Finally, Subsidies are Sexy in New York City

November 17, 2010

National retailers get it. Commercial office towers in Midtown Manhattan get it. But nothing seems to have grabbed the attention of New Yorkers like subsidies for strip clubs. Last week, Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News revealed –

in true tabloid form on the paper’s front page

– that a handful of strip clubs benefit from the

Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program


The Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP) program provides property tax breaks to companies that construct or renovate property in most areas of New York City. For years GJNY has

urged officials

to rethink this program. Then, thanks mostly to

a 2008 report

by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office,

ICIP was reauthorized

as the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program or ICAP in 2008. Now utilities are exempt and benefits for some retailers and property owners in parts of Midtown and Lower Manhattan are have been reduced for future applicants.

But even with these reforms the program has moved far from its 1970’s original intent to help manufacturers expand in the outer boroughs, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. "This is one of the weirdest exemption programs ever devised," Borough President Stringer

told the Daily News

after learning about the strip club subsidies.

Additional proof that the program has been watered down, beneficiaries not only include Penthouse Executive Club west of Times Square and Starlets Gentleman's Club in Queens

but also office buildings on Park and Fifth Avenues and several luxury hotels


ICAP is up for renewal by the New York State legislature next year. These revelations will most assuredly mean a new set of eyes on this subsidy program and hopefully lead to more substantial reforms.