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Simotas, Local Leaders, & Community Prevent Astoria ‘Bikini Bar’ from Opening its Doors Proposed adult establishment denied liquor license
New York, N.Y.— On Tuesday, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, along with Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides, and representatives from Congressman Joseph Crowley’s office traveled to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to speak out against the proposed Astoria adult establishment “Racks.” After hearing testimony against the proposed “bikini bar,” members of the SLA executive board ruled against granting a liquor license to its operators. “A place like Racks is wholly out of character with the family-friendly neighborhood of its proposed location,” Simotas said. “Astoria does not need scantilyclad women performing lap and pole dances a stone’s throw away from a playground, middle school, and our neighbor’s homes.” Since March, Simotas’s office received an outpouring of community opposition to the establishment. Over 500 local residents signed a petition to make it clear that they did not want Racks in their neighborhood. Several area residents were present to join Simotas in speaking their concerns at the meeting of the SLA which was open to the public. In addition to being out of character with the community, Simotas went on to note the other detrimental effects Racks would bring—such as reduced property values, the need for additional law enforcement, and general urban blight. Furthermore, it became clear that the notion of Racks being a “bikini bar” is misleading, as the owners could more easily turn the club into a fully-topless venue down the line if the liquor license application was approved. “I commend the New York SLA for listening to the concerns of area residents upon considering Racks’ request for a liquor license,” said Crowley. “The denial of their application sends a powerful message that these types of establishments are not welcome in this community. Astoria is a family-friendly neighborhood whose residents deserve a safe environment in which to raise their children.”

“I applaud Assemblymember Simotas for her work on this issue,” Constantinides said. “Astoria is a family-oriented neighborhood. This establishment, around the corner from a park, an elementary school, and a junior high school, would have done nothing but objectify women. Our neighborhood’s businesses should reflect its values, and places like Racks represent the polar opposite of the Astoria values I knew growing up.” Senator Michael Gianaris likewise lauded the SLA’s decision. “I tip my hat to the State Liquor Authority for listening to our community and helping preserve the character of our neighborhood,” Gianaris said. “This decision is a victory for our quality of life and for the thousands of families raising their children in Astoria. I commend Assemblywoman Simotas for leading the charge against this establishment, and I will continue to stand with her and our community on this issue.” “Ultimately, we want our community to be a place where families are welcome, innovative development can flourish, and hopefully we can now rest easy knowing our kids won’t have to find out what a ‘bikini bar’ is on their way home from Little League,” Simotas said. ###

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