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Not your father's Combat Zone: Club kids, Uber and pricey apartments cause closing-time issue for Boston's last strip clubs

The city's last two strip clubs, next door to each other on Lagrange Street in Chinatown, have agreed to make changes in the way they disperse customers at closing time following a 911 call from a nearby resident about the "circus atmosphere" on the small street early one June morning.

Licensing-unit detectives who heard the 911 call relayed on the radio responded around 2 a.m. on June 25 and found a crowd of customers from both Centerfolds and the Glass Slipper, spilling out and then milling about outside, occasionally getting boisterous, one of the detectives told the Boston Licensing Board at a hearing today.

"They were loud, sometimes yelling - boisterous," Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey said.

Mulvey said the citations he issued the clubs that led to today's hearing were not punitive but an attempt to steer the clubs towards better dealing with today's realities. Those include the fact that the cabs and ride-share cars customers expect can no longer easily get to or out of Lagrange due to the way police shut the intersection of Boylston and Tremont at closing to deal with the crowds from Theater District nightclubs and the fact that the strips clubs are now surrounded not by other "adult entertainment" businesses but by pricey apartments with occupants who don't appreciate overnight boisterousness.

"I think the neighborhood is changing, so we have to be a little more understanding," he said, asking managers from both places to start announcing to customers around 15 minutes before closing to tell ride-share cars or cabs to pick them up on Washington Street, which remains open, rather than hoping their rides can get down Lagrange.

A manager at Centerfolds said he has already started telling customers who want a ride-share car to program in an address of 665 Washington St. - in front of the luxury Kensington building - rather than his address of 12 Lagrange for just that reason - because even drivers who can get through often get held up in traffic caused by the police blockade at Boylston and Tremont, especially when one of the Theater District clubs, such as Royale, is having a big event.

The manager added, though, that customers sometimes get upset when told they have to walk 100 feet down to Washington Street for either a ride share or to get a cab at the stand in front of Penang. "It becomes a confrontation, which I don't want," he said, adding he tries to tell such customers that if they walk down there, the mapping icon that IDs them to drivers will move with them.

Mulvey said that when he and his partner arrived early on June 25, he could tell the men were from the clubs because they were older than the club kids who sometimes use Lagrange as a cut through. He said that, at first, doormen and bouncers from the two establishments were doing nothing to move the men along, but agreed with managers that the crowd had completely dispersed by the time he was done writing a citation about 20 minutes later, in part with the help of workers who realized the detectives were there.

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Comments

The strip clubs aren't exactly new. Nor is downtown a place traditionally known for quiet.

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... and call 911 to complain about salty smelling air and constant noise from waves.

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Noise ordinances are citywide. You wanna rave at 2 am, go home and rave. Our home is not your playground.

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Some of the area residents disturbed by the noise have lived in the neighborhood since long before even the Combat Zone was created. But since they are mostly low income Asian immigrants, nobody has ever given them much consideration.
Regardless of whether you've lived in the neighborhood since the dawn of creation or you moved in yesterday, you have the right to be protected from excessive and unnecessary noise. It's in the the Massachusetts Constitution.

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Asian immigrants aside, if you wanted someplace quiet to live you have endless options. Like say, EVERY other neighborhood in and around greater Boston. You really think every inch of the city needs to conform to fit your exact preferences?

And of course it matters if you just moved in yesterday. What kind of person would walk into a neighborhood and immediately say everyone else has to change.

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Every inch of the city must conform to the state constitution.
And where are the endless options for housing that you speak of? Get a clue.

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Every inch of the city must conform to the state constitution.
And where are the endless options for housing that you speak of? Get a clue.

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How would one go home and rave? Like go to an apartment in Rolsindale and have a party there? How would that avoid a noise complaint? How would bringing a party from downtown Boston into a residential neighborhood be the better option?

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If you think this is acceptable behavior downtown - go on home and do it in Rozzie or elsewhere. If you wouldn't subject your neighbors to that behavior, why is it any better if you subject strangers to it? Most of downtown IS residential - it's one of the great things about Boston. People don't just work and play here. We LIVE here!

