March 14, By Michael Florio
Local politicians and community advocates rallied Monday in front of an Astoria strip club with a violent history.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer scheduled the rally in front of Club Purlieu, located at 36-04 34th St., after it was temporarily shut down last Thursday.
Van Bramer, who was joined by Councilman Costa Constantinides and other community activists, is now calling for its permanent closure due to a string of violent incidents related to the club.
“This club is a clear and present danger to the people of this community,” Van Bramer said. “We are calling for the State Liquor Authority to revoke their liquor license and shut it down.”
Two weeks ago, a livery cab driver, Roberto Castillo, was shot in the head in front of the establishment. Castillo, a father of two, was dropping off patrons at the club.
“You don’t have to be a patron of this club to be shot,” Van Bramer said. “Every night this club is open, people are living in fear.”
Club Purlieu was temporarily closed last week following an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs that found multiple violations, Capt. Peter Fortune, the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, told the Astoria Post at the time.
However, the club reopened Friday night according to Piero Dimatteo, owner of 36th Avenue Coffee Shop located across the street.
There have been five criminal reports and 12 criminal court summonses issued at Club Purlieu since last summer, according to 114 Precinct information released by Van Bramer’s office.
Van Bramer emphasized that these are just incidents that were reported.
“Imagine all the incidents that we don’t know about,” he said.
“This establishment is a drain on our community,” Constantinides said. “On the nights it is open the 114 [Precinct] constantly has to keep tabs on it. This is police resources that could be used elsewhere.”
Dimatteo said his car windshield was shot last June when it was parked in front of the club.
“I left my car parked overnight and the next day my windshield was shattered,” he said. “Police found a bullet shell next to my car.”
Mark Hoffman, who lives across the street from the club, said it is not uncommon to be woken up in the middle of the night from shouting or car horns.
“There are fights all the time,” he said. “Residents here really have to be cautious when they go out at night.”
“It is dangerous to go out alone,” he said.
He added that empty beer and liquor bottles are regularly found scattered around the block.
Van Bramer also stated that the club has become the hangout for a number of gangs from all around New York City.
“We have very reliable sources that let us know that multiple gangs have chosen this as their spot,” Van Bramer said. “I can almost guarantee you that if this is their spot, the drugs are almost certainly present and maybe being dealt.”
In addition to calling upon the SLA to revoke the liquor license, Van Bramer and Constantinides said they will continue to work with the 114 Precinct to take measures to get the club shut down.
“It is time for us to reclaim our quality of life and permanently close down this club,” Constantinides said.