A Roundup of the Drama Around Clinton Hill’s Romantic Depot

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Romantic Depot, a sequence intercourse store that opened in Clinton Hill on Valentine’s Day and advertises itself as “like a supermarket,” has turn into a supply of local drama amongst individuals who don’t agree that it is sort of a grocery store. (The storefront joins Bed-Stuy’s boob-and-butt van as the centerpiece of a sex-adjacent neighborhood battle.) Some residents say the store is just too near close by church buildings, mosques, and faculties and need it shut down — or at the very least banished to a block away on Atlantic Avenue. Romantic Depot CEO Glenn Buzzetti has countered their concern with a Goop-like embrace of intercourse, telling protesters, “So it’s 2022 and sexual well being and wellness is part of our tradition.”

But the pleasure of the story is in the particulars. Romantic Depot might promote grownup intercourse toys and sexual-health merchandise, nevertheless it doesn’t promote porn or host stay performances, so it’s licensed as a retail institution, not an grownup store. That means it doesn’t should be situated greater than 500 ft from faculties or locations of worship and is, in reality, round the nook from a faculty and a mosque. (This isn’t a new fight.) At a police neighborhood council assembly, locals tried to argue that the retailer must be closed down as a result of it’s exploiting a zoning “loophole” on a technicality. But as Brooklyn Paper reported, the native enterprise alliance emphasised that “there was nothing cops may do if the retailer will not be truly doing something unlawful.”

Romantic Depot additionally incited a minor controversy after portray a mural of Notorious BIG on its wall — it learn, “Spread find it irresistible’s the Brooklyn means” — which was quickly painted over after it was broadly criticized. (As somebody wrote on Facebook, “I’m not mad at a intercourse store however cease utilizing Biggie’s phrase for actually any and all the things. It’s actual corny.”) Buzzetti told Amsterdam News that he didn’t know who painted over the mural; one of the protesters, Reverend Kevin McCall, claimed that Buzzetti had solely a 30-day Getty license for the picture, so Buzzetti “took it down the day earlier than the time was up.”

Last month, a crowd of counter-protesters, who apparently love Romantic Depot, confronted a deliberate protest outdoors the store. The group held indicators in protection of the chain — studying “LGBTQ Supports Romantic Depot” and “Make Love Not War.” Then McCall identified that the protesters might have been paid protesters — not solely deceptive however uncool. Another native resident advised Amsterdam News that the protesters for the store had been “from New Jersey.” (Some of Romantic Depot’s other locations had provided $25 reward playing cards to its clients attend the rally, writing on Facebook, “WE HAVE SOME EXTRA SIGNS, HOWEVER IF YOU CAN MAKE A SMALL SIGN IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED, IN CASE WE RUN OUT.”)

There might but be peace: Buzzetti and McCall got here to an agreement to speak it out. “We’d wish to be good neighbors,” Buzzetti advised Brooklyn Paper, whereas McCall mentioned, “Even although it’s not required by legislation, he ought to’ve nonetheless simply got here to the neighborhood. He’s prepared to speak, so let’s see how the future dialogue occurs.”

Buzzetti mentioned to Amsterdam News that “the communities we serve all turn into desensitized, in about 2-3 months, after we open.” And not everybody hates the store. As one Clinton Avenue resident told Brooklyn Paper, “We need it. What’s flawed with being sexual. You don’t see nothing loopy outdoors, you don’t see no booty, you don’t see no nudity. So what’s flawed?”

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