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Irate Residents Find Strip Club Patrons Parked at Nearby McDonald's

By Patrick Wall | October 26, 2012 10:25am

HUNTS POINT — When Orlando Marin and his mother and nephew pulled into a McDonald’s this month looking for some late-night burgers, they found something else entirely — a young woman changing into a revealing outfit in the parking lot.

Marin confronted the woman, who explained that she parked at McDonald’s, but worked directly across the street at the new strip club Platinum Pleasures.

Later, police officers observed other club patrons parking in the restaurant’s lot at night, including some couples who appeared to be “horsing around” in their cars, according to 41st Precinct Special Operations Lieutenant Neftali Betances.

It’s a “Happy Meal establishment for children, and yet people are parking their cars there for a strip club,” said Marin, who lives just a few blocks from the McDonald’s at 875 Garrison Ave. “It’s horrible.”

The club sits in a building at 1098 Lafayette Ave., across the intersection from the McDonald’s and two blocks from a charter school.

Its previous occupant was another strip joint, called BadaBing, which was the scene of multiple stabbings, shootings and arrests for drug sales and prostitution when it operated from 2006 to 2009, according to Community Board 2.

The board, which has waged campaigns against several rowdy strip joints in the neighborhood, tried unsuccessfully to block Platinum Pleasure’s liquor license renewal in the spring.

After a long construction delay, the club officially opened in May, but hosted a launch party this month, according to the owner.

The McDonald’s across the street allows customers into its dining room until midnight, but keeps its drive-through open around the clock, according to Darlene Fortis, business manager and comptroller for Toli Management Corporation, a Long Island-based company that operates several McDonald’s restaurants.

Fortis said she and the location’s supervisors were unaware of the parking lot situation until the community board contacted them.

It is the company’s policy to have non-customers towed from the lot, Fortis said. But it is nearly impossible for employees to view the parking lot without leaving the building, which could put them in danger at certain hours, she added.

“How about if our people go out there and say, ‘You’re going to get towed,’ and they get shot?” Fortis said. “Now that scares me.”

A store manager, Shakaya Clarke, agreed that it would be unsafe for employees to confront people in the lot and added that the towing company the store uses does not operate at all hours.

This response has frustrated Marin and several community board members.

“Either McDonald’s takes the cars out of there, or we will have one less McDonald’s in our community,” Marin, the community board’s former chairman, said at a board meeting Wednesday.

Betances, the police lieutenant, said officers spoke with both the McDonald’s managers and the club owner, who all agreed to work to keep club patrons out of the parking lot.

Platinum Pleasures’ owner, Felix Cuesta, said he has no authority over the lot, but that he instructed his employees not to park there and informed patrons that if they chose to they would be towed.

But Wednesday night, an SUV with the word “DJ” stenciled on its rear window pulled out from the McDonald’s lot, where it had been parked, and drove to the front of Platinum Pleasures. Then two men hauled speakers and other equipment from the club to the car.