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Controversial Nightclub Sin Sin Will Be Replaced by Bakery

The former nightclub Sin Sin on Second Avenue and East Fifth Street.
The former nightclub Sin Sin on Second Avenue and East Fifth Street.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

EAST VILLAGE — The sins of a former nightclub on Second Avenue will not be repeated when the space eventually reopens as a purveyor of health food and baked goods.

Sin Sin and the Leopard Lounge, the multi-story club at the corner of East 5th Street, closed last year following an outcry from nearby residents over the noise and violence produced by the popular establishment, including a fatal shooting involving bar-goers last summer.

While the club's operators back then attributed the closure to "renovations," the building's owner said there were currently no plans to bring booze back into the space.

"It's not going to be a bar," assured Alex Shkolnik, who owns 85 Second Ave. "It's never going to be something like was there."

Shkolnik claimed this time around he would not work with Sin Sin's owners, who unsuccessfully tried to transfer their liquor license last year to a new group of operators.

Instead, he explained, Shkolnik's son will take over the space and open an eatery featuring items like baked goods, coffee and juice.

"They're going to do probably a bakery there," he said, noting that it would serve "health food."

Local residents had long complained about the situation created by Sin Sin, noting that raucous late-night noise and fights occurred regularly outside the club.

Then, last August, 41-year-old Devin Thompson was fatally shot outside the nightspot near closing time by a pair of still-unidentified suspects, police said. The victim and suspects had all been inside Sin Sin before the shooting occurred, police added.

The incident sparked outrage in the neighborhood, with dozens of residents showing up at the local police precinct to demand more be done to prevent future violence at the club.

East 5th Street Block Association leader Stuart Zamsky, who used to patrol the area with a baseball bat to keep Sin Sin patrons from disturbing his family, was happy to hear that a bakery may replace the unruly bar.

"We're thrilled to hear that," he said of the owner's plans for the space.  "As with everyone, I take them at face value, and I believe that his intentions are exactly what he said."

Zamsky added that the situation on his block has improved immensely since Sin Sin's closure.

"The difference is night and day — night and day," he said, noting he used to have "noisemakers" like his apartment's air-conditioning running at all hours to drown out the racket.

"It was insanely out of control, it was crazy, and it's quiet now. It's amazing the difference."