Tag Archives: NYC

Gay History - January 16: 1901 - The Astonishing Story of NYC Politician Murray Hall Who Lived As A Man, But Was Born A Woman.

Gay History – January 16: 1901 – The Astonishing Story of NYC Politician Murray Hall Who Lived As A Man, But Was Born A Woman.

Tammany Hall politician Murray Hall lived a hard drinking, poker playing man for decades without his gender being questioned. Following Hall’s death, however, the New York Times reported that Hall’s “true sex” was revealed by the doctor as biologically female.

Hall was born Mary Anderson in Scotland and around age 16 began dressing as a male, taking the name John Anderson. Anderson married young, but had a roving eye and a jealous wife who disclosed Anderson’s gender to the police. Fearing arrest, Anderson fled to America in 1870 and assumed the name Murray H. Hall.

In 1872, Hall married Cecilia Lowe, a schoolteacher, and by 1874 Hall had established an employment agency, a Bail Bondsman business and had an active political career.

But on January 16, 1901 upon Heads death, the 30+ year secret was discovered:

—————————-

New York Times, January 18, 1901:

WOMAN LONG POSED AS A MAN

Murray Hall Had Conducted an Employment Agency-Sex Revealed at Death

A peculiar case was brought to light yesterday when Dr. William C. Gallagher of 302 West Twelfth Street reported to the Coroner’s office the death of Murray Hall, sixty years old, who kept an employment agency at 145 Sixth Avenue. Death was caused by cancer of the breast. Although Murray Hall had passed for a man for a number of years it now turns out that the person was a woman.

Neighbors who were asked last night said that although Hall had always been considered a little peculiar, there was no thought that the person was other than a man. A woman who was understood to be Hall’s wife, died about two years ago. The only other member of the family is an adopted daughter. She refused to see any callers last night.

——————–

The New York Times said Hall had suffered from breast cancer for several years, and speculated that he had not sought medical advice due to fears of his secret becoming known.

He had, however, amassed a collection of medical books which he used to treat himself.

When Hall did consult a doctor, he only had a few days left to live.

After his death, every private moment, real or perceived, was twisted and turned and held up to the light, but in the end Murray Hall told no stories of his own but he shall be remembered.

Read more about the fascinating life and death of Murray Hill at History Matters and The Walks of New York,

Murray Hall: The New York politician who broke 19th Century gender rules -  BBC News

Gay History – December 14, 1974: NYC’s FIRST Exclusively Gay Disco “Flamingo” Opens It’s Doors

Flamingo

Before 12 West (1975),  Crisco Disco (opening date unknown), Paradise Garage (1977), or Studio 54 (1977). The Flamingo (1974) was NYC’s first exclusively gay disco.  The Sanctuary (1969-72) tried to make this claim but it attracted a good number of heterosexuals couples and single women as well and was not “exclusively gay”.  

Flamingo was promoted as the first discotheque for an exclusively gay male clientele and opened on December 14, 1974.  It was located on the 2nd floor of a building at the corner of Houston St. and Broadway in New York City.  Since there was a constant fear police raids  the club had an unlisted telephone number, but members and those in the loops knew they would find it under Gallery for the Promotion of People, Places, and Events housed at 599 Broadway.

Started  by Michael Fesco, a former Broadway dancer and a gypsy in the chorus of Irma La Douce,  members paid  up to six hundred dollars a year “membership” (In 1975 that was a lot of money even by gay standards) .  The Flamingo was in an upstairs loft space, and there were two stunning women who operated the door, both with gardenias behind their ears.  After passing them at the entrance they were the last women who you would see as in the beginning it was an “all male” club.

The club was famous for the intensity and  its t inventive parties. “They were the birthplace of Black parties and White parties,” says a writer Stuart Lee. adding that there were also set pieces such as a Crucifixion with the models dressed as Roman legionaries, and a Jesus Christ who would, from time to time, turn his eyes heavenward and ascend a cross.

From  DiscoMusic.com:

kryptonbear:

I first went to Flamingo as a guest of my roommate in the fall of 1975.

