2016-03-16 / Front Page

Van Bramer, Civics Demand Closure Of LIC Nightclub

BY LIZ GOFF


Council Majority Leader Van Bramer (center), Council Member Constantinides (third from left), and community members, including Thea Romano, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association far left. See story page 12. 
Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatrist Council Majority Leader Van Bramer (center), Council Member Constantinides (third from left), and community members, including Thea Romano, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association far left. See story page 12. Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatrist Local lawmakers and community leaders rallied outside a Long Island City nightclub on Monday morning, demanding the State Liquor Authority (SLA) pull the plug on Club Purlieu by revoking its liquor license.

Club Purlieu, located at 36-04 34th Street in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City, has a history of violence, including shootings, stabbings, robberies and gang-related violence, authorities said.

A livery driver was shot in the head by gunfire that erupted from the club on March 4, police said. Robert Castillo, 37, underwent surgery to remove a bullet from his skull and remained on life support at Elmhurst Hospital Center for more than five days before doctors saw signs of recovery, authorities said.


Council Member Costa Constantinides (left) confers with Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (right) during a rally to shut down Club Purlieu. 
Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatriste Council Member Costa Constantinides (left) confers with Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (right) during a rally to shut down Club Purlieu. Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatriste Castillo, a married father of two daughters, is making small strides and is expected to fully recover from his life-threatening injury, a family friend said. “It’s a miracle, he is our miracle,” the friend said.

Castillo drove two blocks with the bullet in his head before crashing his Ford Explorer into several parked cars and a utility pole at 35th Street and 37th Avenue on March 4. He was rushed to Elmhurst in grave condition and was initially not expected to survive.

Police said a fight erupted between members of the Bloods and Crips street gangs inside Club Purlieu in March 2015. Four men burst into the club and stabbed four gang members, setting off a bloody brawl that spilled onto the street outside the club, police said. At least five people suffered critical stab wounds and four gang members were arrested during the violent brawl, police said.

Violence linked to the Long Island City club made headlines again in September when a club patron was stalked, attacked and robbed at gunpoint after leaving Purlieu, police said. The man was forced to hand over his wallet, cash, credit cards, watch, gold chains and iPhone before the suspects fled the scene, police said.

Sources said investigators believe the suspects targeted the man while they were inside the club.

Police, local lawmakers and city agencies have joined forces in numerous “MARCH” (Multiple Agency Response to Critical Hotspots) enforcement efforts at Purlieu over the last year, authorities said.

Capt. Peter Fortune, Commanding Officer of the 114th Precinct, said inspectors at the city Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) found multiple violations at Club Purlieu during a crackdown on March 10 and ordered temporary closure of the club.

Capt. Fortune said he has been calling on city agencies to pull permits and licenses and close the club permanently.

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, who organized the March 14 rally, said the violations unfortunately might not “be enough” to permanently close Club Purlieu.

The Queens lawmaker said he and other elected officials would use the temporary closure to demand action by the State Liquor Authority to permanently shut down the club. “I am also asking the NYPD Office of Citywide Enforcement to shut down Club Purlieu based on its history of violence,” Van Bramer said, adding the club is “a bad business, with a history of arrests, shootings, stabbings and robberies, that wastes precious NYPD resources every weekend ...fosters violence, and it’s not the kind of business we want in our community or our city.”

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