A shadowy businessman who claims to be involved in security at Madison Square Garden and Citi Field moved forward last night in his effort to open a randy burlesque club on a quiet stretch of Red Hook — even after revealing that his dancers will strip down to their bikinis.
Community Board 6’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to recommend a liquor license for Dave Ruggiero and the Paris Burlesque Club that he plans to open this spring on Commerce Street.
Before the vote, Ruggiero addressed local concerns that he plans to open a strip club.
“I can assure you this is not going to be an adult establishment,” he told the committee. “There aren’t going to be stripper poles or runways.”
In fact, he said, the dancers will only strip down to bikini bottoms. There will also be live jazz, comedians, mimes and jugglers.
The would-be club owner also promised residents that he would sound-proof the grocery-store size venue, prohibit anyone under 25, and hire a security guard “with a background in law enforcement; not just some big goon,” to keep away riffraff.
But some neighbors — who complained of noise from nightclubs operated by previous ownership — said they thought Ruggiero was all talk.
“We’re getting jerked around,” neighbor Christopher Gruning said after the vote. “I am not happy.”
The venue was once a jazz club called Red Hook Blue and later became a concert hall with live rock music and barbecue.
Trouble began in 2008, when the space was renamed Hello Brooklyn and was operated by a dance party promoter, who was arrested for selling booze without a license. Neighbors say he also packed the space beyond capacity.
Ruggiero has no affiliation with past owners, though he said that he has “run security” for Club Avalon, The Park and Ruby Lounge in Manhattan.
“You seem sincere,” neighbor Bill Sullivan told Ruggiero. “But so did the old operators; they ‘yes-ed’ us to death and now we need some kind of assurance.”
But Ruggiero did get support from committee members, including Lou Sones, himself a bar owner.
“This will only bring the neighborhood up,” Sones said. “This is as reasonable as an establishment like this can be.”
Paris Burlesque Club will have a maximum capacity of 190 and be open until 4 am on weekends.
Community Board 6 will vote on the issue at its next full board meeting at John Jay HS [237 Seventh Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets, (718) 643-3027], Feb. 9 at 6:30 pm.
©2011 Community News Group
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