By Bill Parry
Back in 2010, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley teamed up to close Casa Romano, a restaurant on Queens Boulevard that frequently served minors alcohol, leading to episodes of violence that affected area residents and businesses in Sunnyside.
After a bloody brawl that fall in which two people were stabbed and 14 were arrested, Van Bramer, Conley and several other community leaders rallied outside Casa Romano and soon afterward the NYPD was able to close the establishment for a nuisance abatement and the owners eventually sold the business.
“That was a bad place. They used to bus in underage gang members from Brooklyn,” Conley said. “It was on our radar, so we protested on site with the help of the 108th Precinct and we complained to the State Liquor Authority and they padlocked it.”
Now Van Bramer and the new chairman of CB 2, Pat O’Brien, are hoping history repeats itself. They have set their sights on another bad neighbor on Queens Boulevard.
The two gathered with residents and other community leaders, outside Club Allure, located at 33-02 Queens Blvd. in Long Island City, to call on authorities to shut down the nightclub after years of violent episodes.
“Club Allure has a horrible track record of illegality that is occurring both inside and outside of the club.” Van Bramer said. “Their long history of violence and criminal activity has gone on for far too long. They have no regard for the law and enough is enough. We are calling on the State Liquor Authority to revoke their liquor license as we work with the appropriate authorities to get this establishment shut down before someone gets killed.”
According to the NYPD, in the last two years alone there have been 20 complaint reports and 15 arrests for DWI, possession of a firearm and marijuana made at the venue, stemming from the club. There have been 48 criminal court case summonses issued and four felony assaults involving people being shot.
“We’ve spoken with the NYPD and confirmed that there are literally over a hundred violations of various sorts over the last year or so,” O’Brien said. “They draw in a bad crowd and they cannot control that bad crowd and we are doing all we can to deal with this. Between knives, guns, weapons, violent incidents and a list of violations as long as your arm, it’s time this place goes.”
In October 2014, two men got into a gunfight outside the club and shot four bystanders. The following month, a man stabbed a patron during a dispute inside the club.
On Dec. 6, a patron got into a confrontation with one of Club Allure’s bouncers and threatened to return with a gun. The NYPD intercepted the patron and confiscated a firearm, with one police officer from the 108th Precinct injured during the arrest.
“As far as Club Allure is concerned, it frequently drains our resources at closing time, requiring police personnel to be present so that there is no escalation of violence,” Capt. John Travaglia, the commander of the 108th Precinct, said. He said the NYPD’s legal bureau would handle the process of shutting down the club.
“We have wonderful establishments and businesses in our community that don’t cultivate these kinds of patrons that perpetrate these crimes,” O’Brien said. “The number of incidents that have occurred at Club Allure is staggering. We are taking a stand against a business that is our of control and putting our community at risk.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr