PATERSON, NJ - A community group objecting to the tone of advertising at a local establishment in the city's historic district is expected to raise its concerns at the next public meeting of the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board Commission Wednesday evening.
Residents have raised an issue about the nature of the billboards posted by the Question Mark Bar at 20 Van Houten St. near Cianci Street in the Great Falls historic district. Some have said they believe the bar's owners are in the process of converting the establishment into a go-go bar, which would be against the local ordinance.
"These banners are very bold and totally in your face," one resident said. "How many neighborhood school children walk past this building several times a day to go to School 2?
"The main concern is the promiscuousness of the advertising; if you look at the images on the banner, it certainly looks like an advertisement for women. 'Come & Enjoy; New Administration.' We have school children in the neighborhood, the property is in the municipal boundaries of a historic district. Is this appropriate public advertising for a residential neighborhood?"
Management of the Question Mark Bar denies that any such transformation is taking place.
"No. No go-go girls, like everybody thinks," said Juanita Rodriguez, manager of the Question Mark Bar. "It just says 'Come and Enjoy the Party.' It is a family place."
A representative from the ABC Commission said the issue had not been raised with their office yet.
"Nothing has been brought to the attention of the ABC Commission," said Maryann Williams, a spokesperson for the ABC Commission. "We have no knowledge of that."
Williams confirmed that there is an ordinance against strip clubs in the neighborhood, except for establishments that benefit from a grandfather clause that existed before the law was enacted.
"The reason a group of us intend to attend the public meeting of the ABC commission is to see if we can find out whether the bar's new administration is transforming the business to a go-go type bar," one local resident said. "Some of us believe there are laws/ordinances discouraging go-go type bars from being within a certain amount of feet of schools, public parks and residences. None of us actually go into the bar because it is not our 'scene.' We want more information directly from the ABC."
UPDATE: Residents in the neighborhood have reported that the suggestive billboard in question, which was displaying a scantily clad woman, was removed sometime late Monday afternoon after The Alternative Press reported the issue.