Synagogue Succeeds Where Swinger Club Failed in Dodging Cuomo's COVID Rules

A Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn, New York reportedly dodged pandemic regulations and police to host a large secret maskless wedding this month. The event succeeded while organizers of a private swingers party over the weekend failed, as they were busted for hosting at least 80 guests amid a surge in COVID-19.

The New York City Sheriff's Office shut down an illegal swingers club in the borough of Queens at around 12:05 a.m. on Sunday morning with more than 80 people in attendance. After receiving a 311 complaint, authorities arrived at the scene in Queens' Astoria neighborhood to find attendees drinking in close proximity and without adhering to the social distancing guidelines.

Organizers of the event, hosted by Caligula New York, violated Governor Andrew Cuomo's emergency COVID-19 order and failed to produce a liquor license. Deputy sheriffs charged at least two organizers and one patron with multiple misdemeanors in the bust.

11/22/20 @ 0005 HRS: Deputy Sheriffs shut down illegal bottle/swingers club @ 40-19 20th Avenue, Queens (Yellow Zone): 80+ people, violation of emergency orders, no liquor license, warehousing liquor, 2 organizers, 1 patron charged with multiple misdemeanors. pic.twitter.com/2eTp9oM6V1

— NYC SHERIFF (@NYCSHERIFF) November 22, 2020

New York has recently seen a string of weekend raids by local authorities, as secret events and clubs continue to disregard pandemic regulations amid surging coronavirus cases in the state.

However, one Brooklyn wedding held on November 8 was reportedly successful in evading a police bust. Videos obtained by the New York Post showed thousands of attendees crammed inside Williamsburg's Yetev Lev temple for the wedding of a chief rabbi's grandson. Most of the guests were not seen wearing masks.

Der Blatt, a Yiddish newspaper, identified Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman's grandson, Yoel Teitelbaum, as one party to the wedding.

"Due to the ongoing situation with government restrictions, preparations were made secretly and discreetly, so as not to draw attention from strangers," Der Blatt reported on November 13.

The paper reported that organizers were able to hide the wedding from authorities by not sending out paper invitations, keeping notices to word of mouth, and avoiding the use of posters.

Citing the reports, Cuomo on Sunday called for an investigation into the alleged event. "If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law," the governor said at a press briefing. "It's illegal. It was also disrespectful of the people of New York."

After Cuomo's remarks, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office confirmed that the city had launched a probe, according to local news reports.

Their alleged decision to hold a secret party came weeks after New York canceled a wedding for the grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, who is Aaron's brother, over fears that it would draw 10,000 guests.

As of Sunday, more than 630,000 people in New York state have tested positive for coronavirus, with over 34,000 deaths caused by the disease.

Newsweek reached out to de Blasio's office for further information regarding the probe.

Andrew Cuomo
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty