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As the coronavirus pandemic raged through New York City, its underbelly didn’t turn off the lights.

Regardless of orders shuttering all nonessential businesses to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, speakeasies are reportedly popping up all over the region.

Reports allege that patrons of controversial underground parties weren’t practicing social distancing or wearing face masks while the virus was spreading rapidly and starting to max out the health care system.

The cool kids allegedly do shots cheering the virus.

“What’s wrong with hanging out amongst ourselves? I don’t know any old people!” one guest reportedly said.

“We’re young. We’re not the target,” another purportedly said.


COVID-19 has killed at least 16,000 New York City residents, plus another 4,800 whose deaths weren’t immediately confirmed by a lab test.

The coronavirus has cut an unequal path of grief through New York City, hitting hardest in a ring of predominantly poorer, nonwhite neighborhoods along subway and bus routes from Manhattan, according to data released by the city Monday.

The new accounting of fatalities by neighborhood revealed that the ZIP code with more deaths per capita than any other place in New York is the one that contains Starrett City, a huge complex of apartment towers in Brooklyn that is the largest federally subsidized housing development in the country.

Of the area’s roughly 12,400 residents, 76 have been killed by the virus. Nearly 63 percent of the people living in the ZIP code are black. It is also the ZIP code with the largest percentage of older people in the city, likely a contributing factor to the high fatality rate.

The data released Monday reinforced earlier revelations that black and Hispanic New Yorkers were both more than twice as likely to be killed by the virus as white people.

It also showed a direct link between death and poverty.

Neighborhoods with very high poverty levels suffered an average of 232 deaths per 100,000 residents while areas with low poverty rates experienced 100 deaths per 100,000 residents.

A tale of two cities: influenza or influencer.

An unnamed “famous Upper East Side bar and lounge” and a “trendy downtown hotel” allegedly reopened to host parties this week, the New York Post reported.

Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that a Lower East Side nightclub allegedly hosted a party this month in the tradition of Prohibition-era gatherings, with cocktails flowing and patrons reciting passwords at the door to be allowed entry.

Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as officials work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed so many lives worldwide. They’re phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.

Police arrested the 56-year-old owner of an illegal Brooklyn speakeasy where a dozen people were found drinking and gambling after someone called 311 with a tip.

Vasil Pando, the first bar owner to be arrested over the city’s lockdown order, faces charges of illegal sale of alcohol, promoting gambling, reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance, police said.


A New York City-based gay porn star got in trouble for a packed party during the quarantine.

“In the middle of a pandemic, @IanFrostok thought it would be a good idea to post 51 Instagram stories (yes, 51) of a house party he went to last night and early this morning in NYC,” tweeted journalist Yashar Ali, along with a clip.

DJ Alec Brian, who played at the party, took to social media to say sorry and defend his actions.

“As many of us are now unemployed, I had an opportunity to avail myself of some needed money to pay my bills,” he wrote on Instagram. “If I have insulted anyone or made anyone feel uncomfortable by this event, I sincerely apologize as that was certainly not my intent.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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