Score another one for the white-washers, at least for now: The Pussycat Lounge has closed. The go-go dive, opened in 1969, recently came into the public eye when Jon Stewart and other supporters of the Park51 mosque pointed out there was also a strip club near ground zero, but it silently closed its doors last year. A neighbor told us it was shut down by the city for construction without a permit, and Building Department records confirm that owner Robert Kremer was cited for working without a permit back in October, when a full vacate order was served “due to structural instability of building.” The order was partially rescinded in November in order to allow for contractor work at the basement level (but no other occupancy), however on January 12, after receiving a couple more complaints, the DOB described the building as a “stalled construction site,” which doesn’t bode well.
The Pussycat has long been fighting for its life — a few years ago, developer Sam Cheng planned to demolish its building (a townhouse that’s over 200 years old) so he could replace it with (what else?) a hotel, but when the economy took a dive, Kremer bought it for $2.5 million in May of 2008 and planned to open a restaurant, the Hamilton Room, upstairs. If the bar doesn’t live to see its 50th anniversary, it’ll be a true loss, since the Pussycat is one of the city’s few pre-Giuliani holdouts and a survivor of 9/11, not to mention the place where Carlos Quirarte of the Smile got his start throwing parties upstairs. Guess we’ll have to make do with Quirarte’s new place, Westway, or that forthcoming burlesque bar in Red Hook. But do either of them have a 116-year-old mahogany bar to disappear into after a rough day on the exchange floor?
One good sign: The phone number is still active — we’ll keep calling till we hear more.