Lisa Piazza, the owner of NYC Gentleman’s Club, went before Community Board 1 to apply for a cabaret license — along with an attorney and security detail — but the board was not interested in letting three bikini-clad women dance for entertainment at the same time and unanimously denied the application.
Located in Woodside at 26-50 Brooklyn Queens Expressway, in a building that also hosts a gym, the club has a maximum occupancy of 74 persons. Without a cabaret license, Piazza is allowed two dancers at a time, but when both are busy in the private or VIP areas, the stage is empty.
“There’s not much room for more than three dancers onstage,” Piazza said. “I’m just trying to do it the right way.”
The club advertises “the hottest private lap dance in NYC” and bills itself as the only adult entertainment near LaGuardia Airport that caters to an upscale clientele.
While Piazza tried to assure the board members that she was only applying for a license for her club, the board worried that the cabaret license would apply to the entire building.
Piazza and her attorney also did not know the square footage of the club offhand, a fact the board pressed.
“Unless you know the square footage, no way … will I vote for this establishment to be covered by a cabaret license,” one board member said.
Another board member cited mentions of the club on review sites, where it is listed as a topless strip joint with escorts, but Piazza said that is not the case, as the performers are required to wear bikinis or pasties. She referred to her patrons as “gentlemen” and occasionally couples, and said that she enforces a strict dress code.
“It’s a gentlemen’s club, not a nightclub,” Piazza said. “I don’t want to turn into that. I’m in my late forties, and unlike some owners I spend time in my business.”
A police officer from the 114th Precinct said the club is in one of the top 10 crime areas in the community. While he noted that it is hard to pinpoint which establishments are responsible, historically nightclubs account for many violent crimes, the majority of which takes place on the streets late at night.
The precinct dedicates two sergeants and two police officers to monitor the community’s growing nightlife scene.
One board member referenced an October murder at another club, Perfections. “Excuse us for being a bit squeamish, with homes not that far away,” she said.
The head of Piazza’s security detail, who has worked for her for the past year, described the establishment’s metal detectors and 30 cameras, which also point to the street, parking lot and emergency exits and digitally record everything, as well as a security patrol vehicle which drives around outside to “push people off the block,” into their cars or taxicabs.
The police officer requested a meeting at the 114th Precinct after the board meeting to address some issues.
While the board’s vote was unanimous, it is only advisory, since the Department of Consumer Affairs has the sole authority to grant or deny cabaret licenses.