Forgotten Gay New York City: The Cock Ring and The Hotel Christopher – 180 Christopher Street

Will Kohler

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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12 Responses

  1. max says:

    to Mr Will Kohler…I wish I locate a guest at Cock Ring, but also Anvil, 12 west, Flamingo. He was a latin dance hustler who became a real true legend in Italy as dj 1975 to 77. He was Tom Sison…I only know he was born about 1946-50 and he lived boystown. I ‘ve a picture and I could send

  2. mike says:

    I was there every night, and T – dance , in fact had several fist fights there to, rough but fun place… which was not what it was supposed to be, boy I’m old… some day I’ll tell you what the DJ told me…

  3. I danced my ass off there many Friday and Saturday nights during 1976-77. It WAS an amazing disco. I never used the back room there. My local back room establishment was THE STRAP. Anybody else still
    around who frequented that place?

  4. Robert Lanza says:

    I worked at the Cockring for about 7 years.Almost the entire lenght of time the Cockring was opened. I only stopped working there because I fell in love and move to Houston Texas (ha, only lasted two weeks, but stayed in TX for about a year and came bacxk to the Cockring until the end). I remember everyone that woked there and all the DJ’s that spun records there. They actually used the Cockring to test out the latest remix of a record before it would be played at the Flamingo and later the Saint. McGarther’s Park and Souvenirs as an example. Howard Merrit worked at Casablanca Records during the week. We had all the best and well known DJ’s play there. The Cockring had a few managers, the first and the one that designed the original look was Nathan (sorry don’t rember his last name at this moment. Nathan worked on two Gay bars at the Upper West and he worked on the Mineshaft and Jay’s. i do remember the own primary owners, Dick and John (former detectives – ever heard of Serpico movie). Frank was the second manager, almost until the end. We were all family, my co-workers. I started working there bring a bar back, I cleaned up the empty beer cans and took back to the bar the empty glasses. I washed the glasses and restocked the ice. I later moved to being a bartender. Only because I actually built a beer bar in the corner by the front door (corner door). At first I was only allowed to sell beer, but later started to sell liquor as well. Then because of staff changes, I moved or graduated to the big boys bar (the main bar). Every where I read about the Cockring mentions a backroom for sex. The Cockring, did not have a backroom it was only added after a few years and a renovation. I do remember the special private morning parties that we had for those that wanted more after Flamingo or the Saint closed at 8am. These parties were geared for a patrions that like to do a particular drug. The age of the Dust Parties. I happened to live around the corner from the Cockring. I lived at 382 West Street and Barrow Strreet, 2nd floor. My kitchen window faced Keller’s Bar. During the summer there would be this very overweight woman that would sit on the fire hydrant to get cooled off. Above Keller’s on Barrow was a SRO hotel. Sunday’s would be wild during the warm weather. There were thousands of boys and men having a Sunday Tea, or beer party that originated at Badlands, basically a beer bar for bears,the opposite side of Christopher Street from the Cockring. I would get up and hang my head out of living room window. I would usually invite guys up to my apartment to get it on. It was like fishing. At those years, the elevated West Side Highway was still there. I would clean my apartment naked as joggers would run by on the Hwy, of course they would get an invitation. There are so many stories from those days. Stories about my roommates and stories about the Cockring.

    Rob

  5. Bobby Roberts says:

    The Cockring, those were truly the days of glory, drugs, sex and disco. Thank you for reviving those memories and by the way, I never saw a backroom there.

  6. skiddlybop says:

    Never ever saw a backroom, tho I did use the restroom. Can anyone name the full DJ staff?

  7. skiddlybop says:

    Besides Richie Rivera, Jonathan Fearing, Howard Merritt, Wayne Scott and Bob Lowe, I mean.? these are the DJs I’m sure i danced to at the Ring.

  8. jack says:

    Yeah, the Cock Ring was damn near my home during those wild and crazy and stoned disco nights of the latter half of the 1970s.

  9. The Cock Ring & Keller’s could keep my week occupied unless I had to work!

  10. Doug Probst says:

    Love reading the historical background Will.

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