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Porn shop on Jamaica Ave. shuts down

By Gabriel Rom

After swift mobilization from civic leaders and elected officials, an adult store on Jamaica Avenue that opened in August has closed.

The closure follows a concerted push from Maria Thomson at the Woodhaven Business Improvement District and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) to see the shop depart.

“We had everybody involved–our elected officials, our precincts and our residents,” Thomson said. “Indirectly they were told they were not welcome here. This isn’t an area conducive to their type of business. We were ready to start the picket lines, but thankfully it didn’t come to that. The BID made clear that this was not the place for them.”

The store, called Nexus Point, opened in early August on the heels of a court ruling by the state Appellate Division upholding the legality of adult businesses in New York City.

In early August, some Woodhaven residents say they spoke to the owner of Nexus Point and asked for certain items to be taken down from its window display, a request with which the owner allegedly complied. This could not be independently confirmed.

The signage for Nexus Point was an inconspicuous scaffold that made no allusion to the adult nature of the business inside.

Nexus Point could not be reached for comment.

“Their front was pretty tasteful,” said Ed Wendell, a board member at the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. “Had people not pointed it out, I don’t think many people would have noticed it.”

Inside, the shop sold both non-adult bargain items such as party supplies while also offering pornographic videos, sex toys and private video booths for customers.

“In this situation you have claims to free speech on both sides,” said Erica Dubno a lawyer from the firm Fahringer & Dubno, which represented adult businesses in the recent court case. “You have the right of community members to speak out against expression that they disapprove of, but you also should not silence the expression of the business owner and the customers of the store who want to enjoy a type of expression that may not be popular, but is fully protected by the First Amendment. The community members can oppose it, they can speak out against it, but when you drive businesses out of town and force places to be shuttered and padlocked, we are all the losers.”

Wendell, in an opinion shared by many along the Jamaica Avenue corridor, remained unconvinced.

“Anyone who supports free-speech for pornography, that’s the hill you want to die on?” he said. “Those businesses on Jamaica Avenue have been vulnerable to a weak economy and then to see something like this come in, there was tremendous concern. The right to speech is really important, but the speech they promote isn’t right for our avenue.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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