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Stop using my city as a dump for your out-of-town clown tours.

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.

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... then consider there used to be a farm at the corner of Washington and Essex.

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Didn't know that. Seem to remember something about a tree that was there, tho' ...

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And in August, work is for suckers, so let's pick this apart:

Licensing-unit detectives who heard the 911 call relayed on the radio responded around 2 a.m. on June 25 and found a crowd of customers from both Centerfolds and the Glass Slipper, spilling out and then milling about outside,

Okay, kids, multiple choice time! A crowd of customers from two establishments were milling about at 2 AM because:

a) The establishments chose to close at 2 AM

b) Government will send people with guns to compel them to make everybody leave at 2 AM if they don't do it voluntarily

Those include the fact that the cabs and ride-share cars customers expect can no longer easily get to or out of Lagrange due to the way police shut the intersection of Boylston and Tremont at closing to deal with the crowds from Theater District nightclubs

So there's a problem with crowds outside of strip clubs, which was artificially created by government, and that might be in part because the people can't easily find hired cars because they can't get to said street because another street was closed by...government. Right. It's a giant vortex of thoughtless dominion!

and the fact that the strips clubs are now surrounded not by other "adult entertainment" businesses but by pricey apartments with occupants who don't appreciate overnight boisterousness.

Well, what was there first: The strippers, or the residents? Maybe don't live next to a strip club. No sympathy. I hear Watertown is nice.

"I think the neighborhood is changing, so we have to be a little more understanding," he said,

Hey, Mulvey reads news and looks at buildings. Good for him.

asking managers from both places to start announcing to customers around 15 minutes before closing to tell ride-share cars or cabs to pick them up on Washington Street, which remains open, rather than hoping their rides can get down Lagrange.

Again, a strip club employee would not be advising a strip club customer on where to go to get into a car IF THE CITY HADN'T CLOSED THE SURROUNDING STREETS AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE STRIP CLUB IS MANDATED TO TELL THE PATRONS TO LEAVE THE BUILDING.

The manager added, though, that customers sometimes get upset when told they have to walk 100 feet down to Washington Street for either a ride share or to get a cab at the stand in front of Penang.

Wait, adults abhor being told what to do by other adults? You don't say. I mean, the extent of the business transaction between said adults was to sell them alcohol and let them look at boobs.

That said, if you're a customer, don't be a douche, or at the absolute Goddamn minimum, befriend people who will look out for you if your own alcohol consumption becomes an impediment to polite discourse.

He said that, at first, doormen and bouncers from the two establishments were doing nothing to move the men along

And? It's their job to do police work now? 24 cop cars from around our community respond to one guy with one axe (yes, I will bring that up in every argument going forward about police staffing), but private sector employees are needed to control crowds on public sidewalks. Ladies and gentlemen, small-town (which is what Boston is at heart) government!

Next free Tuesday, I'm showing up to openly laugh at this circus. And then I want to drink beer with Gaffin at the Kinsale.

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Isn't the Kinsale closed at 2 am? Therefore your drink after will be when?

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Liquid lunch.

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Thought you meant the LaGrange Circus, not the Hearing Board Circus.

Too many Circuses.

*And* Clowns.

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... and whatever is in your right hand, too.

There's a reason that we don't have societies that conform to your libertarian fantasy and it isn't because nobody has tried them.

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I'm not Libertarian. I have Libertarian ideas. Responsible spending is not a "Libertarian fantasy," it's a necessary idea before we turn into Illinois or Venezuela.

We overspend on cops. I've offered empirical evidence of this, both visual and from recent news stories. I don't know what it is you fear, or if you fear anything at all, or if your work for a living and pay for cops yourself, or if you believe you're paying too much for a service you don't feel like you need, but you know where I stand.

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We overspend on cops. I've offered empirical evidence of this, both visual and from recent news stories.

There's something essential about probability and risk that you're missing entirely.

