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Parties Continue at Loft Busted for Allegedly Hosting Illegal Sex Club

By Mathew Katz | January 3, 2013 11:47am | Updated on January 3, 2013 12:05pm
 Fetish Tribe hosts kinky parties in New York and Las Vegas, pictured here. The group was set to host a similar party on New Year's Eve at 38 W. 38th St. 
Fetish Tribe hosts kinky parties in New York and Las Vegas, pictured here. The group was set to host a similar party on New Year's Eve at 38 W. 38th St. 
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Facebook/Fetish Tribe

MIDTOWN — A Garment District loft raided by cops who suspected it of hosting an illegal after-hours nightclub that included sex parties is again throwing kinky, loud gatherings once a week, neighbors said.

The parties returned in late fall and have become a constant nuisance, residents of the street said. According to an invite obtained by DNAinfo New York, the spot was set to host a sexy Fetish Tribe party on New Year's Eve. 

"It really did become a major nuisance," said Leon Zamdmer, a neighbor who lives a few buildings away from the hot spot at 38 W. 38th St.

He said one of the prominent features of the parties is the thumping bass of the music.

"The bass makes the walls and windows shake," he said. "It's a thump-thump, thump-thump."

The space on W. 38th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, formerly known as La Galeria Loft, was raided in 2011 by cops from the Midtown South Precinct who suspected it of hosting an "illegal after-hours party where alcohol was sold without a proper license."

Alleged club promoter Alexander Van Bousen, 43, was arrested on misdemeanor charges including the unlicensed sale of alcohol and alcohol warehousing, according to court documents.

Complaints from neighbors of the loft, which sits in the same building as a massage parlor and a Muslim prayer center, had included reports of condoms littering the stairwell.

According to a website promoting the Fetish Tribe New Year's Party, it promised "sexiness, laughs, play, dancing and debauchery," along with "cheap drinks" at a "private loft" in the building.

The building's landlord, Benji Faraj, said that he had one tenant on the fifth floor who has hosted several parties, but could not comment on any noise complaints.

"I rented it to him as a photography studio," Faraj said. "I told him he cannot organize parties there, and I asked him to leave. He's moving out."

According to State Liquor Authority records, the building does not have a liquor license and was not included in the authority's list of approved all-night permits for New Year's Eve.

Eileen Miller, who lives on the street, said she wouldn't be surprised if the building's landlord was breaking the law.

"These folks have been throwing their parties, disappearing, reappearing," she said. "I just don’t have an explanation for it. "

Rules set out for the Fetish Tribe parties allow so-called "fetishistas" to dress up in skimpy clothes, tie each other up, spank one another, and mime sexual acts without actually engaging in them. The rules state that actual sexual acts and full nudity are not allowed at the parties.

The New Year's Eve party, which sold special discount tickets to guests arriving after 2 a.m., promised a bash that could last for days.

"The last Tribe Ultimate Afterparty went for over 72 hours!" the invite stated. "Get some rest. You’ve been warned!"

Neighbor Zamdmer, who sits on the co-op board of his building, said that many tenants there filed complaints with 311 and notified police about the loft's loud parties after one on Saturday night.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to calls from DNAinfo New York.

On New Year's Eve, however, Zamdmer said he could not hear a party, though Miller said there were dozens of empty bottles outside the building on New Year's Day. 

Representatives of Fetish Tribe did not respond to requests for comment.

A tattoo-covered woman, clad only in a towel, answered the door at the location of the alleged party loft and said that she knew nothing about any parties hosted there.

Two other tenants in the building, the massage parlor and Muslim center, did not respond to requests for comment.