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City Council floats ideas to improve nightclub safety

The recommendations stemmed from a nightclub safety summit which was held last fall by the Council and included law enforcement officials, legislators and nightclub owners."This report is a significant step in helping us ensure that New York has the most exciting and safest nightlife in the world," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.Recommendations include raising the age of admittance into nightclubs from 16 years to 18 years, targeting false ID merchants, using security cameras at venues, creating safe corridors between blocks with nightspots and public transportation, allowing the city to revoke licenses from problem establishments, giving police the authority to close locations with continued problems with violence and creating a city task force on nightlife."Our ultimate goal is to make New York City a place where people can let loose without letting go of their safety," Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said.He said nightclub owners are often afraid to report disorderly conduct because they will receive violations. Vallone said police, legislators, nightclub owners and parents must contribute to safer city venues."No one can blame nightclub owners for a 16-year-old being out at 3 a.m.," he said.The recommendations arrive in the wake of several high-profile violent incidents at city nightclubs. Three bouncers have been arrested this year in incidents tied to Queens which resulted in the death of nightclub patrons. Darryl Littlejohn, 41, of Ozone Park, was charged with murder in the February slaying of John Jay graduate Imette St. Guillen, who was last seen at The Falls bar in Manhattan, where Littlejohn worked as a bouncer.In July, Troy Dobson turned himself in to police and was charged in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Springfield Gardens resident Carl Waldron at Queens Village's Rapture Lounge.In addition, Francisco Sollivan, a bouncer at Astoria's Soma, was charged with assault in July after he allegedly punched 19-year-old Astoria resident Antonios Fasarakis in the head, killing him, during a dispute outside the bar. Police shuttered the bar on Aug. 15.The State Liquor Authority voted in December to suspend the liquor license of Woodside's Club Phenomenon after the club was closed down by police. The agency cited charges of drug sales, prostitution and a number of shootings near the club in its decision.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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