New Retail Strip Is Coming To Astoria Area With A Troubled Past

The developers will renovate the 6,500-square-foot parcel and lease the space to five “distinct retail shops.”

By Nathalie Nayman August 18, 2017

It seems like a bad coincidence, but the Dutch Kill neighborhood, located in otherwise prosperous Astoria, did manage to live up to its, ahem, colorful name.

The culprit is a notorious corner at 34th Street and 36th Avenue. This space previously hosted Club Purlieu, a troubled nightclub turned-strip joint which, as Queens Gazette describes it, “brought a steady stream of drugs, violence and raging outbursts to the neighborhood, along with spurts of gang violence, gunfire, stabbings and gunpoint robberies.”

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Astoria residents who lived in the vicinity weren’t exactly thrilled. In fact, the claimed “they’re living in hell” – with the “hellish” urban “perks” featuring public urination, stabbing incidents, and overall disorderly premises.

After a cab driver had been infamously shot by one of the club’s patrons, the much-hated establishment finally got closed. The fate of the space had been unknown for a while – that is, until last August, when 3312 36th Ave Realty LLC bought the building for $3.7 million. The developers then announced plans to renovate the 6,500-square-foot parcel and lease the space to five “distinct retail shops.”

The announcement induced a collective sigh of relief among the locals since they had feared that the notorious spot would just become a home to yet another strip-club in disguise.

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The landlord seeks to fill the to-be-renovated space with high-end restaurants, artisanal cafes, and other retail options which, they feel, “resonate well with the current and future community of the area.”

According to DNAInfo, “planned renovations will divide the large one-story building into several smaller storefronts measuring about 1,200 to 1,300 square feet each. The landlord is also considering the addition of a second story, which could be rented to community facilities like a doctor’s office or day care.”

So, we guess, this is how you get people to feel positive about gentrification—by replacing a violation-ridden night club with a peaceful and clean, albeit overpriced, store.

The locals are somewhat happy – with caveats.

“Honestly, I’d rather [have] shops, or even “shoppes” than another place for people to get drunk and violent in Astoria. But it does make me cringe a little,” writes one Reddit user. “I’ve lived near 36th for decades, and I appreciate the still-funky character.”

“It’s going to be an area where you can put bigger stores so I won’t be surprised if we see a Whole Foods in that spot,” comments another Redditor. “It will feel so wrong.”

Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

Nathalie is an international media trooper. After working as a journalist in Moscow, Nathalie participated in local politics and social movements in Cairo where she covered the protests and political upheaval of the Arab Spring. Nathalie is Agorafy's content manager. She produces and oversees unique and creative content for the Newsroom.

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