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You Are Here: Home » Featured, LGBT History » Iconic NYC Gay Bar RAWHIDE To Close – SAVE THE RAWHIDE!

Rawhide

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

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6652 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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