Back in March 2020, as the reaction to the pandemic was shaping up at countries around the world, in New York City, many black-market “entrepreneurs” decided to try and ramp up their own “massage parlors” and brothels to try and attract male customers, and earn themselves a slice of all that stimulus money rattling around the economy.
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported Monday that the number of illegal massage parlors is higher in some neighborhoods than the number of Starbucks’, the upscale coffee shop that is seemingly effervescent.
Per the NYP, for every Starbucks that’s in the five boroughs, there are at least two illicit massage parlors. In Queens, staffers at the nonprofit tracking the proliferation of sex trafficking in NYC has dound at least 269 open brothels, the illicit businesses outnumber Starbucks 5 to 1, the data from the intelligence-driven counter-trafficking organization that focuses exclusively on the illicit massage industry shows.
Many of the massage parlors blend in easily with their surrounding businesses. Take, for example, the Ming Happy Spa on Montague Street, which is wedged between two legal businesses, and handles mostly males in upscale dress.
In one of New York’s toniest neighborhoods, just a few blocks from the Brooklyn federal courthouse, a shady massage parlor is hidden in plain view. The Ming Happy Spa on Montague Street, conspicuously open until 1 a.m. seven nights a week, is next door to a high-end women’s boutique and operates an innocuous second-floor storefront that sees a steady stream of well-dressed male clientele late into the night. The alleged illicit massage business in the upscale neighborhood is one of at least 629 others currently operating across the five boroughs — a network of illegal enterprises so vast, they outnumber Starbucks 2 to 1 citywide, according to data from Heyrick Research.
For every Starbucks that’s in the five boroughs, there are at least two massage parlors. In Queens, which has at least 269 roughly open-air brothels, the illicit businesses out number Starbucks 5 to 1, the data from the intelligence-driven counter-trafficking organization that focuses exclusively on the illicit massage industry shows.
In case consumers are unaware, the reviews explicitly expose what the business truly is via sites like Oarkir, sort of an aggregator of reviews for massage parlors around NYC and the country.
In most recent reviews, the men claim they paid $60 for the massage and between $40 and $50 for the alleged sex act that came at the end and described in repulsive detail what groping they were allowed to do, how skilled the workers were and their overall rating of the experience. When reached by phone, the spa declined comment. Hundreds of such businesses across the five boroughs, from the Upper East Side to Staten Island, are reviewed on the website and many of them allegedly sell full-service sex, not just post-massage masturbation, the reviews indicate.
Experts told The Post that the prevalence of brothels and massage parlors, fueled by their ability to operate with immunity, reflects an unofficial, citywide shift toward the decriminalization of the sex trade, something Hizzoner Bill de Blasio imposed months ago. As for whether he (or his successor, Eric Adams) might support full decriminalization, that remains to be seen. But there’s no question that whether they’re violent crimes, or quality of life issues, crime is soaring in Gotham once again.