Just a few months after separate sting operations conducted by the 68th and 62nd Precincts led to nearly 50 arrests at 45 massage parlors operating illegally across Southwest Brooklyn, several employees of a Dyker Heights massage parlor were arrested for operating it illegally.
According to 68th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Joseph Hayward, police went to the business on the morning of Wednesday, August 24, due to community complaints. Once there, they found it suspicious that a massage parlor was open at midnight and, upon entering, discovered that the business had no license to operate as a massage parlor. Three employees were arrested for operating without a license.
Dyker residents were the first to suspect that the parlor, located at 7002 Fort Hamilton Parkway, was operating illegally and suspect that it also served as a prostitution den, as evidenced by its late-night hours, covered windows and out-of-state clientele.
“I’m able to see everything that goes on through my front window all day long,” said Jessie Harrison, who owns E and J Boutique with her husband. The store sits on Fort Hamilton Parkway, directly across the street from 7002 Fort Hamilton.
“When they first opened I saw them put up cubicle walls and I saw them bring in couches and beds. I thought they were making an illegal apartment at first, but then I saw it was a beauty spa,” Harrison continued.
Harrison has had her suspicions for some time, due to both the business’ unusual hours and far-reaching client base.
“They used to open at 8 p.m. at night and closed at 1 or 2 a.m. Now they’re opening up earlier in the day and allowing men to come in. I noticed out-of-state plates on their cars. Several of my customers have brought it to my attention. We know exactly what’s going on,” she said.
Residents also suspect that 6921 Fort Hamilton Parkway and 911 72nd Street in Dyker are home to illegal massage parlors.
Both Harrison and her husband had complained to Community Board 10, the 68th Precinct and State Senator Martin Golden in regards to the businesses, which are located just blocks away from McKinley Intermediate School. With the new school year starting soon, Harrison fears that children from the school could too-easily come into contact with the salons.
“This is on the path kids take home from McKinley. These are young girls and boys that have to walk past this, it’s an uncomfortable situation. My niece goes to McKinley and I tell her to walk on my side of the block,” said Harrison.
“Dyker used to be a great neighborhood to live in, but then all the mom-and-pop shops closed down. The landlords know what’s going on but they don’t seem to care because they’re money hungry,” she added.
According to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, Harrison is not the only Dyker resident to be suspicious of the businesses. Beckmann noted that CB 10 has received dozens of complaints regarding the massage parlors’ activities.
“There’s a lot of complaints about each of these locations, with the greatest number about about 7002 [Fort Hamilton Parkway],” said Beckmann. “A lot of residents have mentioned to me that they feel that they just move locations using different store names. The residents are very concerned about the proliferation of illegal massage parlors, from the concerns about human trafficking to the safety of the building. Thank you to the 68th Precinct for addressing this, and investigating and responding to residents’ concerns. We continue to be concerned about illegal adult businesses in the community.”
Additional reporting contributed by Helen Klein. This article originally appeared in the Brooklyn Reporter.