You entered through the door on the corner of Broadway & West Houston, then up a flight of stairs. Upon entering the club on the 2nd floor, coat check was on the left, with a row of banquettes running along the south wall parallel to coat check. There was an open space leading west from the coat check to a wall with two doorways on either end, which were the entrances to the dance floor. The dance floor itself was a large, white rectangular room with the DJ booth at the top of the wall on the center right as you entered the room. Across the top width of the wall you had just passed through to enter the dance floor was a huge electric board that looked like a piano keyboard and lit up with various colors that shone on the dance floor. Beyond the dance floor at the far end was a lounge area, which was a black room that got very naughty late in the evening .

I finally got my own membership by speaking with Sam, the manager of the club, who told me to just stop by during the week and speak to Jane, a lady who worked during the daytime in the office of the club, which was located behind coat check, overlooking Broadway.  It was that easy for me, which I was surprised at since having a membership there was a big deal at the time.

One of my most vivid memories of Flamingo was a party in April of 1976 called the Tropicana Party. The club was decorated in a tropical motif for the night, and most of the guys that night were dressed in Hawaiian shirts and Levi 501’s. At the height of the evening, the music stopped and the place went dark. With the lights off, a song by Celia Cruz came on, and when the lights came up, the banquettes in the front room were lined with couples dressed as if they were at the old Tropicana Club in 1950’s Havana, Cuba, all dancing to the mambo beat of the music. It was one of the greatest parties ever at THE greatest club ever.

The Flamingo would close its door’s in the winter 1980/1981 shortly after the Saint opened and the club kids ruined the dance scene.

Have any memories of the Flamingo?  If so post them in the Comment section and lets have these memories dance on forever.

Ooha ooha let’s all chant!

Flamingo Membership cars

Gay History – December 9, 1985: The NYC Dept. of Health Closes The Infamous New St. Marks Baths

One of the few rare pictures of the St. Marks Baths café.
One of the few rare pictures of the St. Marks Baths café.

The New St. Marks Baths was the premiere gay bathhouse in New York City and was located at 6 St. Marks Place in the East Village of Manhattan from 1979 to 1985.  It claimed to be the worlds largest gay bathhouse with 230 lockers, 162 cubicles/rooms, a pool, several lounges, a roof deck,  a steam room with portholes in the wall like the ones you would see on a cruise ship and a 24 hour cafe.

Opened in 1913 it operated as a Turkish bath catering to the immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side. In the 1950s it began to have a homosexual clientele at night and in the 1960’s it became exclusively gay.

Rare picture of the St. Marks Baths locker room.
Rare picture of the St. Marks Baths locker room.

The Saint Mark’s Baths was sexual playground and gay men would prowl its darkened hallways 24 a day, 7 days a week in search of the ultimate sex partner. On the main floor, money was paid and valuables safely stored in signed, sealed envelopes and put away for safekeeping.  A key was handed out (to a locker if one had $10, to an actual private room if one had $20-50; depending upon the size of the bed).  And off you went.  On Friday and Saturday nights despite the huge size of the place it was not surprising to wind up on wait list waiting for a room or a locker for hours.

The late Vito Russo, film historian and author of “The Celluloid Closet,” was a regular at New York City’s St. Mark’s Baths and worked in its Cafe (pictured above) for minimum wage and tips, making sandwiches and serving coffee to the men draped in towels or those waiting. All enjoying some post-Stonewall sexual liberation

There was no “velvet rope” at the door. Well-sculpted body builders were in line to get in with guys who were 90 pounds soaking wet. The cream of the male-modeling crop mixed together with bi-curious construction workers from New Jersey.  Artists and Art Dealers rubbed elbows (clad in nothing but a towel around the waist) with elementary school art teachers.  The clothes came off and suddenly everyone was just himself with only one thing on his mind without status symbols or wealth to get in the way.

One’s ability to make out well (literally) was based not on one’s looks or charm, but also chance. The odds were based on three floors’ worth of “hunting” space and how many men happened to be there at the time. The bigger the crowd, the more chance that one would meet “Mr. Right.” (And  for many that meant  Mr. Right No. 1, Mr. Right No. 2, Mr. Right No. 3, and so on.)

