By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — Neighbors who were upset by a suggestive sign hanging outside a new theater on Avenue A now want to pull the curtains back on the comedy club's newest addition — literally.
The Upright Citizens Brigade recently hung red drapes in the windows of its forthcoming venue near East 3rd Street, after the comedy troupe agreed to remove a humorous "Hot Chicks Room" sign due to local residents' complaints that the babe-inspired billboard would draw hordes of rowdy bar-goers.
Now neighbors are taking issues with the theater's rose-colored curtains, claiming they make the venue look like a house of ill repute.
"They look like red velvet, like you would see in a bordello," said Felicia Caggiano, 66, whose window looks out onto the theater and who previously planned to start a petition against the "repulsive" Chicks sign.
"Red curtains? C'mon," she added. "It just looks so sleazy now."
Upright Citizens Brigade managing director Alex Sidtis, who begrudgingly decided to take the tongue-in-cheek "hot chicks" sign down to avoid a fight with the community, was at a loss for words following the latest gripe.
"This is my only comment," he wrote in an email, adding a link to a Google Images search of "theatre curtains" showing a page full of red drapes similar to the ones in his windows.
Nonetheless, neighbors were split over whether the curtains appeared in poor taste.
"You got all the hookah joints, they put up curtains too," said Tom Tobler, 50, who lives nearby, of the multiple hookah bars in the area featuring a Middle Eastern décor.
"It doesn't look sleazy at all. Of course, I'm not here at 2 in the morning."
At least one East Villager sided with Caggiano, claiming the drapes make it look the club is trying to cover something up.
"That makes it worse," said Maggie Ortiz, also in her 50s. "It looks like they're trying to hide something."
And what do the curtains make the venue appear like at first glance?
"I don't even want to say," she added. "If I lived in this neighborhood, I'd be screaming too."
Caggiano said she already reached out to Sidtis to ask about the curtains, but also worries about what the future holds for the comedy club.
"What's next, red lamps on the outside?" she said. "I wasn't expecting white lace, that's for sure. But I wasn't expecting red. It really looks like a bordello."