By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Alarmed at the number of massage parlors and day spas opening up in Bay Ridge, two of the neighborhood’s elected officials called on the New York Police Department and other agencies to investigate the establishments to make sure there’s no hanky-panky going on behind closed doors.
The businesses are raising suspicions because of their operating hours, according to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn), who said the places are open during late night and off-peak hours, with some staying open well past 11 p.m. on weeknights.
“While we welcome small businesses to our community, we have zero tolerance for any establishment that may be breaking the law. Multiple reports in the newspapers and television over the last few days, coupled with community complaints, has led me to believe that many of these ‘spas’ are no more than fronts for prostitution,” Golden said.
As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on June 17, at least six day spas have opened in Bay Ridge in the past six months. One spa raised eyebrows in the community with an ad on craigslist promising clients the opportunity to be served by “a sweet young girl.”
Residents have reported seeing groups of young women hanging around outside the spas, adding to the suspicion that the places are doing more than reflexology.
"The reported activity in city ‘spas’ brings a corrosive influence into our communities that must be investigated and eradicated immediately," Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) said.
"It is imperative that law enforcement works with city and state government to ensure that any illegitimate front operations are ridden from our communities so that the hardworking small business owners and taxpayers that make our city great can thrive in safe and secure neighborhoods," Malliotakis said.
Golden said he has ordered his senate staff to review licensing laws for all massage parlors and day spas and added that he’s considering legislation to make it harder to open these types of businesses.
The statements by Golden and Malliotakis indicate a growing concern among lawmakers and civic leaders in the community over the spas. On Monday, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) requested an investigation into the matter. The issue has also been addressed by Community Board 10 Chairman Joanne Seminara, who urged board members to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.