Today’s news:

Board thinks karaoke is just off-key prostitution

The Brooklyn Paper

Will it be a flesh joint — or just a place to sing your favorite Fleshtones song? Will there be prostitutes — or just a lot of people screaming, “Roxanne”?

The owners of a planned karaoke joint in Bay Ridge say their place is the latter — but they were nonetheless stymied on Monday night when Community Board 10 voted nearly unanimously to nix their request for a liquor license amid allegations that the singalong studio was actually a den of prostitution.

The soon-to-be finished video karaoke parlor, Crown KTV, is still scheduled to open next month on 64th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues — and supporters believe that the board’s vote hinged on a misunderstand of karaoke culture.

Crown KTV’s 13 private booths will rent for about $20 per hour and are equipped with TV screens that display song lyrics. Such facilities are quite common in Midtown Manhattan, but at least one board member was convinced they’d be used for prostitution.

“We don’t need no hookers here!” the member shouted at the March 16 hearing.

But the men who are converting the windowless warehouse into a swank karaoke bar and family-style restaurant say the only link to prostitution will be the off-key renditions of “Lady Marmalade” coming from singers’ voiceboxes.

“There will be no prostitution, that is completely inaccurate,” said Eric Zheng, whose venue is applying to sell beer, wine and sake — but not hard liquor. “This is a karaoke place. People come here, they sing and they have a good time. These kinds of places are really common.”

Some board members hooked their objection to the proximity of PS 69 on Ninth Avenue.

But Zheng’s attorney told The Brooklyn Paper that the board was misguided.

“They are suspicious and they are just hanging their hat with some theory that it’s too close to a school,” he said. “But that’s like saying that a restaurant with a wine license would be dangerous close to a school. It’s almost laughable.”

The State Liquor Authority will make the final ruling on the license.

The board’s lone voice in support of the karaoke club said the landslide vote leaves the neighborhood looking closed-minded.

“There was a cultural issue that needed to be addressed, and I don’t think it was addressed,” said Ron Gross. “To say on the one hand that we are an accepting community, and then to not take that into consideration when making a decision — that’s incongruous.”

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Pat from Bay Ridge says:
“We don’t need no hookers here!” Really?? Is this the level of discourse we get from these idiots? How embarrassing.
March 18, 2009, 1:20 pm
Matt from Fort Greene says:
If the board's decision didn't smack of bigotry and ignorance, it would be hilarious. Unfortunately, they threaten to run people out of business with their Salem-like fervor against perceived immorality ... which just isn't there. Clearly, they need to cut loose and see how fun a night singing Toto's Africa off-key in a Koreatown with your closest friends can be.

If anything, amateur karaoke is the OPPOSITE of an aphrodisiac.
March 18, 2009, 1:26 pm
Daniel from Bay Ridge says:
Pat from Bay Ridge says: "Is this the level of discourse we get from these idiots? How embarrassing."

I was flipped out by the meeting where they OK'd the city's plan to build a school on the Green Church site.
One CB10 guy said the city shouldn't do it - to effectively 'punish' the church for demolishing the bldg. [And which would kill the church's plans to rebuild, since apparently the rebuilding is linked to what happens with the rest of the site.]
Later read that the same guy wanted the city to use then-closing Catholic schools instead.
I wasn't sure which was kookier - this guy's grudgy-punitiveness (over something that was no longer there); ignoring B. Ridge needs (we need schools! and in this economy, that big empty lot could be a permanent eyesore!); or what looked like either religious bias or attempt to stifle the church-rebuilding.
I thought that was pretty embarrassing - though with that mess of issues, it was hard to pinpoint exactly why.
March 18, 2009, 3:06 pm
Lars from BRidge says:
"We don't need no hookers here!" ??

This "the beer- and wine-selling" place is too close to a school, though it's the legal 200 feet away ??

Have they noticed that the neighborhood is FULL of liquor-sellers that are in the general vicinity of a school, but are the legal distance from it?

This whole thing is priceless, in a repellent and ignorant kind of way.
March 18, 2009, 4:05 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Is there any proof that this place is used for prostitution?
Isn't that something for the vice squad to investigate, not the Community Board?
I would like them to respond to proof, not rumours.
March 20, 2009, 6:37 am
Jason from Bay Ridge says:
'Is there any proof that this place is used for prostitution?'

Nope. They just don't understand, or *want* to understand, karaoke.

And yeah, their righteous concern re "alcohol" is pretty amazing, considering the fact that the location is legal, and that Bay Ridge has lots of liquor stores, and touts its many booze-selling restaurants and popular bars.
March 20, 2009, 10:04 am
RedSeven02 from FWB, FL says:
Not to support the board's decision, but I would have to wonder what would be an acceptable business? Having been to karaoke houses in Japan and Korea, I'm not under the impression that those who frequent such establishments get too rowdy. Depending on the owners, it could be a family friendly place to spend an hour. Just like theaters, how they'll make their money is selling food and drinks, and of course repeat business.

Never been to Bay Ridge, but I'm sure this business didn't just pop up overnight. Are they actually members of the community, or looking for some kind of political stepping stone? Could they have asked someone what karaoke was? Gone on the internet and googled or wikipedia it? It's either racism or xenophobia.

Oh, and for the record, it's Asian people, and the rugs are Oriental.
March 20, 2009, 3:53 pm
Kevin Chen from Bensonhurst says:
I need not say ... there are plenty of Karaoke bar around 8th ave. I do want to say, but saying prostitution is related is totally racist.
March 21, 2009, 8:42 am
Caledonian from Bay Ridge says:
I'm not Asian, I don't do karaoke bars, but my friends do - a LOT - and I KNOW that these places aren't hooker joints.

The Community Board needs an education re: the cultures of those it allegedly represents - and in English grammar, because I'd love to know which C.B. member said 'we don't need no hookers.'
March 22, 2009, 12:03 am
guido from brooklyn says:
this is a racist community board...stop watching sleazy movies and go to a place in manhattan and sing...
March 24, 2009, 2:01 pm
Randall from Bay Ridge says:
You can't even get much info about these boards - whose members aren't elected, but apply for appointment.

For example -- the cb10 site (www.bkcb10.org) doesn't list members, just random chairpeople. The most recent meeting-minutes it has online are from April 2008.
And the NYC community-board site doesn't even give a link to that cb10 site -- just a roadrunner email address.

So most of us don't know who's representing us, or what they're doing, unless local media recap the 'high points' of some meeting and quote somebody by name.
March 24, 2009, 3:37 pm
puzzled from bay ridge says:
Randall from Bay Ridge wrote: "So most of us don't know who's representing us, or what they're doing, unless local media recap the 'high points' of some meeting"
... which is consistent with B.R. as a whole.
Neighborhood doesn't even have any on-top-of-it newsy-savvy blogs, as others in Bklyn do - just blogs that are erratically personal (full of "me and my stuff") or civic-boosterish.
March 25, 2009, 3:39 pm
Thomas Braun says:
Need your help..PLEASE

Can you please tell me the name of the 1961
Ms Norway of New York.

Believe it was SOLVAY ALGER who lived in Brookyn at that time and I believe her father was a Minister.

Could you please find out and confirm back to me.

Thank You
March 29, 2009, 1:22 am
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June 14, 2009, 10:10 am
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June 14, 2009, 10:11 am

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