Rice When a mysterious new storefront opened last month in the heart of brownstone Brooklyn, residents buzzed and blogged about what was behind the black door. Would it be a new restaurant or fancy boutique like others along Smith Street, smack in the middle of the piping-hot neighborhoods of Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Gowanus?
Online speculation spread about the goings-on at Smith St. Several ads on sex-seeking Web sites raised obvious red flags. Rice A Post reporter, posing as a massage customer, called the number listed online on Wednesday and asked for an appointment.
The message was embellished with 16 heart emojis. He was ushered in by a petite something Chinese woman wearing tight jeans shorts, high heels and a white lace baby-doll top. He was instructed to take off his clothes, skivvies included.
He was told to lie face-down on the mattress, which was covered with a print sheet, red towel and white gauze fabric. She removed her heels and sat on his back. She kneaded the muscles on his back and shoulders with her hands for about 15 minutes. She then had him turn over. The Tao ad offered hot stones and a milk and rose bath, so whatever she was proposing was unclear. She pouted and rubbed her fingers together, indicating money.
She left briefly and came back. Coco proceeded to disrobe, taking off her black bra and red panties, which she twirled in front of his face. She then pulled out a condom, unwrapped it and moved to put it on the reporter. Coco struggled to make herself understood. She managed to convey that she was from Hong Kong and lived in the back of the parlor. Those indicators can be a sign that a brothel is engaged in human trafficking or coercion, according to experts.
As he was leaving, the reporter spotted two other young Asian women in a front room. They were dressed in bathrobes and seated on a futon. Cops in the 76th Precinct are aware of Tao but have taken no action, according to a police source. The landlord did not return calls seeking comment.
Sex-selling massage parlors are increasingly common in New York, according to an investigation by the Contently Foundation that ran in The Post last year.
And they are making inroads into well-heeled neighborhoods like Cobble Hill. One has reportedly opened on the Upper East Side. Experts say such places, owned primarily by independent Chinese and Korean operators, are spreading to other metro areas, suburbs and small towns across the United States.