Ever since bringing down seven clubs at the start of this month, the police have been cracking down on clubs, and clubowners are feeling unfairly targeted - not just from the police looking for drug dealers, but also from neighborhood residents. Clubowners say that the police are actually hurting the city's economy making them feel unwelcome while the police say the raids were prompted by community complaints. Ah, the double edged sword of gentrification - it's nice when more stores and services open up in the neighborhood, but it's not nice when people start drinking in the neighborhood! At any rate, the NY Times has some great quotes about the gamut of issues:
- "We're not exactly a drug den. We're really doing our best to stop drugs from coming in, but if a woman wants to sneak a pill in her bra, there's not much we can do about it." - John Blair, promoter at Spirit, a club on West 27th
- "We strike when the iron is hot." - Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of information, on why police raid clubs on the weekend
- "Sometimes I feel like I own a brothel rather than just a neighborhood bar." - Ariel Palitz, Sutra Lounge owner, on "almost daily visits" from cops
- "Mardi Gras lasts 12 days. Down here, it lasts 365 days a year. It's become party central for the entire metropolitan area. These clubs and bars are ruining people's lives, and they've got to be stopped." - Sean Sweeney of SoHo Alliance, which has tried to block liquor licenses, and a SoHo resident
Remember when the problem in NYC was more rampant crime?
But clubowners should not feel they are the only ones mistreated by the police - a family is suing the NYPD because their 11 year old was handcuffed by the police.