The first floor contained locker rooms, showers and the cafe. The basement contained a swimming pool, more showers, an enormous Jacuzzi, and a large, darkened room with a vinyl-covered mattress that must’ve been 40′ x 40′ where all manner of groping was going on. The upstairs three floors contained seemingly miles of hallway and hundreds of rooms.. Doors ajar with men waiting within,

It was a hedonist wonderland.  As someone once described it: “It was Gomorrah the way it should have been”.

Via SteveWarren.com – Legendary Bathouses of New YorkCity

A regular of the old St. Marks Baths remembered it this way: “The steamroom was an institution in itself. Guys would pack in so tightly that you could hardly raise your arms. And there was a pool in the basement where I saw quite a few guys getting blow jobs under the water. Never could figure out how they didn’t get a lung full of water.” (Robert, NYC)

Another regular of the old St. Marks Baths remembered this incident: “I’ll never forget this one…happened at the old St. Marks Baths one Saturday night in the late 1970’s. There was a line out the door (probably about 1 in the morning). I was waiting patiently when, all of a sudden, the music stops playing from inside, and an ambulance pulls up. About 15 minutes later two men come out with a stretcher. On it was a guy in a rubber body bag! The reaction of the line was just ‘business as usual.’ A queen in front of me said, ‘I hope I don’t get HER room.’ That was it for me—I was out of there!” (D.H., NYC) Although “D.H.” did not remember why the man on the stretcher had died, there was said to have been an incident in which a man suffered an epileptic attack and drowned in the hot tub about the same time of this incident.

A patron of the New St. Marks Baths remembered this about the place: “The New St. Marks had a great hot tub and olympic pool. Showers were way hot, too. The rooms were tiny, attendants were all nice & would give you sheets, pillows, and towels if you needed extras. I had some hot times as a teenager there. They never proofed!” (J.T., Long Island)

Another regular of the New St. Marks remembered this: “I always tried to get the “corner room.” There was a corner room which was oddly shaped because of the corner. It was right at the head of the stairs, so you could see everything and everybody as they passed by. It was great for cruising. It was also larger than the rest of the rooms because of the angles of the corner. So it was perfect for a small orgy. And I hosted many there!” (C.H., NYC)

But that began to change in 1981 when the AIDS epidemic began.

The Saint Marks and other bathhouses attempted to do what they could.  They passed out condoms and placed posters and literature on safe sex throughout the establishments but some gay activists such as Larry Kramer (God bless him but he was wrong here) became so “sex panic” obsessed that they wanted ALL the bathrouses’ closed..  And seizing the opportunity (and in some cases the land) the city of New York was glad to oblige.

In October 1985 New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR) § 24.2, authorized the New York City Department of Health to close any facilities “in which high risk sexual activity takes place. This code would eventually lead  to the clean-up of 42nd street and 8th Avenue.  And so on December 9, 1985 the City began the process of targeting and closing  and and all gay bathhouses and backrooms and the St. Marks Baths was the first one on it’s list.

As the story goes when health officials came to close the place down the staff could not find the front door key. The New York City Department of Health had to purchase and install a lock on the building, because in its 72 years that the St. Marks had been in existence it had never closed. 

Shortly after its closure graffiti covered the outside walls of the building saying,  “Finally!” and “Fuck Fags!”

Bruce Mailman the owner of the Saint Marks attempted to fight in court to reopen his bathhouse, but failed.  With no chance to reopen it the baths the building that was once one of the busiest gay establishments in New York City stood silent and abandoned for 9 years until he passed away in 1994 from complications due to AIDS.

The property was sold to a video chain and the upstairs was converted to a low rent hotel. It has now been converted into East Village condominiums.

If only those walls could talk.

The St Marks baths large

Long Island Man Arrested For Threatening To Bomb NYC PRIDE

Long Island Man Arrested For Threatening To Bomb NYC PRIDE

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and charged on Monday a Long Island man for mailing letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBT affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses and NYC PRIDE.

Agents from the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and charged on Monday a Long Island man on a warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke for mailing letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses. 

Fehring was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.

As alleged, the defendant’s hate-filled invective and threats of violence directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community have no place in our society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated United States Attorney Peace.

This Office is firmly committed to protecting the civil rights of all members of every community in this district, including the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities.

Fehring’s alleged threats to members of the LGBTQ+ community were not only appalling, but dangerous, despite the fact he hadn’t yet acted on his purported intentions.”

