By Bill Parry
For more than half a decade, elected officials and community leaders have demanded the closure of Show Palace, an adult nightclub beneath the Queensboro Bridge on 21st Street in Long Island City.
The State Liquor Authority repeatedly denied the strip club a liquor license so it began operating as an all-nude establishment and after five women were arrested on prostitution charges following a sweep by the NYPD Vice Squad last Friday night, state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) called on the NYPD and the Queens district attorney’s office to shutter Show Palace under the city’s nuisance abatement laws.
“At a time when the debate in our country is so focused on preventing the exploitation of women, a place like this is especially unwelcome,” Gianaris said. “Our family-friendly neighborhood is no place for a sex-based business with a long record of violence, drug sales and prostitution. This place has been a thorn in our community’s side for years and I will continue to protest this unwelcome establishment until its doors are closed.”
Show Palace is just blocks away from the Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing development.
“Three thousand children are subjected to this business right down the street from where they live and where they go to school,” Urban Upbound Co-founder and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor said. “This is more than a travesty.”
Taylor called it a “hotbed for criminal activity” where scantily clad women leave in the early morning hours.
“Long Island City is the gateway to Queens where more and more families are moving in by the day,” Gianaris said. “They’re breaking laws here on a regular basis.”
The club is owned by the same group that owns Sin City in the South Bronx, which was known for gang activity, shootings and prostitution before losing its liquor license last May.
The front of Show Palace is currently covered in posters protesting censorship.
“This has nothing to do with censorship or the Constitution and any attempt to make that argument is B.S.,” Former Community Board 2 Chairman Patrick O’Brien said. “Let’s not fall for that. It’s time for this blight to go away and we’re hoping in goes away soon.”
Motorists driving off the Queensboro Bridge heading for the Jackson Avenue exit come off the ramp at 21st Street directly across the intersection from Show Palace.
“We want people to come off the Queensboro Bridge and see this amazing community for what it is not to see a horrific, crime-ridden, prostitution-filled establishment with owners who don’t give a damn about this neighborhood,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr