Last week Nicholos Kristof penned a pro-pot op-ed for the Times and then Zach Galifianakis lit up on live TV, but if you thought the tide was turning, rest assured that here in New York, we’re still busting nightclubs for petty drug sales. That’s what happened to Andrew W.K.’s Santos Party House on Thursday night. According to a summons reprinted by the Voice, undercover cops bought four pills of ecstasy on June 6, some marijuana on July 3, and were offered cocaine by “a female who was promoting party she was to host the following week at the subject premises.” We were going to hold forth about how this sort of ongoing enforcement of the nuisance abatement law (which allows the city to close businesses where arrests for illegal acts occur three times in a given period, regardless of whether the business’s owner can be proven responsible) is killing nightlife and turning Manhattan into Manhasbeen and blah blah blah, but the statement Santos has now issued takes care of all that for us.
Yesterday was one for the books at Santos Party House. We had been working since the morning in preparation for the 20th anniversary celebration of the legendary record label Ninja Tune, in addition to the string of amazing Halloween events we had been working on for months. At around 9:15pm, the mounting excitement was crushed when the NYPD entered into the club and informed us that we were to cease operations until further notice. Needless to say, we were shocked.
The summons we received lists a few minor incidents that occurred months ago for the most part, all involving people not under the direct employ of the club. While many of the allegations listed in the order are simply untrue, we take most offense to the argument that SPH promotes behavior that causes “irreparable harm to the City of New York, its residents and visitors.” Our intentions are exactly the opposite. We are a mom-and-pop business that strives to maintain the cultural and creative traditions that make this city such a miracle. SPH does not condone any illegal activity and has always gone above and beyond recommended security protocol to ensure a safe environment for patrons and staff. Spontaneously closing an independent business that has continuously cooperated with authorities (on one of the most profitable weekends of the year) is not the answer. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Blackbookmag.com succinctly wrote today, “Has anybody been in Madison Square Garden during a concert? Drugs are in schools, playgrounds, offices, parks and, quite possibly, every building—commercial or residential—in town. Nobody thinks of closing these places down, only the clubs.” While we understand that the NYPD is just doing its job, we hope that moving forward we can find a way to work together to attain the same goals.
We have a hearing on Monday and are confident that we will be cleared of any wrongdoing and will resume business as usual shortly. Until then, we encourage our allies in nightlife to remain vigilant and protect your businesses. We are deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support in the press and on the internet. Our apologies go to the incredible event planners and customers that we intended to share the weekend with; we wish you a killer Halloween. Please bear with us as the best is yet to come.
Santos Party House
Rumor has it that Splash, Good Units, Rebel, and the Darkroom were also shut down on Friday, days before their highly lucrative Halloween nights (the city typically conducts raids at the start of the weekend and lets clubs reopen only after they’ve agreed to stepped-up security, changes of hours, etc.). We’ll let you know more after the Santos hearing today.
Update: Brooklyn Vegan reports that the venue has reopened.