Department of Justice

This is an excerpt from a message was sent to the executive director of an organization setting up an NYC Pride event in May 2021.

“As you faggot scum are preparing to waltz your fruity, freaky f—-t asses down the NY parade lanes, we warn you that there will be radio-controlled devices placed at numerous strategic places, and firepower aimed at you from other strategic places. We’ve had enough!!! This will make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,”

NY Daily News

After his arrest, Fehring said there was a “sickening overdose of that stuff being shoved down everybody’s face on the paper, on the TV and all over the place, and I’m not a fan of any of the homosexuality, homosexual thing,” according to the FBI.

Fehrings arrest comes after in the wake of a minority of queer groups pressuring NYC Pride to remove all police presence from NYC Pride events.

Gay History - November 19, 1980: The NYC Ramrod Shooting.

Gay History – November 19, 1980: The NYC Ramrod Shooting. 2 Killed, 6 Injured In Hate Crime Shooting Spree

On the night of November 19, 1980 Ronald Crumpley, 38,  a former Transit Authority policeman and son of a minister, spent the evening cruising the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village in his father’s stolen blue Cadillac. He fired three shots from an automatic handgun at Sim’s Deli shortly before 11:00 p.m., wounding at least three people and shattering the front plate glass window. Minutes later, he drove to Christopher Street and stopped in front of two gay bars, Sneakers and Ramrod, which were next door to each other on the West Side Highway (West Street).

According to witnesses Crunpley waited about two or three minutes in front of the bars then drove around the block, returned, stepped out of the car calmly, walked up to the curb and shot a man standing on the curb waiting for a cab. The man fell to the ground, then he shot another guy who ran around the corner. He then started spraying both bars through the plate-glass windows with an Uzi machine gun. Then he got back into the car and drove off.” 

After Crumpley drove off, he stopped again at 10th Street and Greenwich Avenue not far from The Ninth Circle and fired eight more shots at another group of men. This time his shots missed, and as police cars approached he sped away. As many as 15 police cruisers chased Crumpley to Broadway and West 10th Street, where Crumpley abandoned the Cadillac. Officers found him trying to pull himself up underneath a parked van’s undercarriage.

All told Vernon Koenig, an organist at Greenwich Village’s St. Joseph’s church, died on the operating table at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Jorg Wenz, Ramrod’s 21-year-old doorman, died soon after surgery. Rene Malute, 23, was in intensive care, and five others were admitted in stable condition.

Thousands visited the site of the Ramrod attack in the following nights leaving flowers and remembrances. But the attack itself was barely mentioned in the news media.

Crumpley was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, and possession of illegal weapons. Police found four weapons: a .357 Magnu, a .45 caliber automatic pistol, a 9mm automatic pistol, and an Uzi. Crumpley told police that he attacked the bars and the deli because he hated homosexuals. “I want to kill them all,” he said. “They’re no good. They ruin everything.”

During Crumpley’s trail, the prosecution presented 35 witnesses, and the defense five. At issue was Crumpley’s mental state at the time of the shooting. Crumpley’s psychiatrist testified that Creumpley suffered from paranoia. Crumpley himself took the stand and said gay people were “agents of the devil” who were following him continuously. The jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. He was committed to Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Wards Island.

In 2001, Crumpley’s lawyers petitioned the Manhattan Supreme Court to review the state of his mental illness and pleaded for his release or transfer to a less secure institution.

He was the model of normalcy under questioning from his own lawyer. But under grilling by prosecutor Patricia Bailey, Crumpley described a lingering resentment over numerous men whom he “knew” were gay and who were “attracted to me”.

Crumpley adopted a soprano voice to imitate a man he thought was following him on Eighth Avenue and said gays sometimes “put themselves in a situation where they know they’re taking chances.”

The judge turned down both his requests.

Crumpley died in a psychiatric hospital in 2015. Though the attack on the Ramrod is not well remembered outside of Greenwich Village, residents have never forgotten the event. Coming as it did shortly after the election of Ronald Reagan and a Republican takeover of the US Senate, the attack felt like an ominous harbinger of things to come. Eight months later the New York Times would report on the strange, “rare cancer” afflicting homosexual men.

