March 7, 2014 By Christian Murray
Lucho’s Place, a Woodside-based bar/restaurant known for its transgender and transvestite clientele, is looking to relocate to another section of the neighborhood and the community board is looking to stop it.
The establishment, currently located at 38-19 69th Street, has been accused over the years of being a magnet for gay prostitution. The community board has received complaints from nearby residents who claim that the patrons of the bar leave used condoms and syringes in the street. Furthermore, the residents claim that the prostitutes make no effort to be discreet.
Patrick A. O’Brien, who oversees liquor licenses on behalf of Community Board 2, said the NYPD reported that there were about 100 prostitution arrests made within one block of Lucho’s in 2013. However, he said, there were no arrests made within the establishment.
Lucho’s, which has lost its current lease, is looking to move to 65-12 Roosevelt Avenue, where a defunct bar was located.
O’Brien said the community board plans to stop Lucho’s from obtaining a liquor license at this new location when the matter goes before a full hearing at the State Liquor Authority (the date has not been scheduled). He said that he has spoken to the owner of Lucho’s on several occasions about these problems and nothing has ever been done.
O’Brien said that the SLA has told him that it wants him to present all the “real facts” and “real data” to support why the establishment should not be granted a license. “They don’t want conjecture or what a friend may have heard…they want photographs, personal knowledge,” O’Brien told members of the Community Board 2 on Thursday.
O’Brien also urged the public to call the community board office at (718) 533-8773 if anyone had any first-hand information. “We only have one chance with this.”
An attorney representing Lucho’s, at a recent community board meeting, told O’Brien: “Based on what I have seen and read I don’t think we can lay the problem…on the steps of my client.” The attorney told O’Brien that the problems were not caused by the conduct of his client and it was unfair to suggest so.
However, O’Brien told him the complaints have been too many to ignore. He said: “We [the community board] only have a limited number of tools in our basket—and we will do everything in our power to stop this operation.”
O’Brien said the new location of 65th Street and Roosevelt Avenue is not a good one for any establishment.
“Even if Mother Teresa ran [a bar] here, we would probably not encourage it,” he said. “There is a rule that if there are 3 licensed premises located within 500ft of each other, you have to have a hearing and the law says that SLA has to find that it’s in the best interest of the community.”
O’Brien said that the area between 61st and 69th Streets on Roosevelt Avenue is saturated with establishments. Furthermore, there is a proliferation of violent crime and it is not safe at night, he said.
O’Brien warned that the problems that used to be only in Corona are moving west toward 53rd Street and that the board has been taking a strong position against issuing all liquor licenses in this area.
Some establishments have sought to increase their hours in that area and have faced opposition. For instance, P&L Lounge, located at 38-12 65th Street, was given the thumbs down when it want to extend its hours from 1 am to 2 am. And La Fonda Restaurant Corp., located at 64-09 Roosevelt Ave., also was rejected trying to extend it hours.
However, Lucho’s is currently in the eye of the storm and O’Brien said the residents don’t want it or any establishment like it. “No one should have to see people loaded parading around an area between 12 am and 4 am.”