For Chinatown Barber Shop, an Unhappy Ending

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Thought Chinatown barber-shop brothels were a thing of the past? Not so fast. Recently Good Friends Barber Shop, at 72 Forsyth Street, was closed under the Nuisance Abatement Law after detectives made three arrests: one in February 2006, after a female employee offered an unlicensed massage for $45, and two more in September, when a manager offered an undercover cop a massage plus a sexual act for $90. According to posts on a so-called "hobbyist" bulletin board — an online spot where men exchange information on these things — the chop shop has had a reputation as a massage parlor for at least three years, though it seems to have been unreceptive to non-Chinese clientele. (The only bulletin-board member who was able to "crack" the back rooms was an Asian.) So will the busted rub-and-tug joint give way to a drinking den, as has happened in so many other spots across Chinatown? If the troubles of across-the-street neighbor 205 are any indication, not even that will save it from the long arm of the Nuisance Abatement Law. —Daniel Maurer