The Ramrod closed permanently following the attack.


Remembering the Ramrod Massacre - Village Preservation

Ramrod – NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

West Street '79 [includes Badlands, RamRod] - Leonard Fink — Google Arts &  Culture

Ramrod – NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
Gay History: November 7, 1985: NYC Closes the "Notorious" MINESHAFT, READ The NY Times Article

Gay History: November 7, 1985: NYC Closes the “Notorious” MINESHAFT – READ The NY Times Article

New York City yesterday closed a bar frequented by homosexuals, contending that it permitted ”high-risk sexual activity” linked to the spread of AIDS.

It was the first such action taken by the city since New York State enacted new rules designed to curb the growing incidence of the deadly disease by empowering local governments to shut down bathhouses, bars and other places where dangerous sex takes place.

In court papers signed late Wednesday by Justice Jawn A. Sandifer of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the city asserts that the bar – the Mine Shaft at 835 Washington Street, near Little West 12th Street, in Greenwich Village – is not only in violation of the new anti-AIDS regulations but also is a public nuisance and has been operating without a liquor license.

At a hearing set for Tuesday, the city will ask that the bar be closed for a year. Its owners, listed in court papers as the DAJ Real Estate Management Corporation, could not be reached yesterday, and its operators were not identified.

A ‘Notorious’ Place

The Mine Shaft is a ”notorious and well-known place,” in the words of Richard Dunne, executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

In graphic depositions written by city inspectors, a portrait emerged of a dark place with black walls, back rooms, open cubicles without doors and the accouterments of sadomasochism. They reported seeing many patrons engaging in anal intercourse and fellatio – the ”high risk” sexual practices cited in the state rules – and hearing sounds of whipping and moaning.

At a news conference with city lawyers, Mayor Koch said in answer to questions yesterday that by closing the place, the city was not trying to impose any restrictions on sexuality, but to save lives.

”Maybe it brings to the consciousness of those who have a predilection to engage in this suicidal behavior how ridiculous it is, how self-defeating it is and how lethal it is,” he said. ”Maybe it will deter them as well. We don’t know. But we’re going to do the best we can.’

Opposition to Closing

Others, including homosexual activists, argued that closing the Mine Shaft and places like it would have no impact on sexual activity, and suggested that by closing the bar, the city had taken a step toward government regulation of private behavior.

”The Governor and the Mayor have taken us down a slippery slope that may lead to re-criminalization of private sexual conduct in general,” said Thomas B. Stoddard, legislative director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. ”Once the government starts on that road, it is very hard to make distinctions between kinds of establishments and kinds of conduct.”

City inspections will continue, said the Mayor, who also sent letters to 10 establishments believed to be in violation of the state rules, asking them to report to him by next Thursday what they have done to prevent high-risk sex on their premises.

A Call for Education

Mr. Dunne of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis said he did not believe that closing the bar would have a salutary effect on sexual behavior, or on the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

”You don’t get AIDS from buildings, you get AIDS from a virus that is transmitted sexually,” he said. ”The only thing that is going to stop it is education and the adoption of behavior changes. I don’t just mean people going to the Mine Shaft and to the bathhouses. I’m talking about the whole gay male population, and I’m talking about all intravenous drug users and their contacts.”

Mr. Koch, who until recently had taken the position that closing bathhouses, sex clubs and the like would not stop high-risk sex, said he thought closing the Mine Shaft might stop some of the sexual practices that had been taking place there.

”The Bible says, if you save one life, it’s as though you have saved the whole world,” he said, alluding to a similarly worded passage that is actually in the Talmud.

Frenetic Activity

The city was expected to act a day sooner than it did in closing the Mine Shaft. The Mayor announced early Wednesday that an establishment would be closed that morning, a pronouncement that set off frenetic activity at City Hall. According to the city’s Corporation Counsel, Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., the Mayor was ”confused” about the complexity of the process and the need to prepare detailed court papers.

A large portion of the court submission is made up of the depositions from three inspectors with the city’s Consumer Affairs Department, who visited the Mine Shaft between last Friday and last Sunday.

In sparse, almost clinical language, they describe what they saw.

