The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has suspended a liquor license belonging to a Maspeth strip joint that has a long history of violence and gang activity.
Effective on Feb. 16, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises of Rouge, also known as Cityscapes Gentleman’s Club, located at 55-60 58th St. Additionally, the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancelation or revocation of the license.
“This licensee continually disregards their obligation to adequately supervise the premises, and is clearly a threat to the safety of the public,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano. “Failure to cooperate with law enforcement and attempting to conceal crimes on the premises are unacceptable offenses. I thank our partners in law enforcement and the Authority for taking swift action in shutting down this establishment.”
According Special Operations Lt. Braumann of the 108th Precinct, the club has become a focal point for police attention. After multiple reports of individuals with gang affiliations, violent incidents at the bar and the ongoing threat to the surrounding community, a police presence outside of Cityscapes has been regularly required.
On Dec. 30, 2015, former New York Knicks forward Cleanthony Early was reportedly shot during a robbery after leaving Cityscapes. At 4:30 a.m. that day, Early and an unidentified female were riding in an Uber cab moments after leaving the club when three vehicles blocked the car in. Four of the six suspects then demanded that Early hand over his property. Early complied, however the suspects shot him once in the right kneecap.
The next day, Cityscapes was hit with two Molotov cocktails at 5:34 a.m. The cocktails were thrown through the club’s windows, setting a fire within the establishment
More recently, at 3:35 a.m. on Jan. 31, the NYPD initiated a car stop where the motorist stated that an acquaintance was stabbed inside Cityscapes. Following an investigation, police discovered surveillance footage that had the suspect, who is still at large, entering the bar through a side door, bypassing security procedures. Interviews with bar management and staff by the NYPD revealed that an incident did take place, but they failed to report it to authorities.
On Feb. 9, an SLA investigator and officers from the 108th Precinct, NYPD Citywide Vice Club Team and Queens North Vice Enforcement Team conducted a compliance inspection of the Cityscapes premises. During the inspection, 44 compliance issues were identified, 26 NYPD criminal court summonses were issued, and one arrest was made.
Violations that were issued included; failure to produce books and records upon request, locked exits, presence of a DJ and promoter which is in direct violation of an agreement with the community board, illegal operation of a kitchen in the basement, which is prohibited in the Certificate of Occupancy, and purchasing and refilling from an unauthorized source.