[UPDATE BELOW] Two weeks after a woman bumped into an unconscious man in a Spa Castle hot tub in Queens, the city has shut down the new midtown east location, which just opened a month ago. This time the Health Department's problem with Manhattan's Spa Castle Premier has nothing to do with floaters, but with the pesky matter of permits.
"We closed Spa Castle in Manhattan yesterday because they were found to be operating without a permit or an approved Safety Plan, which is required for all bathing establishments in New York City," the Health Department said in a statement.
Investigators took a special interest in the new 39,000-square feet Spa Castle Premier after 84-year-old Hock Ma was found floating unconscious in one of the bubbly jacuzzis in Queens. He was pronounced dead hours later at Flushing Hospital. It's unclear how long Ma was floating there—he was not discovered by an employee, but by a fellow patron who "felt something" by her feet. Ma's son told the Daily News that his father had been in good health prior to the incident.
After the grisly discovery made headlines, a former Queens Spa Castle employee told NBC NY, "I know at nighttime there's no one watching the pools. There's not really that much security staff. There are multiple cameras but they are not really being watched. There's mold in the saunas, the Jacuzzis are malfunctioning, there are rodents, insects, pests."
That's not going to be good for business. That's not going to be good for anybody.
Spa Castle Premier did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but we'll update if we hear from them.
Update 3:40 p.m.: CEO Steve Chon says in a statement, "Premier 57 is currently reconciling a permitting issue and the spa is temporarily closed. We will advise on a reopening date as it becomes available."
Meanwhile, the NYC medical examiner's office says Ma's cause of death was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. A spokesperson for the medical examiner adds that the "manner of death is natural."