”The bar was approximately 20 feet long,” one inspector wrote. ”Near the bar in the center of the floor was a pool table covered with a sheet of plywood. To the rear of the bar was a coat room where a man was checking all coats that were not leather. Located on the floor, there were two horses which I would describe as the type used in a gymnasium. The interior of the premises was painted black.’

Warning Signs

The inspectors wrote of seeing several men ”in various stages of undress” fondling each other, engaging in oral and anal intercourse and doing so in the open. They said that they observed men moving from one sexual partner to another and that although signs warned of AIDS and offered to provide condoms, condoms were not being used.

Two of the inspectors said they heard sounds of whipping and moaning, but did not investigate ”for reasons of personal safety,” one wrote.

Mr. Koch praised the inspectors, who had the option of refusing the assignment. ”It’s tough stuff to read,” the Mayor said. ”It must be horrific, horrendous in its actuality to witness.”

(Mary Koch. Oh Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease.! – WK)

Image result for the mineshaft nyc


Image result for the mineshaft nyc


Image result for the mineshaft nyc


Image result for the mineshaft nyc
Anti-Vaxxers Storm Staten Island Food Court - They may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR CINNABONS! [VIDEO]

Anti-Vaxxers Storm Staten Island Food Court – They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our CINNABONS! [VIDEO]

A group of about 25 anti-vaxxers who oppose New York City’s vaccine requirement for restaurants and other indoor activities stormed a Staten Island food court over the weekend — refusing to show proof-of-inoculation before sitting down to eat because you know their right for a Cinnabon is more important than someone’s life.

The videos in the tweets below shows the renegade group proceed into the Staten Island Mall’s food-court area after blowing right past security and signs notifying them to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Staten Island Mall owner-operator Brookfield Properties did nothing to remove the protestors and have not replied to inquires from this website.

GAY HISTORY: September 19, 1964 - The Little Known First Ever Gay Protest

GAY HISTORY: September 19, 1964 – The First Organized Little Known Gay Protest In NYC Takes Place

 

Many people believe that the first protest against gay discrimination happened in Washington, D.C. and was led by the late, great gay activist Frank Kameny on April 17, 1965.  

Well, they are  wrong.

The first true organized protest against gay discrimination took place in the middle of Manhattan, on September 19, 1964 at the U.S. Army’s Whitehall Induction Center,over the army’s failure to keep gay men’s draft records confidential.  New York City activist Randy Wicker organized it along with Craig Rodwell (known as the Father of Pride), who would go on to open the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore. They were joined by eight other members of the Sexual Freedom League, (six of them straight), and they gathered outside the army’s induction center at 39 Whitehall Street in New York City to protest the armed forces’s anti-gay discrimination and complicity in the MacCarthy era witch-hunts. 

Other marchers included Renai Cafiero,who would go on to become  one of the first openly gay delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention and Nancy Garden and Jeff Poland of the New York League  for Sexual Freedom. Picket signs declared, “Homosexuals died for U.S., Too,” “Love and Let Love,” and “Army Invades Sexual Privacy.”

Let’s give some credit where credit is due and remember these often overlooked and brave people who stood up and spoke out out at a time when very few were willing to do so..

You can see Randy Wicker’s original photos from that event here

Gay History - September 12, 1969: Gay Liberation Front Protests The Village Voice Over Homophobic Advertising Policy

Gay History – September 12, 1969: Gay Liberation Front Protests The Village Voice Over Homophobic Advertising Policy

Even though the Village Voice was the only news outlet in New York City which did extensive coverage of the Stonewall Riots. (The July 3rd. edition featured two front page stories about the riot: “Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square” by Lucian Truscott IV, and Howard Smith’s experience of that night strapped in the Stonewall Inn with the NYPD “From the Inside: Full Moon Over The Stonewall.”) The Voice’s reporting wasn’t above the kind of mocking tone and prejudicial stereotypes that were typical at that time. Truscott wrote of “the forces of faggotry,” the “blatant queens” with “limped wrists and primed hair” battling police, which he described as “the city’s finest.” Also in the July 10 issue of the Voice writer Walter Troy Spencer called the riot “the Great Faggot Rebellion.”

