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Racks Is Back, Promises No Topless Dancing

Racks location

Racks location

May 21, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

After significant, repeated pushback on their plans to open an adult entertainment venue, the owners of a proposed establishment called Racks finally earned Community Board 1’s support for a liquor license yesterday, after promising not to go topless.

CB 1 recommended against a license for Racks, located at 19-26 Steinway Street, when owners applied for as a topless adult entertainment venue last year. Before that, Racks applied for a license with the intention to operate as a bikini bar, but after refusing to sign stipulations promising never to go topless, the Board voted in opposition.

In 2013, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas led a campaign against a liquor license for the proposed bikini bar; community members also turned out in droves with a petition that garnered more than 500 signatures. The State Liquor Authority denied an application from the owners in July of that year.

bikini-250x213This time around, the owners have agreed to the no-topless stipulation, according to Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Joseph Risi.

The owners told the Consumer Affairs Committee at its meeting on Monday that Racks will be a sports lounge and restaurant with a capacity of 540. There will be space for customers to dance and DJs, and no poles, they said.

CB 1 ultimately voted to recommend approval of Racks’ liquor license with nine in opposition.

When asked for comment on this decision, Simotas said that she “will work to hold the applicant to their promise to our community that they will not operate an adult entertainment establishment.”

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The above club that this community promised will not be an adult club has just filed with the building dept for 60/40 adult entertainment and will open tonight as a adult club. How can this happen!!!


Why are community members worried about this place opening as adult entertainment? Its in the most desolate area of Astoria, way more desolate than Riviera’s location.

Astoria Resident

I’m wondering if there will ever come a time when women stop being willing participants in alleged “exploitation”.


At least this will bring money to the community unlike the homeless shelter that has brought crime


Actually, this location is perfectly suited for an adult entertainment establishment. Those who know Steinway between 19th & 20th Streets understand that it is completely isolated and in fact very desolate at night. Ironically, these establishments do bring security to an otherwise very dark and insecure block. There is “political” opposition coming from 1 or 2 politicians. This community is mostly in favor of Racks and glad to see them finally open.


Uh, yeah, but it’s not generally a thing where many topless women congregate in one place late in the evening with the sole purpose of flogging over-priced alcohol to clients who then disperse into the rest of the neighborhood.

I’m not against it per se, but you’ve willfully missed the point the neighbors are trying to make. Sure, it’s NIMBY-riffic, but it’s not quite as test-case simple as the occasional non-conformist who’s willing to bear the stares and comments of average onlookers.

Also, I quite like the photo of the women. Not so much the grey barracks.

Hell Gate Bridge Troll

This is so stupid. It’s perfectly legal for women to walk around in public in NYC topless where anyone can see them, but some people have a problem with topless women indoors in a bar where only adults who want to be there are allowed?


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