Gunfire at Shadow Nightclub Sparks Neighborhood Fears

By Mathew Katz on March 1, 2012 1:52pm 

Police said that at least two violent incidents occurred outside of the Shadow nightclub since January.
Police said that at least two violent incidents occurred outside of the Shadow nightclub since January.
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DNAinfo/Sarah Tan

CHELSEA — A popular nightclub where a man was stabbed in January was the site of new violence last Saturday when a gun was fired outside the establishment, cops said.

The weekend gunshot at Shadow nightclub comes seven weeks after a man was stabbed and hit in the head with a bottle Jan. 7 outside the 1,100-square-foot, 500-person club — sparking fears among neighbors.

It also comes amid a rash of resident complaints about noise, violence and drug dealing surrounding the establishment in recent weeks.  Cops said that for the past month they have been visiting the club and the surrounding area on a regular basis.

"The residents of our building will not walk down 28th Street at night," said Mike Patton, who lives at the corner of West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue. "I have felt in danger. I've been hassled. I've had people threaten to punch me when I've taken pictures of what goes on there."

Cops and witnesses said that at least one shot rang out in front of Shadow, at 229 W. 28th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, as patrons were leaving just after 4 a.m., police and witnesses said.

Cops found the bullet buried in the security grate of a neighboring building.

"Nobody was shot, but there was a shot fired," said Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos, commanding officer of the NYPD's 10th Precinct, at the precinct's community council meeting on Feb. 29. "We discovered the round. It was in a rolled-down gate of an establishment, so when they opened up in the morning, we got to see the broken glass."

It's not clear, however, if the bullet was fired by a club patron or if a club patron was targeted. No arrests have been made, police said.

The club has been around for about three years, and bills itself as "drama-free." According to its website, the Friday night party is DJed by Bobby Trends and is broadcast live on Hot 97. The club bills their "Fame and Fortune" Fridays as "the biggest Friday night in all of New York City."

Two West 28th Street residents who attended the community council meeting told DNAinfo that they watched Saturday's shooter come out of the nightclub.

A man was stabbed and hit in the head with a bottle at The Shadow nightclub early Sat., Jan. 7, 2012, authorities said.
A man was stabbed and hit in the head with a bottle at The Shadow nightclub early Sat., Jan. 7, 2012, authorities said.
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http://shadowtheclub.com

But a man who identified himself as the club's assistant manager, who refused to give his name, said the shooter was a patron of another nearby bar. He said Shadow had fired its Friday night promoter because of neighborhood complaints about noise, rowdiness and violence when the club closes down.

Owners of the nightclub could not be immediately reached for comment.

Residents at the meeting said it's only recently that the bar has begun causing havoc with out-of-control noise when patrons leave on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

In response to outrage from dozens of neighbors, police said they would continue to work with the club to eliminate the violence and disruptions, including fights over cabs and cabs honking.

Police said officers occasionally enter the club to bring up the lights, lower the music and make sure the club isn't overcrowded.

"We know what's going on, and we're dedicating our resources, you have my word," Cokkinos said. "But it is a process, it's not going to just change overnight."

Both Cokkinos and officials from Community Board 5 recommended that angry residents continue to report incidents to the board and to the precinct, particularly when the club's liquor license comes up for renewal at the end of next year.

"You need to reach out to the community board, to your elected officials. We can try to have a meeting with the club owners," said Wally Rubin, manager of Community Board 5. "When the club is up for their liquor license renewal, it must come to us."

But residents, many of whom said they could not sleep on weekends because of the noise from patrons as they leave the bar and argue over cabs, want to see a faster solution.

"I think the confidence here has been broken," said Richard Dyer, who lives on the street. "I don't think we can co-exist."

One resident, who declined to give his name based on fear of retaliation from Shadow patrons, said the situation has gotten so bad that he hired a nightlife abatement lawyer.

"This club is absolutely destroying my neighborhood," he said.

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