Two NYC nightclubs shuttered


NEW YORK (AP) – Celebrities like to party at Crobar. Its cavernous spaces draw thousands on the weekends. But on Friday, police decided they’d had enough of the nightclub.

Officers ordered the Manhattan dance hall shut down at 10 p.m. Friday, along with another nearby club, Sol, saying the pair of hot spots have failed to control violence, drugs sales and other problems with patrons.

They will remain shut for at least five nights. A judge may decide Wednesday whether to allow them to reopen.

The closures were the latest in a string of crackdowns against New York City nightspots that have been a source of frequent complaints about drugs, fighting or noise.

The police have put a particularly fierce spotlight on Chelsea, a Manhattan neighborhood where noisy clubs in converted industrial spaces lie side by side with apartment buildings, sometimes filled with residents not too pleased with all the commotion.

A trendy nightspot called Spirit was temporarily shuttered in August after it was accused of looking the other way on drug use and underage drinking.

Police went to court seeking similar shutdown orders against clubs called Home and Stereo.

Both Crobar and Sol are in the neighborhood too, and were ramping up for another weekend when police arrived at 10 p.m. Friday.

Jen Schiffer, marketing director for Crobar, did not return phone messages on Saturday, but in a recent interview with The Associated Press she railed against the crackdown, saying the club had done everything possible to keep the peace, including bolstering security, installing lighting and checking ID cards more carefully.

She said that on a per-patron basis, the club didn’t have any more violations than other nightspots.

“We’re sitting here banging our heads,” she said. “I don’t know what else they could expect.”

Messages left at Sol were not immediately returned.

The tough scrutiny of nightclubs in the area intensified last summer after an 18-year-old New Jersey girl, Jennifer Moore, was slain after she was snatched off the street after a night of drinking at a Chelsea club called the Guest House.

Months earlier, a Manhattan bar was assailed after one of its bouncers was charged with kidnapping and killing a graduate student, and a bouncer at another Chelsea nightclub shot several patrons. Police said two Crobar patrons were also shot in July.

In September, the state’s Liquor Authority responded by temporarily barring new establishments from opening in Manhattan areas that already had a cluster of establishments.

The authority followed that up with a December decision to refuse 30 bars, clubs and restaurants permission to serve liquor past the usual last-call time of 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Such denials had been rare in the past.

A state judge later rolled back the denials for at least three clubs, saying the authority had “abused its power.”

Criticism of a different type emerged last month when police investigating alleged violations at night spots in Queens fired 50 bullets at three patrons as they left a strip club in a car, killing one. Police said the officers believed one of the men had a gun, but no weapons were found.

AP-ES-01-06-07 2013EST