New York City's legendary drag club La Nueva Escuelita will remain open until at least mid-June. That's according to a Thursday ruling after action sought by the New York State Liquor Authority, reports the Daily News. Authorities were attempting to pull the Times Square club's liquor license after several incidents.
Citing five complaints against the club — including one count of selling beer to a minor — the NYSLA is trying to put the dance and performance space out of business. Owners and managers of New Escuelita say the agency is discriminating againsy its largely Latino and African lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patrons.
Club lawyer Tom Shanahan said a criminal court judge has dismissed the underage sale allegation. On another count accusing a manager of assault, the cop who pressed the case admits he never saw what happened. That case goes to trial next month.
Shanahan says what really is going on is a move to oust the club and strip its liquor license because its clientele offend some. "The reality is the street has changed. They [the patrons\] don’t fit in any more with that gentrification of the Port Authority and Times Square area," he said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Wright had initially barred the SLA from proceeding, but changed his mind Thursday. He did so when he was assured the earliest the W. 39th Street club could lose its booze license, because of the appeals process, is June 15th.
The club is among the last of the big clubs around Times Square that feature Black and Latino drag shows, as well as dancers and go-go boys.The once-gritty block on West 39th Street has been redeveloped into boutique hotels and upscale retail establishments. A number of similar Times Square clubs such as Stella's and The Gaiety have also closed due to the redevelopment of the Times Square district.
Old skool NYC "children" may recall that Escuelita is blocks away from the former location of Sally's Hideaway, which was THE spot for drag in the late 80s and early 90s.
To be continued ...
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