The four “erotic” massage parlors in Edgemont that Greenburgh had allowed to reopen last month were all ordered closed again tonight after a police raid Friday led to five arrests, including one for prostitution.
The closing of these businesses tonight was a victory for Police Chief Chris McNerney, who vowed this week to close the illicit massage parlors once and for all despite persistent efforts by Town Attorney Tim Lewis to keep them open – and the unwillingness of town board members, including Town Supervisor Paul Feiner to challenge Mr. Lewis or otherwise demand that he comply with the Town’s law.
The arrests came after ECC president Bob Bernstein criticized town officials at Wednesday night’s town board meeting for allowing the massage parlors to remain open even though they had either recently been denied a license under Greenburgh’s 2015 law requiring all massage establishments to be licensed or they had failed to apply for a license within four months of the Greenburgh law becoming effective.
Even though the Greenburgh law required that these facilities be closed, Mr. Lewis decided they should all remain open while their appeals were pending. The appeals were argued on February 28, 2017, and were supposed to have been decided at Wednesday night’s town board meeting, but the decisions were put off until next Tuesday, March 14.
Mr. Lewis said at Wednesday night’s meeting that he wanted to use the March 14 meeting to explain to the board behind closed doors why he believes the Town Board should allow these businesses to remain open indefinitely.
The Scarsdale Inquirer reported today that Mr. Feiner said he had agreed behind closed doors with other board members this past Tuesday, March 7, to reject the appeals and order the facilities permanently closed, but Mr. Lewis said that was not true.
Even though actions by Greenburgh police tonight resulted in the immediate closing of Edgemont’s remaining four “erotic” massage parlors, it is by no means clear that they will remain closed.
Mr. Lewis thus still hopes to persuade town board members to allow these businesses to remain open indefinitely – a task possibly made harder as a result of tonight’s arrests.
It is not known why Mr. Lewis is so determined to keep these businesses open or why town board members have thus far let them be kept open, despite Greenburgh’s law requiring that in such circumstances they be permanently shuttered.
Even though the law was enacted in November 2015, Mr. Lewis opposed the law, refused to enforce it, and did not make applications available until October 2016 – 11 months later – even though the application’s wording was made part of the law when it was adopted.
Mr. Bernstein brought with him to the Town Board meeting Wednesday night copies of adult websites “rubmaps.com” and “Spa Hunters” listing “erotic massage” businesses along Central Avenue in Edgemont along with sexually explicit reviews of the services being offered there. Chief McNerney said Wednesday the police routinely monitor these websites and knew that reviews were being posted.
The businesses closed tonight include Charming Spa at 390 South Central; Green Lucky Spa also known as Sung Health Spa at 791 Central; Jade Spa, at 698 South Central; and Green Rose Body Work at 455 South Central.
All four locations are in Edgemont, where more than 40 residents attended an ECC meeting Monday night and learned that the Town Board had apparently gone along with Mr. Lewis’s decision to allow these businesses to remain open.
Of the four massage parlors closed tonight, three of them had appeals pending that were supposed to have been decided Wednesday night.
Four of the arrests were for practicing massage without a license; the one arrest for prostitution was made at Green Lucky Spa. According to a press release issued by the police department (and reposted by Mr. Feiner as a press release from him), the suspect arrested for prostitution offered to engage in sexual conduct with an undercover police officer.