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East Village Massage Spot Located Next to School Is Closed for Prostitution

By Allegra Hobbs | August 14, 2017 9:23am
 Nie's Service Center was shut down by a court order after police discovered they were offering massage services without a license and performing prostitution.
Nie's Service Center was shut down by a court order after police discovered they were offering massage services without a license and performing prostitution.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

EAST VILLAGE — An East Fourth Street massage parlor located next to a school was shuttered after a series of police investigations revealed the spot was selling sex and operating without a license, according to court documents.

Police carried out four undercover operations at Nie's Service Center at 125 E. Fourth St. — which operates next to the Manhattan School for Career Development between First and Second avenues — from March 8 to April 25, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the city.

In two of those instances, parlor workers agreed to perform massage services without the required license, and in the other two they agreed to have sex with undercover officers in exchange for cash, the suit states.

An undercover officer who visited the spa on April 20 and 25 agreed with a female employee to pay $40 for a 30-minute massage and $120 for sexual intercourse, according to an affidavit attached to the lawsuit. He left the spa before she could perform either.

Prior to that, on March 8 and 10, two unnamed undercover officers who were assigned to investigate "unlicensed message therapy" at the spa said they paid a female attendant $40 to massage their backs for 30 minutes, the suit says.

An attorney representing the city searched the name of the women who performed the massages on state databases and found they did not have New York State Massage Therapy licenses, according to the lawsuit. 

Once the officers left and a field team entered the spa after each instance to inspect the business and asked the woman who had performed the massage to show a license, which she was unable to provide, according to an affidavit by Detective Hoiping Lee of the Vice Enforcement Division of Manhattan South.

The lawsuit names the building's commercial space and its owner, Cashew Associates, L.P., as defendants as well as the unnamed spa operators, identified only as "John Doe" and "Jane Doe."

It accuses the defendants of creating both a public nuisance and a criminal nuisance, demanding they each pay $1,000 for every day they allowed the public nuisance to continue and for the court to shutter the space for a year. 

The day after the suit was filed, Justice Charles E. Ramos ordered a hearing scheduled for Aug. 15 and ordered the spa be shuttered while the matter is pending, according to a court order.

On Friday, a notice declaring the closure was posted to the shuttered parlor's window, along with a restraining order forbidding prostitution and the removal of any property from the space.

Property owners Lucky Cashew Associates, L.P. have owned the commercial space, which is part a condominium building, since 2003, according to property records. They could not immediately be reached for comment.

A restraining order on the window of Nie's Service Center forbids prostitution. (DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs)