N.Y. City begins to raid, close porn businesses 3 topless clubs padlocked in Giuliani crackdown

August 02, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK -- Making good on long-standing promises to crack down on the city's sex industry, police officers raided three topless clubs late Friday, and building inspectors shut them down.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced yesterday that the city had padlocked the clubs in the first of a wave of closings aimed at wiping out more than two-thirds of the city's sex shops and clubs over the next year.

Uniformed officers burst into the three clubs and, with dancers gyrating and patrons ogling, shouted, "Police! Nobody move," said Steven Fishner, the mayor's criminal justice coordinator.

No arrests were made, but dancers and patrons were told to leave the buildings, which were then padlocked, Fishner said. The closings are in effect for three days and then can be made permanent by the courts.

The raids began three days after the U.S. Supreme Court gave Giuliani his final victory in a two-year battle to enforce a 1995 zoning law intended to eliminate pornographic shops, clubs and theaters from all but a few designated areas, mostly industrial sections.

The X-rated businesses had proved to be the most elusive target on the mayor's checklist for a civil city, but he said yesterday that he now believed he could close several of the businesses each week until perhaps all but about 20 of the 144 such business in the city were gone. Giuliani has repeatedly condemned the businesses as "corrosive institutions" that destroy neighborhoods and blemish the city.

Pub Date: 8/02/98

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