.

They also gave citations to O’Brien’s daughter, Kate, who assisted on the legal end of the board’s fight against Gypsy Rose, at 42-50 21st St. in Long Island City.

“This is a little embarrassing,” O’Brien said of the accolades. “The award really is in the work.”

The board fought against the club getting a license, arguing the rapidly changing neighborhood, in which the city has invested millions of dollars to improve, already had eight strip clubs. The club had also raised the board’s ire when a former co-owner, Gus Drakopoulos, threatened to lower the minimum age of the dancers from 21 to 18 and have them perform nude instead of topless.

In addition to the honors for O’Brien, the board voted to approve a City Planning zoning green amendment that would allow building owners to implement sustainable energy practices such as solar panels, rooftop gardens, windmills and greenhouses for commercial and government properties.

CB 2 also approved allowing the city Sanitation Department to continue to lease space at 52-07 59th St., near the Woodside/Maspeth line, despite protests from some board members that the trucks moving through the area placed a strain on the neighborhood.

Andres DeLeon, of Sanitation, said the department uses the location to repair its trucks. He said Sanitation operates there from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and trucks are there for only two days.

Some board members said the trucks still had an impact.

“For residents of this community, it is significant,” said Lisa Deller, chairwoman of CB 2’s Land Use Committee.

CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley said community members should report trucks that drive away from Sanitation’s designated routes or cause problems in the community.

The board also rejected a proposal from airline company Jet Blue to allow non-blinking electric signs in the Queens Plaza area for commercial properties where one company occupies at least 25 percent of the building.

“The committee had some grave concerns about what this amendment would allow,” Deller said.

Officials said despite the rejection of JetBlue’s proposal, they were glad to have the company in the community.

“I think it’s a great thing that Jet Blue has moved their world headquarters to Long Island City,” Van Bramer said.

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

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