Volume 73, Number 3 | May 19 - 25, 2004

Consumer Affairs puts the hooks to a Market nightclub

By Albert Amateau

After months of neighborhood complaints about excessive noise and serving alcohol to underage patrons, the Department of Consumer Affairs on Friday padlocked PM, a nightclub in the Gansevoort Market District.

The closing was hailed by Art Strickler, district manager of Community Board 2, who said residents have been protesting the club’s operation for more than six months.

“They were having dancing in there without a cabaret license,” said Strickler. “I got a lot of complaints about it — mainly noise.”

Agents from the D.C.A. descended on PM at 50 Gansevoort St. at 7 p.m. May 14 before the Friday night festivities began and closed the place for allowing patron dancing without a cabaret license.

“It was a response to repeated public-safety violations since last Oct. 5 and after citations by the Fire Department, the Health Department and police,” said Dina Improta, D.C.A. spokesperson.

The following Tuesday, the principal, Adam Hoch, and his lawyer, Terry Flynn, appeared at the D.C.A. office at 42 Broadway and signed an agreement to pay a $12,700 fine and to refrain from operating the lounge in violation of city codes and state liquor laws.

Under the agreement, Hoch deposited $3,000 in escrow with D.C.A., which will continue to monitor the club’s operations. The owner agreed to respond to Community Board 2’s complaints and suggestions and “make all other reasonable efforts to avoid disrupting the neighborhood.” In addition, the operators are required to submit written monthly reports to D.C.A. about what efforts it is making to comply with the agreement.

The club was first cited for operating without a cabaret license on Oct. 5 and Hoch was fined $100. Since then, however, there have been repeated visits by multi-agency inspectors and police who found violations. At one point, according to Strickler, girls as young as 15 were being served alcohol at a private party and PM contended it was legal because the girls were “models.”

The existing cabaret law empowers the city to padlock premises that repeat violations, Improta said. “The $12,700 fine was calculated on $100 per day of illegal operations — at five days a week since November,” she said. “We don’t have any indication that they ever applied for a cabaret license,” she said on May 19.

However, a cabaret license application for PM came before the Business Committee of Community Board 2 a week ago and the committee, mindful of neighborhood complaints, voted unanimously not to recommend granting the license. “The application comes before the full board this week, and will probably get the same response,” said Strickler.


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