HUNTS POINT — A notorious South Bronx strip club that won a court case to resume operation could be forced to remain shuttered if local politicians get their way.
The State Liquor Authority took away Platinum Pleasures' liquor license in 2013, due in part to a history of violent activity at the club. But the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court recently overturned this decision and ordered the SLA to impose a lesser penalty.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Community Board 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca Jr. fired off a letter to SLA Commissioner Dennis Rosen, blaming Platinum Pleasures for fighting and prostitution in the community and strongly urging him to appeal the court's decision.
"One of the major contributing factors to the problem of prostitution in Hunts Point is the poorly run Gentlemen Clubs (Topless Entertainment) in the area," the letter reads. "These establishments and most notably, how they are operated, serve as a breeding ground for prostitution, which we have been fighting to curb."
Establishments like Platinum Pleasures also prevent new businesses from investing in Hunts Point because they do not want to associate with places "that give a negative image to the community and promote crime," according to the letter.
Klein said places like Platinum Pleasures is step backwards for a South Bronx neighborhood that has seen a lot of improvement over the years.
"Hunts Point has come a long way to shed its reputation as a community filled with crime and prostitution and drugs," he said. "Now it’s home to hardworking people, and I think the community has been very vigilant about trying to close down these establishments."
The SLA would have to appeal the court's ruling by April 24, and the board is still trying to figure out whether or not they will do this, according to spokesman Bill Crowley.
"It’s something that’s being considered," he said, "and it’s something that our board would have to take up at a board meeting in the next couple of weeks."
Although Salamanca acknowledged that the strip club industry would be virtually impossible to eliminate, he maintained that quality of life in the neighborhood had increased since Platinum Pleasures had its license taken away.
"The residents that live in Hunts Point were extremely happy that they were closed," he said, "especially the women."
"If it were going to have the same sort of violence at the location, of course we wouldn’t want it open," she said.
Albert Pirro, the lawyer for Platinum Pleasures, did not respond to requests for comment.
Hunts Point resident Maria Torres said she was disappointed by the court's decision and preferred the way things were in her neighborhood without Platinum Pleasures.
"Things run a little bit smoother around here when you don’t have to have cops diverted for these clubs, or Friday or Saturday nights, coming in and just seeing everybody parked all up and down Lafayette or at the McDonald’s lot," she said. "Things like that, you know? One less headache on a Friday night."