By Jon Cronin, Editor
Angry and frustrated neighbors of the Traphouse Gentlemen’s Club in Ozone Park spoke out at the June 13 Community Board 9 meeting, saying that they frequently witness public drunkenness, lewdness and urination outside the establishment—and that they have received no help from local politicians or the 102nd Precinct.
Aurora Castianos, a mother of three and neighbor of the club, said that she has heard late night screaming, fighting and gun shots. She also claims to have seen people from the club having sex in driveways and alleyways surrounding the club.
Jackie Meissner, an 80th street resident, said that one night her car was riddled with bullets when someone was shooting at a girl in the street. She said that she wanted to sue the club, but her husband talked her out of it due to fear of retribution. Meissner said that she called the community board, Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (D-Howard Beach) office and the police, but did not get a satisfactory response.
Jose Severino, the community affairs officer for the 102nd Precinct, said that the 102nd has made five arrests at that location in the past two years and issued 21 court summonses.
One woman yelled, “Not true!”—and another, “It’s not enough!”
Severino said that the 102nd could work with the State Liquor Authority and the city Department of Buildings to see what could be done.
The neighbors identified the club’s owner, Michael J. Laboy, in the audience. It was reported that he planned to address the renewal of his liquor license, but left before that item was reached on the agenda.
Sylvia Hack, a CB 9 member, asked Severino if the police could close the club down under its nuisance abatement program. Severino noted that it is a long process.
“Well, sounds like it’s something that needs to be started,” responded Hack.
Jim Coccovillo, chairman of CB 9’s Public Safety and Consumer Affairs Committee, said—in light of the testimony by Traphouse neighbors—that the board would draft a strongly worded letter to the State Liquor Authority to immediately revoke the club’s liquor license, which is up for renewal.
The board then voted unanimously to do so.
The board also plans to meet with Deputy Inspector Deodat Urprasad, commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, to discuss what can be done.
Meissner, who has been living in her house for 28 years with her brother next door and her mother around the corner, said that she will not be frightened out of her neighborhood. After the meeting, Meissner said that she was surprised to hear from the board and Ulrich that they have no record of her complaints.
Alexandra Delves started a petition on Change.org to show community support for the closure of the business. Delves said that the club’s neighbors spoke privately with Ulrich and reported that the councilman plans to tell other governmental agencies about the issues surrounding the club and hold a meeting for the neighbors.
“It is a disgrace that my constituents are being subjected to this, and if there is illegal activity taking place at this location, I will not stand for it,” Ulrich said. “I will continue to work with the 102nd Precinct and community leaders to ensure that residents are safe.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.