Opened in 1979, the Rawhide in Chelsea is
was one of the last of a handful of old-school, unpretentious gay bars left in New York City. An old motorcycle hangs from chains over a red-felt pool table, a grimy baby doll strapped to its muffler. The ceiling is painted black and a blackout curtian hangs in front of the door to keep the light and prying eyes of 8th Avenue out. The walls are decorated with Herb Ritts posters of muscle models, Mr. International Leather 1990, and Tom of Finland poses–everywhere Tom of Finland posters.
It has seen generations of gay men pass through its door and lived and mourned its customers who did not survive the AIDS crisis.
It is a survivor. But it won’t be for long. The building that houses it on 8th and 21st in Chelsea was sold a couple of years ago and the new landlord has jacked up the rent, nearly doubling it from $15,000 to $27,000 a month. The Rawhide has officially been evicted. Their last day will be March 31.
Our history is being erased and forgotten. Gentrification and assimilation is killing us.
Mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn just had this to say about the Rawhide to New York magazine in January:
“One of the things I loved about Chelsea is that on Eighth Avenue, there is the Rawhide bar–not a luxury product. And for many years there were Latino guys from the neighborhood who had a folding card table every Friday and Saturday night and played dominoes. And they knew every guy who walked into the Rawhide, and every guy that walked in the Rawhide knew them. A leather bar may or may not be the best example, but it is the type of neighborhood experience we want to be able to have, what Jane Jacobs called ‘the eyes on the streets’ all watching out for each other.”
CLICK HERE to contact Christine Quinn and ask her to back up her words. We have lost so much of our history and landmarks.
The Rawhide must be saved!
Source: Jeremiah's Vanishing New York