By Rebecca Henely
Community Board 2 has once again recommended denial of a liquor license to a strip club near Queens Plaza, saying despite the club’s change in management, the business still goes against the community’s planned future growth.
“It’s contradictory to the city’s vision. It’s contradictory to the amount of money that the city has invested into that area,” said CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley.
The club, Gypsy Rose, which is at 42-50 21st St., presented its application for a license at a CB 2 City Services and Public Safety Committee meeting Aug. 3. It was a rejected by a unanimous, seven-member vote with one abstention.
The club has remained a controversial prospect in the community because Gypsy Rose’s former owner, Gus Drakopoulos, had tangled with CB 2 back in 2009, threatening to lower the age of the performers from 21 to 18 and have them perform fully nude instead of topless.
Terry Flynn, lawyer for Gypsy Rose, said Drakopoulos was now no longer in charge and in his place Elias Sakalis, a man who has experience in the food and beverage industry, is running the club with Lambrose Mamorouis, who lives in Texas and has experience in the adult entertainment industry.
Flynn said that in accordance with previous requests, the club had outlined its method of operations and agreed to minimal signage, extra security and no on-street handouts advertising the establishment. The current sign for the club is small and located on its door.
“You can’t run a successful business without being a good neighbor,” Flynn said.
Patrick O’Brien, who sits on CB 2’s City Services Committee, said that despite this the board could not be assured that Sakalis was not acting as a front for Drakopoulos. He also said the CB 2 district, which encompasses Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and a part of Maspeth, already has multiple strip clubs.
“We as a community have our fair share of these adult establishments,” said Carol Terrano, who sits on the committee.
Gypsy Rose is near Queens Plaza, which has been undergoing a reconstruction to redirect traffic and add bike lanes since 2009, the first phase of which is estimated to cost $76 million. The city Department of Health moved to the area this year and JetBlue is planning to move to the area in 2012.
State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) submitted a letter to CB 2 recommending the license not be granted, citing how close it was to the Queensbridge Houses at 41st Avenue and 21st Street.
“This is not an establishment that will positively impact our society,” Nolan said in her statement.
The committee also voted 7-0 with one abstention to grant a retail consumption license to Corner Bistro, a Manhattan eatery planning to open a Long Island City branch, at 47-18 Vernon Blvd., requesting the eatery close at 3 a.m. Friday through Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The operators of the Bistro requested to have hours of 11:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday through Saturday, noon to 3. a.m. Sunday and 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.