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international news _ 6th September, 2006

New York’s Spirit Crushed

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

New York cops raided and shut Manhattan superclub Spirit again last weekend, for ‘repeated alcohol and drug violations’ AP reported this week,

The Chelsea club was briefly shut down in March along with four other nightspots over minor violations, prompting a bemused reaction from club boss John Blair.

“What they’re going to do is drive out the legitimate operators because it will be too expensive and dangerous to do business,” Mr Blair predicted after the first raids.

“Only the fly-by-night nightclubs who open here and there for six months out of the year will be here. These are the dangerous nightclubs. They don’t care about their patrons, they just care about getting their money,” he said (New York Express)

Skrufff man-in-New York/ NY Press columnist Matt Kalkhoff suggested the latest raid will have little effect on nightlife, declaring ‘even when something like this happens, there are just so many other clubs that I think people just pick another venue. There may only be a handful of mega-clubs, but there are still tons of smaller and mid-sized clubs, so people definitely have a choice,” he said.

“But as for the area in West Chelsea where Spirit is located, who knows what's going to happen there?” he continued, “It appears the police are pretty serious about cracking down on clubs and crowds in the area (something that residents and even some club owners have been complaining about for quite a while now), so we'll just have to wait and see what the impact will ultimately be.”

Village Voice dance expert Trish Romano described the 27th Street West Side clubbing strip as a ‘militarized party zone’ this week, in her latest missive on the ever escalating club crackdown.

“The first things that strike you are the searchlights. Placed at either end of the block at Tenth and Eleventh avenues, they light up the sky like a movie set, turning night into day,” she described.

“Then there's the huge electronic billboard that reads, "Use of fake IDs is unlawful." And then the cops, so many you can't keep count, lining the block, posted on every corner, handing out flyers detailing "Nightlife Safety Tips."