The overwhelming majority of fire extinguishers will never, ever be used, over the entire course of their lifespan.

From this, can we conclude that we are grossly over-provisioned with fire extinguishers?

Similarly, you have to have enough police officers on duty at any given time, to be able to respond to a couple of simultaneous incidents or one major incident. Inevitably, this means that most of the time, most police officers are not actively dealing with a crisis situation or a crime in progress. They are patrolling, or doing routine work. ("not busy" to the eye of the observer)

From this it follows that if there's a minor incident, public safety is better served by dispatching all officers who are nearby and not responding to some other emergency than it would be by having them sit in their cruisers waiting for another dispatch call. Hence 3 cruisers for one crazy drunk.

You seem in general to think things through; I'm mystified by your insistence that such an occurrence constitutes evidence that we're oversupplied with police. Maybe we are; maybe we aren't, but you certainly can't tell from the anecdotes you present.

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The fire extinguisher doesn't make $100,000 a year and then get paid not to work when it turns 60.

I'm not afraid enough of a drunk woman on the street to want to pay for three cops to show up to it. I understand we keep them around for other things, but I'm simply just not scared. Maybe have fewer of them working on a Monday night. Maybe call some from Cambridge right across the river.

I know I don't need four of them to stop me from turning right onto St. Paul during Commageddon. Good thing I don't pay taxes in Brookline, that would royally piss me off. I did however just pay them $30 for the high privilege of parking for more than two hours after 7 PM, of all times (not overnight) on one of their streets. Their cops clearly do jack (expletive) but extort money from people, so what did I pay for?

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Was it her? Because that actually did happen last week. I'm sure you had all those details already. if people wanted to handle drunk women themselves, they wouldn't call the police for it as well. Hence the police response.

You also probably pay less that 10k a year in all taxes combined I'm betting, which means most of us are paying for that Comm Ave bridge, and the cops around it, not you. And this is actually the best part, you aren't paying for any of it! The more money everyone else makes, the nicer bars you get to go to, and the more attractive girls who get to tell you to get lost in those bars. You basically make out! (Besides not being able to park in Brookline)

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You mean that thing that the Constitution (places dollar in jar) nominally allows her to have? There's a middle ground between responding by doing nothing and responding by sending three cars and three or four highly paid workers to deal with it.

Are you familiar with the expression "when seconds matter, the police are minutes away?" Define "threatened someone with a gun" for me. Did she slur "I have a gun?" Did she have the barrel down a person's throat ready to pull the trigger? Or something in between?

The problem with gun control is that guns exist.

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Drunk people aren't allowed to have guns and threaten people with them.

(But to go along with your story, the reporting people didn't have guns, so they wanted to call the people who did have guns to respond)

(also I'm doubting this is the woman who had a gun)

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1. Brookline citizens aren't paying for the Comm Ave detail work any more or less than Pittsfield citizens. It's a state project, the state budget pays for it.

2. I'm thrilled that you got dinged for $30. In our Town, we believe that neighborhood streets are not for long term storage of cars, but rather for convenience. That means live parking, parking out front to load or unload before moving the car to its place for storage, or parking for guests. If you'd like to park for longer than two hours, your options include:
* private parking;
* being a resident of that street and having your car registered at that address, thereby allowing you to get a $20/year parking sticker good for your street only;
* getting a full-day permit, useful for tradesmen, moving trucks, or other needs;
* using a long-term meter, found in places like the Beacon Street median, Brookline Ave, and D Line parking lots (e.g. Longwood, Brookline Village, Brookline Hills, and Beaconsfield if memory serves).

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It's almost like satire. I have no sympathy for your ilk.

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24 cop cars from around our community respond to one guy with one axe...

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Will, if you recall, the disturbed man with the axe was behind the wheel of his car, drinking, inhaling toxic vapors and demanding to be killed by the police. This was after using the axe to threaten the Kiss 108 staff. Nobody knew if he was armed further. Initially there were concerns of terrorism. A response by the regional SWAT team, with their trained negotiators and less-than-lethal weapons (taser, beanbag gun) was more than justified. It ended peacefully.

