An Upper East Side massage parlor certainly rubbed police the wrong way. The door to Sunday Spa, located on East 96th Street, is now chained shut — the establishment ordered to close by a judge over prostitution allegations — accused in court documents of offering sex for cash to undercover cops.
Rather than pursuing criminal charges, the NYPD’s Legal Bureau filed a lawsuit last January against Sunday Spa, located at 119 East 96th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue, under New York City’s 1977 Nuisance Abatement Law, which uses civil court action to shut down locations known to ‘interfere with the quality of life, property values and the public health, safety, and welfare.’
ALSO READ | Ghost Gun Factory, Drug Making Equipment Found in UES Apartment of Actor Julia Fox’s Father & Brother: Sources
According to court filings, the NYPD first received a 911 call last summer alerting them to prostitution happening inside the Sunday Spa, which triggered an investigation. Undercover cops went into the massage parlor on two different days, nearly two months apart, and negotiated with women inside for sex, records show.
Last July 26th, one of the women agreed to have sex with an undercover police officer for $200, while a second woman arranged sex with a third woman — because of a language barrier — for $180, according to the lawsuit. The undercover officers left without engaging in any sex acts, filings show.
A Google search reveals a slew of archived ads from websites offering sexual services featuring scantily clad or nearly nude Asian women with the Sunday Spa’s phone number watermarked on top of them. Each photo also advertises a ‘Happy Ending Massage’
“We’re young, Asian Girls, and GOOD AT WHAT We Do,” one advertisement states, “Enjoy a UNFORGETTABLE TIME with a New ASIAN Girl”
A temporary restraining order closing the Sunday Spa was issued by the judge in the case on January 26th, 2023, to close the establishment while the court case played out. The judge’s decision, in part influenced by the fact that a previous business operating at the location was shut down by court order in 2021 over allegations of prostitution, according to court records.
Less than a month later, on February 22nd, an NYPD detective found Sunday Spa still in operation, welcoming customers to its 96th Street location, an affidavit shows. The judge in the case would order the NYPD to secure the premises.
On February 28th, the lawyer representing Sunday Spa withdrew from the case, citing “health related reasons in the wake of purported dramatic violations of all aspects.”
Then on March 2nd, the Sunday Spa’s front door was chained shut and large orange and red closure notices were posted on the massage parlors front window.
Signs printed on white paper taped to the front door of the cellar-level establishment read “Sorry we are temporarily closed from 01/26/2023 through 08/31/2031,” apparently the remaining duration of the spa’s ten-year lease with the landlord, and lists a phone number for anyone interested in leasing the space to call.
Attorneys for the building’s owner claimed in court filings to be unaware of the prostitution occurring inside and even went as far as to call the Sunday Spa an unlawful tenant.
ALSO READ | Sex Worker & Advocate Responds to UES Lawmaker’s Push to Decriminalize Prostitution
The building located at 119 East 96th Street is also home to Valley Vibez — one of New York City’s estimated 1,400 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries, smoke shops and weed bodegas. Valley Vibez sits directly above Sunday Spa and was robbed at gunpoint during its Grand Opening on Friday, February 10th. Police said the crooks in that robbery made off with thousands in merchandise.
Upper East Site reached out to the building owner’s lawyer, as well as the NYPD for comment regarding the public nuisance lawsuit, but did not hear back. The case is set to go before the court again on March 22nd.
For updates around the clock, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook