MANHATTAN — The city is trying to shut down a West 30th Street spa following an undercover sting that found it has been the site of illegal prostitution, a new lawsuit says.
The NYPD received a 911 call in April reporting that prostitution was taking place at W Men Spa, at 216 W. 30th St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues, according to a complaint filed by the city in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday.
In two affidavits attached to the complaint, a pair of unnamed undercover officers state they were assigned to “investigate prostitution” at the spa later that month.
One of the officers went into the spa — which claims to “specialize in bodywork therapy and relaxation spa treatments” — on April 20, told a man who greeted him that he wanted a massage and was led toward a back room, one of the affidavits says.
The man told the officer that a massage would cost $60, and when the officer followed up to ask about the price of a sex act, the worker told him it would cost an additional $40, the affidavit says.
A second officer went into the spa on April 25 and had a similar exchange with a male employee, who told him that a massage and a sex act would cost $120, according to another affidavit.
Advertisements that “included sexually suggestive images of men” posted on Backpage.com, The Village Voice’s website and Next Magazine’s website between August 2012 and July 24, 2017, listed a phone number that matched the one on the spa’s website, the complaint says.
Backpage.com ads posted as recently as August 6 with subject lines like “Hot boys & man” list W Men Spa’s phone number and address. Its Facebook page, meanwhile, has posted ads for “body work” that include suggestive photos of scantily clad men.
The suit names the building at 216 W. 30th St. and owner 216 West 30 LLC as defendants. It also includes the spa’s “owners, lessees, operators or occupants” as defendants, but names them only as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe.”
An employee working at the spa on Tuesday said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, and the spa’s manager didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The suit seeks a judgment against the defendants that will shut the spa down for a year and impose $1,000 in civil penalties on each defendant “for each day that such defendant intentionally conducted, maintained or permitted the public nuisance.”
The building’s owner couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, and the city’s Law Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.