A Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to felony assault in a 2000 stabbing outside the now-defunct Metropolis Club in College Point.
Nicholas Gambino, 20, of Bay Ridge, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the second degree last week in Queens Supreme Court.
Judge Stanley Katz said he would sentence Gambino to five years’ probation at his next court appearance on May 23rd. It is alleged that the defendant is the nephew of a member of the Gambino crime family.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that Gambino waived his claim to self defense and his right to appeal. He admitted causing injury to two young men during an assault with a knife following a petty dispute at the Metropolis.
Trial testimony revealed that Gambino and the two victims were at the Metropolis, each with their own group of friends. A dispute over a woman arose between the two groups, escalated and continued in the parking lot. Gambino then stabbed the two men, both from Whitestone.
According to officials, Gambino was arrested shortly after the incident by police who were nearby. The victims recovered from their wounds.
Located in an isolated area of College Point, near the industrial park at 31-99 123rd Street, the Metropolis had a long history of violence. It was closed two weeks after the stabbings in the summer of 2000 based on over 15 violations, many of which were due to serving alcohol to minors.
It is also situated close to major roadways and bridges and drew crowds from Brooklyn and the Bronx.
The club’s large size, holding up to 1,000 people, has long been a bone of contention with law enforcement officials as well as area residents who say it attracted outsiders with plenty of money to spend where fights were a common occurrence.
The Metropolis was also the scene of violence earlier in 2000 when a Bronx man died after his throat was slashed outside the club. A year before that, one man died in a shooting outside the club and two others were killed in a car accident when they tried to escape the crime scene.
Mary Anderson, president of the East Flushing Civic Association, has been active for years in trying to close down bars where crime and quality of life issues are prevalent. She monitored the Metropolis situation and was happy when it was closed but is concerned about the future.
“I would like to see something different there like a day care center, senior center or community center but it wouldn’t generate enough revenue,” she said.
She worries that the club will reopen under different management but will face the same problems. “They will need a lot more security and must be careful on who they admit. There will always be trouble because the place is so large.”
Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade, was also an outspoken critic of the Metropolis, who told the owner, John Provenzano, what needed to be done to prevent incidents there.
“They have always had problems with security there. I told them that they needed beefed-up security, maybe using retired cops, to prevent under-age drinking.”
He stressed that the club did not attract a local clientele but a late-night crowd from other areas.
“What we really need here is family recreation. There is nothing for families to do in College Point,” Mazzarello added.