Tag Archives: gay landmark

Cincinnati, OH Closes Landmark Gay Bookstore Over “Nail Polish Remover”

Cincinnati Closes The Pink Pyramid

The Pink Pyramid, a gay bookstore that has operated in downtown Cincinnati for over 21 years has been closed.

“The City of Cincinnati closed us down!” sign now appears in its empty storefront  window.

“They pushed us out because we are a gay business,” said George Vanover, who owned the business for nearly 25 years with his partner, Gary Allgeier. “Some people have told us they think it’s because of the streetcar and because of development. But I don’t think that. I think they just wanted us gone.”

“This was a concerted effort to get rid of us,” he continues. “And they won. They got rid of us.”

It all began in 2013 when cops made a few undercover visits to the store and they were sold “nail polish remover.”

Problem was the crime lab called what he was selling isobutyl nitrite.

“Poppers” or “rush,” an inhalant used to get a short burst of euphoria and to increase sexual pleasure. The state of Ohio calls it illegal when the chemical is packaged and sold as an inhalant, says Allgeier’s lawyer, Bill Gallagher. But it can be used as a nail polish remover.

Undercover cops busted The Pink Pyramid again in 2014, selling its special brand of “nail polish remover.”. This time, they also got a search warrant and found 634 bottles of the inhalant at the store. They found others, mostly used, during a separate search at Allgeier’s home. The cops said he knew exactly what he was selling.

There were more criminal charges. But this time, the Cincinnati Police department asked the city’s law department to begin additional court proceedings to declare the bookstore a nuisance and to shut it down.

And the cities lawyers did just that.

Cincinnati’s only gay city council member Chris Seelbach weighed:

“They’ve been a fixture in the gay community. A lot of people are upset to see it go,” he said. “But you have to follow the law and not disobey it. That is the number one issue here. They’d still be open today if they had stopped selling illegal products.”

Vanover scoffs, calling the city not nearly as progressive as it likes to make believe it is.




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

Julius’ NYC’s Oldest Gay Landmark Shut Down By The Department of Health

Julius’ the longest-running gay bar in NYC,  at the corner of West 10th Street and Waverly Place was closed by the city’s Department of Health late last week.

Established around 1867 – the same year as the Jacob Ruppert Brewery in the Yorkville neighborhood. Barrels stamped “Jacob Ruppert” are used for tables. Vintage photos of racing horses, boxers and actors are on the wall as well as an image signed by Walter Winchell saying that he loves Julius’.

In the 1950s Julius; was attracting gay patrons. And at the time the New York State Liquor Authority had a rule that ordered bars not to serve liquor to the disorderly, and homosexuals per se were considered “disorderly.” Bartenders would  evict known homosexuals or order them not to face other customers in order to avoid cruising. Despite this, gay men continued to be a large part of the clientele into the early 1960s, and the management of Julius, steadfastly unwilling for it to become a gay bar, continued to harass them until 1966 when members of the New York Chapter of the Mattachine Society staged a “Sip-In” at the bar.

Dick Leitsch, the society’s president, John Timmons and Craig Rodwell planned to draw attention to the practice by identifying themselves as homosexuals before ordering a drink in order to bring court scrutiny to the regulation. The three were going to read from Mattachine stationary “We are homosexuals. We are orderly, we intend to remain orderly, and we are asking for service.”

The three men went to Julius Julius, where a clergyman had been arrested a few days earlier for soliciting sex.  A sign in the window read, “This is a raided premises.” The bartender started preparing them a drink but then put his hand over the glass which was photographed. The New York Times ran a headline the next day “3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars.” The Mattachines then challenged the liquor rule in court and the courts ruled that gays had a right to peacefully assemble, which undercut the previous SLA contention that the presence of gay clientele automatically was grounds for charges of operating a “disorderly” premises. With this right established a new era of licensed, legally operating gay bars began.

By the late 60’s  Julius’ became a full fledged gay bar and embraced it.  It kept its old New york saloon feel sevrving  burgers, booze and beers to mostly an ‘older” clientele and in the 70’s and 80’s older gentlemen would  sometimes buy burgers for younger men. (If you get my drift).  But times changed and Julius’t kept chugging along with a steady gay clientele and to this day the bar still holds a monthly party called Mattachine.

The current owners did not argue that there were problems that needed to be fixed, and said the bar was to have had multiple exterminations over the weekend hoped to re-open after another inspection on Wednesday or later in the week.

 Bars, Book Stores, buildings, so many LGBT landmarks are disappearing and with them our history fades. 

Lets hope that Julius’s gets this current problem under control before we lose another.