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Consents & Variances

BSA # 173-04 BZ, 5 West 37th Street, NY Midtown Corporation, application to extend the term of a special permit

WHEREAS, NY Midtown Corporation d/b/a NY Health Spa is an existing physical culture establishment offering, as per the application, “SPA treatments and saunas to clients”; and

WHEREAS, The premises is in the cellar of an existing twelve-story building at 5 W 37th St. and contains 4,174.5 square feet of floor area; and

WHEREAS, The spa has thirteen rooms for massage therapy, two shower rooms, three sauna rooms, three toilet rooms, waiting and reception areas, a laundry room, storage area, mechanical room, a men’s locker room, but no changing facilities for women; and

WHEREAS, The spa’s hours of operation are from 10:00 am to midnight, seven days a week, with the building entrance 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 provided no details regarding staffing personnel, levels, and facilities; and

WHEREAS, During an unplanned site visit by a member of Community Board Five, access was denied to the client servicing areas of the facility (including unoccupied areas), paperwork establishing the identity and licensing of the staff onsite was not provided, and only the receptionist was permitted to communicate; and

WHEREAS, A cursory Internet search revealed several reviews and recommendations of the facility as an option for obtaining sexual massage; and

WHEREAS, A search of newyork.backpage.com (subsequently removed) revealed promotional material under the “Body Rubs” section of the “Adult” Category for the facility and the site http://wallstreetjackass.typepad.com/raptureready/2009/04/rubntug-zagats.html also names the location a spot for sexual massages; and

WHEREAS, Notice of the public meeting was posted less than thirty hours prior to the public meeting despite verbal assurances from the applicant’s attorney that notice would be posted over fifty-four hours prior, with inclement weather improperly cited as the reason for the delay; and

WHEREAS, Although there are no registered complaints regarding the facility, Community Board Five does not believe this physical culture establishment is operating in a lawful or ethical way, nor did it comply with our process for review; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application to renew the existing Physical Culture Establishment at 5 W 37th Street.

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