Long Island lingerie shop owner claims town harassed her

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She’s too sexy for this Long Island burg.

A one-time sex-toy shop owner, who tangled with local officials for 12 years over her store until it finally shut down, says the Town of Babylon is now trying to drive her out of business as she marches her kinky boots toward a relaunch.

Nicole Vergara, 54, was forced to close Cupid’s in June, after a long battle with town officials who claimed she was operating without the proper paperwork.

With a new, hostile landlord coming in, the single mom of two said she decided to change locations and pivot her business model from sex toys to lingerie, sinking her kid’s college savings into a new location.

But Babylon officials vowed to put her “under a microscope,” and dragged out the permit-approval process while holding her livelihood “hostage,” she charges in a lawsuit against the town.

The location for her original Grand Boulevard shop was “kind of a seedy place” before she took over, Vergara acknowledged.

“I turned it around. I was a single mom, doing it on my own. It was a lot of work and I put my whole heart and soul into the place, my whole life revolved from morning to night around the store,” she recalled, calling it an “elegant, woman-friendly” place where “everybody’s welcome.”

Nicole Vergara owner of Cupid's Boutique was run out of the Town of Babylon for running a sex toy shop catering to transgender and non-binary folks claims her bid to open a new shop selling lingerie to the same community is also being targeted.
Vergara said she put her “whole heart and soul” into her lingerie business.
Christopher Sabella

The mother of two is keen on giving her new spot, at 786 Grand Blvd., the same vibe.

“It’s a safe haven for any time of person who feels uncomfortable within themselves,” she said, noting her large transgender following. “We have a little something for everybody.”

She invested $130,000 into the space, but claims in court papers a town employee secretly changed her building permit paperwork, causing Babylon officials to initially deny her application.

Nicole Vergara owner of Cupid's Boutique was run out of the Town of Babylon for running a sex toy shop catering to transgender and non-binary folks claims her bid to open a new shop selling lingerie to the same community is also being targeted.
Vergara has invested $130,000 into her lingerie business, even using her children’s college saving funds.
Christopher Sabella

The town has allegedly forced her to accept “limitations that no other business” faces, even requiring her to list her inventory and confirm she won’t be selling sex toys now, Vergara charges in the Dec. 1 litigation.

Last week, the town finally issued Vergara’s Cupid’s Boutique a certificate of occupancy, clearing last bureaucratic hurdle to her opening.

“She put tons of money at great personal cost into this store and was illegally not allowed to open it for months,” said her lawyer, J. Remy Green.

Nicole Vergara owner of Cupid's Boutique was run out of the Town of Babylon for running a sex toy shop catering to transgender and non-binary folks claims her bid to open a new shop selling lingerie to the same community is also being targeted.
The Long Island town of Babylon mandates Vergara to submit a list of her inventory, which is not required for other local businesses.
Christopher Sabella

The new store “isn’t some seedy adult store,” attorney Richard Rosenthal noted. “It’s a lingerie store, like any lingerie store.”

Vergara says some of her new neighbors have already voiced discomfort with her clientele, but she’s not deterred. She’s pushing forward with her lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and a declaration from a judge that the town’s treatment of her has been unconstitutional.

“This is a one of a kind place, where [transgender and nonbinary people] can come and be themselves. The whole rainbow can come in here,” she said. “This is life. This is 2021.”

The Town of Babylon did not return a call for comment.

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