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109th Pct. shuts down Metropolis

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About 150 patrons looking for a good time at the Metropolis night club in College Point Friday night found themselves leaving earlier than expected after police temporarily closed the 5-year-old club for allegedly serving minors alcohol amid concerns the establishment is a magnet for violence.

Since August two men have been killed in violent incidents in the parking lot of the club, which has a capacity of 1,200 people and lures patrons from throughout the city and out of state as well.

Deputy Inspector James Waters, commander of the 109th Police Precinct, said it was about 11 p.m. Friday when he and his officers, along with members of the New York Police Department's Civil Enforcement Unit, entered Metropolis at 31-99 123rd St., served the owners court papers and asked the staff to show about 150 patrons the door.

A judge was to make a final ruling on Metropolis' fate - whether it remains closed or reopens - on Wednesday morning in State Supreme Court in Queens, said Sgt. Roy Pitcoff, an attorney with NYPD Civil Enforcement.

"We are going to show there is a criminal nuisance that exists at the location and it affects the health, safety and welfare of people at the club and in that area," Pitcoff said.

A representative for the nightclub could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Pitcoff said the club was closed for 11 alleged violations of the city laws. He said eight of the violations were for allegedly serving minors alcohol and three were for alleged incidents of disorderly conduct.

"That is the gist of the case," said Pitcoff, noting "there is a pattern of violence in and about the premises as well."

It was two deaths in particular - one homicide in August and one in February - that resulted in the crackdown on the club, which Waters said has been scrutinized by the 109th for years, long before he took command last July.

The most recent of the murders occurred about 5 a.m. on Feb. 19 when 21-year-old Raymond Hernandez of the Bronx was slashed in the throat and killed following a dispute in the nightclub's parking lot.

On Aug. 14 last year, three men died outside of the nightclub, again around 5 a.m., in a bizarre shooting incident and car crash.

"It's becoming a blood bath over there," Pitcoff said.

The first violent incident in the club's history occurred in December 1995, just a few months after the night spot opened.

One man was slashed, three were shot and a fifth was hit by a car.

Asked what type of security the club had, Waters said there are metal detectors at the doors and patrons were frisked. He said the club also had a machine which was "sometimes" used to record patrons' identifications.

Waters said the machine was a useful tool for police investigating an incident at the club and was also a way for the Metropolis to defend itself against accusations of serving minors.

Sabina Cardali, a College Point activist and Times/Ledger columnist who has been critical of the Metropolis in the past, refrained from saying too much about the club until after Wednesday's hearing.

"I want the best for College Point and the community," Cardali said.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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