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Police Raid The Box, La Esquina; La Esquina Still Shuttered

Thursday night brought the police raid and subsequent shuttering of two of the East Side's current nightlife fascinations, La Esquina and, even hotter, Simon Hammerstein's The Box. Though initially the closures were thought to be DOH related, turns out, as the Post has it, the Box was shut down Thursday night after police searched patrons for drugs; and from Eater commenters, it looks like the issue at La Esquina was that the restaurant, amazingly, doesn't have a certificate of occupancy from the Buildings Department:

La Esquina was not shut down by the health department. They were tasked forced last nite and found out that they have no CO ( certificate of occupancy ) for their basement. That's right La Esquina's basement is illegal and was shut down by the building dept. For being a fire hazard. For those of u who don't know Tasked Force means that an establishment is raided by the police dept, health dept., mayors office and the building dept. All at the same time.
We'll note that the above isn't yet confirmed, thought it's not in the least surprising that a restaurant that has patrons walking through the kitchen to their tables wouldn't be operating completely above board.

As for what went down at The Box:

One stunned onlooker told us, "All these cops busted in, and they were searching people. They lined people up near the bathroom and started going through their stuff. Nobody seemed to understand what was going on."...The 1 a.m. raid forced the club to cancel its second show of the night, a revue featuring scantily clad showgirls, a gender-bending singer and a dancing dwarf..."It was really weird," agreed one nightlife fixture who was there. "The cops were standing outside, personally checking everyone's IDs as they were going in. Bizarre."
The takeaway here: The Box and La Esquina are both as much the death-trappy drug dens we'd previously believed they were. Word is The Box has reopened, while La Esquina may be shuttered for several weeks.
· Drug Bust at The Box [NYP]
· La Esquina Was Not Shut Down By the Health Dept [~E~]

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