<< Back

Consents & Variances

BSA# 167-08-BZ, application to legalize a Physical Culture Establishment at 253 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor.

WHEREAS, Garden Retreat Spa is an existing physical culture establishment offering “Asian, Swedish & Shiatsu Massage;” and

WHEREAS, The premises is on the second floor of a seven story office building and contains 1,874 square feet of floor area.  The spa has six rooms for massage therapy, one shower room, one steam room, and one table shower (exfoliation) room, as well as an employee break room, waiting and reception areas, and a storage/laundry room.  The premises has a men’s locker room, but no changing facilities for women, it being explained that female customers change in the treatment rooms; and

WHEREAS, The spa’s hours of operation are from 10:00 am to midnight or 1:00 am, seven days a week.  The building entrance is staffed by a security guard from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  After-hours customers obtain access via an intercom system with audio/visual capabilities; and

WHEREAS, The application states that approximately five employees will be employed by the spa, including three licensed massage therapists and two staff; and

WHEREAS, At least three women observed working on the premises at the time of the site visit could not be identified by the management but were described only as “students” and/or “friends;” and management could not provide any elaboration regarding how many “students” and/or “friends” were present on the premises at the time of the site visit, or work there from time to time; and

WHEREAS, Scott P. Kimmins, who served 20 years with the New York Police Department in the 13th Precinct and is currently Director of Operations of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership (of which the premises is a part), testified that, although there is no wrongdoing alleged against the spa, the vicinity surrounding the premises is known for problems with prostitution.  He also stated that the building in which the spa is located has had problems, including a recent murder during an armed robbery involving an illegal gambling establishment on the seventh floor; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five does not believe this is an appropriate location for a physical culture establishment of this type and with this method of operation; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application to legalize the existing Physical Culture Establishment at 253 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 25 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter