Chelsea Residents Lobby Against Sex Shop's Liquor License

Lila Gray

NEW YORK — Chelsea residents are organizing to prevent a local sex shop and café from receiving its liquor license.

Splash Sexy Boutique opened in November and offers a bevy of sexual products, outdoor seating and the tentative promise of an upstairs bar.  

The store at 155 Eighth Ave. applied for its full liquor license from the State Liquor Authority and will appear before the Community Board 4 Business Licenses and Permits Committee on Jan. 14 for an advisory vote.

But the move has ruffled the feathers of nearby residents, who think that adding booze to the mix will turn Chelsea into a sleaze-destination, harkening back to seedy hay day of Times Square. Accordingly, dozens have announced their intention to stage a protest at the upcoming vote to prevent Splash from receiving its license.

Critics noted that the neighborhood already hosts a high concentration of sex shops, which have historically attracted male and female prostitutes.

Splash owner Dumesh Kankanamalage said, "First of all I don't get why this store is being called a sex store. We don't sell any porn in the store. We sell lingerie, lubricants, novelties, condoms etc. No porn at all," he wrote.

"Secondly, I don't understand on what grounds neighbors are concerned about prostitution coming. If the concerned parties could show me specific ways how my business would bring prostitution to the neighborhood, I would immediately attend to them and do my best to address their concerns."

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