If there really were 24 cruisers, to put that in context, there would be an initial large response from Medford PD and the nearby State Police Medford barracks. Once SWAT was deemed necessary, those officers respond individually in one-officer cruisers from cities and towns all over the North Shore. They don't meet somewhere and take a shuttle or carpool. The regional SWAT teams are an example of good government as most small communities couldn't field, equip and train a SWAT team for each town.

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Everybody else can pay for it and I'll let the terrorist come get me without asking for help. I accept that trade-off. I prefer living wealthier and a little afraid to living poorer and not at all afraid.

At what point does life simply become not satisfying because you feel like your community is robbing you blind in spite of all of your labor?

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You said that if you don't like living next to a strip club, you can go live somewhere else. If you don't like our tax system, government code, laws, or how we distribute police officers: GO LIVE SOMEWHERE ELSE. It's your CHOICE to live here.

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And I'm trying to seek victory.

Are you ever going to get a handle, or "no?"

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People wouldn't be loitering waiting for cabs and Ubers/Lyfts if mass transit was still running at 2 am.

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But I suspect the sort of gentlemen who frequent these two particular clubs consist heavily of out-of-town businessmen who wouldn't be caught dead on a subway, given their expense accounts and all.

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If the T ran past 2AM this would be less of a problem. Charlie Baker screwed up by cancelling late night T service. I guess he is a fan of drunk driving.

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People who are willing to accept far too little money relative to their expenses are willing to ferry drunks about. Whether or not Charlie Baker has an interest in public transit in general is open for debate, but I'm not convinced that the operating hours of the MBTA have anything to do with this particular matter.

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and it is getting better as people and UBER drivers figure it out, is that people order them to places where there are hundreds of other people also ordering them. These hundred cars clog the streets and intersections when large events get out (Fenway and Agganis Arena are big ones from what I have seen). Around Fenway and Agganis, streets need to be closed in order to have larger parking lots and traffic flow a certain direction (there is a reason why they close streets Will, if they left them open, it takes longer for everyone to get home).

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Between scheduled performances at Fenway and Agganis with end times determined by the sporting participants/arts performers and the close of daily business in a Theatre District nightclub with an end time set by government?

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Scales

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You might want to read this:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/18/mbta-ends-its-late-night-se...

There was a host of issues associated with late night T service and why it failed.

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Most of those issues owing to designing the service to fail.

Yup.

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didn't want to run it in the first place, and set it up to deliberatlely fail.

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For the second time.

BTW, even to the full 3am closure from the first year of the pilot it only cost ~$10 million, which is like nothing given the $2 Billion budget of the T. Insane how they couldn't either find the funding for it, or get better private partnerships to fund it.

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Business getting involved would mean lots of non-ignorable phone calls every time massive MBTA failures resulted in people getting to work late.

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Not buying it. The owner says the customers won't even walk 100 ft to the corner for their personal ride share.

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Jesus. It almost seems like it's not worth going out at all. Until the Boston Zoning Code changes to reflect no such use in that area (which will allow Boston to finally and officially become The City That Sleeps and The City of No, then tough luck, abutting neighbor. Your broker, your lawyer(s), your title company, and your bank, all of whom participated in the sale and financing of the property to you, had nothing but dollar signs bouncing around in their heads.

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Damned hooligans with their fried dough and calliope music.

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boisterous people outside? that's quite a first world problem.

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Can I get a police response for the "circus-like atmosphere" caused by electronically amplified Jesus preachers, buskers, and constant taxi horn honking that gather outside my window from rush hour onward?

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Shouldn't the nouveau riche residents adapt to them rather than the other way around?

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is nouveau riche. Lots of elderly and low income Asians still live nearby. They've seen their neighborhood treated like a dumping ground for decades.
Everyone has the right to a quiet night's sleep, regardless of your income level or how long you've been wealthy.

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