The authorities have been shutting down establishments that flagrantly flout rules during the pandemic.
New York has not been a stranger to speakeasies and illegal gatherings ever since the pandemic rules were imposed in the city. In their most recent bust, the New York authorities closed down an illegal nightclub in Queens on the morning of December 20.
The New York Sheriff's deputies arrived at the hidden establishment in the borough around 2.45 am and found more than 164 people inside. The building is located on 243rd Street in Rosedale. The secret nightclub violated multiple health guidelines, according to ABC News. Partygoers entered the building from a rear alleyway even though indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed in private homes, and gatherings of more than 50 people are not allowed anywhere.
Not only did the organizers flout COVID-19 rules but they also violated fire codes and did not have a liquor license, officials said on Twitter. So far, five people were charged with multiple offenses.
The illegal nightclub was "dangerously overcrowded" with maskless partygoers, said the New York City Sheriffs, according to the New York Post. Among those charged for organizing this irresponsible event, which was a non-essential gathering, were 28-year-old Queens DJ Andres Cadavid and two unlicensed security guards. Another man was charged for possession of marijuana and a hatchet. It is not known who the owners of the property were but they were slapped with a $15,000 fine. At the entrance of the building, it only said, "EVENT CENTER."
“It’s very hard to identify who the organizers are. The three people we can identify as organizers were the two security guards and the DJ,” city Sheriff Joseph Fucito noted. The security guards were charged for not having a license.
12/20/20 @ 0245 HRS: Deputy Sheriffs shut down illegal bottle club @ 145-12 243rd Street Queens, access via rear alley: 164+ people, violation of emergency orders, barricaded egress, no liquor license, fire & health code violations, 5 charged with multiple offenses. pic.twitter.com/QuiHgVSU6K— NYC SHERIFF (@NYCSHERIFF) December 20, 2020
The building was raided after authorities observed large groups of people entering it from the rear alley and unloading alcohol. When the deputies entered, they saw unmasked people drinking, dancing, and smoking hookahs in violation of the state and city’s ban on nonessential gatherings, officials said. "They were serving alcoholic beverages. Enough cases to supply 170 people. Different types of vodka," said Fucito.
Investigators found almost 40 empty or near-empty bottles of alcohol, including Casamigos Tequila, Clase Azul Tequila, Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky, and several types of beer strewn about. The location was not allowed to sell alcohol and they didn't even have a certificate of occupancy.
The New York City Sheriff’s Office, the enforcement division of the New York City Department of Finance, has been raiding multiple underground gatherings that violate New York’s executive orders. Earlier in December, they pulled the shutter on a Staten Island bar flouting COVID-19 restrictions. Funnily, the bar had declared itself an "autonomous zone." They had been offering food and booze on the house while asking visitors for tips and telling authorities they're not welcome, reported ABC News.
#NYC officials shut down #illegal #nightclub in Rosedale, Queens, yest.— Liz Goldenberg (@newstruthliz) December 21, 2020
At about 2:45 a.m., #NYCSheriff's deputies found more than 164 people. It had no liquor license & was in violation of #health & #fire codes.
Partygoers entered the bldg via rear alleyhttps://t.co/Qc9kXoTdfE
They were stripped of their liquor license and fined $1,000 a day by the New York City Sheriff's Office. Keith McAlarney and Danny Presti, the owners of Mac's Public House in the city's Staten Island borough, thought that declaring themselves autonomous would make them immune from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order. Other recent busts included the takedown of a swingers club in Queens and an underground Bronx fight club.