A little over two months after the riot the newly formed Gay Liberation Front tried to place two small ads in  Voice. One ad in the free Bulletin Board section on page two was to publicize the GLF’s community dances, and the other one, a paid ad for the classified section, was to announced the forthcoming publication of the GLF’s new newspaper, Come Out! The second ad was supposed to have the headline “Gay Power to Gay People,” but Voice staff deleted the lead-in without notifying the GLF.  They also changed the Bulletin Board ad to read “Homophile Dance” instead of Gay Community Dance.”

As you can imagine this did not sit well with the GLF. But they decided to give it another try and placed another ad to advertise the Gay Community Dance planned for September 5th. The ad was accepted, but the person who placed the ad received a phone call from someone at the Voice the next day to say that it was Voice policy to refuse to print obscene words in classified ads and that the using the the word “gay”was obscene — even though the Voice routinely accepted, without question, ads for apartments from landlords specifying “no gays.” 

The Gay Liberation Front struck back with a protest at the Village Voice on Friday, September 12th. demanding a meeting with publisher Ed Fancher. The protest went on all day as Fancher stubbornly refused to meet with the group. Later that afternoon, a protester tried to place a classified ad reading, “The Gay Liberation Front sends love to all Gay men and women in the homosexual community.” That ad was rejected. But soon after, Fancher agreed to meet three of the protesters’ representatives.

This is how the premiere issue of GLF’s Come Out! described the meeting:

Once inside and upstairs, the representatives encountered a cry of outrage that GLF has chosen the Village Voice as a target (sooo liberal we are). The suggestion was made that we negotiate the three points in dispute I )changing classified ads without knowledge or consent of purchaser, 2) use of the words “Gay” and “homosexual” in classifieds, and 3) the contemptuous attitude of the Village Voice toward the Gay Community. GLF explained that the two issues involving classified ad policy were not negotiable and that the substance of the paper should be of legitimate concern to a responsible publisher. Ed Fancher replied that the Village Voice exercised no censorship of its articles, and that if a writer wanted to say derogatory things about faggots, he could not in good conscience stop him. Fancher also said that we had no right to tamper with “freedom of the press.”

The GLF accepted with the absolute understanding that Gay Power has the right to return and oppose anything the Village Voice staff chooses to include in the paper. On the Classified Ads policy he conceded completely. He said that not only would the Voice not alter Ads after payment, but that in Classified Ads the words “Gay” and “homosexual” per se were no longer issues. One of the GLF representatives in the upstairs office stepped to the window facing Seventh Avenue and flashed the V for Victory sign to the waiting crowd below. WE HAD WON!

Surprisingly (NOT!) the next edition of the Village Voice did not report on the protest at its front door, but the Gay Liberation Front’s small ad did appear in that issue’s Bulletin Board unedited.

A protester outside the Village Voice, 1969
Gay History vs. Mindhunters - Paul Bateson: What's Right, What's Wrong and What Was Left Out

Gay History vs. Mindhunter – The Murder of Addison Verrill by Paul Bateson (1979): What’s Right, What’s Wrong and What You Don’t Know.

In season 2 of Mindhunter, Dr. Wendy Carr and Agent Smith team up to visit Paul Bateson, a gay man, former medical radiographer and convicted murderer .

In 1979 Bateson was convicted of killing journalist Addison Verrill — he was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison and was also suspected of a string of other gruesome gay murders.

At this time in the mid ’70’s, Greenwich Village was experiencing a string of murders of gay men. A number of bodies of unidentified victims had been discovered, dismembered and placed in bags that were tossed into the Hudson River. These murders were rarely reported on.

On September 14, 1977, Addison Verrill, a reporter who covered the film industry for Variety, was found dead in his Horatio Street apartment. He had been beaten and stabbed; there were some signs of a struggle. However, nothing of value had been taken. Police believed that if the killer’s motive had been robbery, he might have been looking for cash or jewelry since those could be taken quickly.

There was no evidence of forced entry. Verrill had likely let his killer in to the apartment; there were several empty beer cans and half-full liquor glasses at the scene. Gay activist and journalist Arthur Bell, a friend of Verrill’s, wrote an article about the case in The Village Voice setting it against the larger issue of how murders of gay men, several of which occurred yearly in the Village, were rarely taken seriously by police or reported on in the media since they were seen as the results of sexual encounters gone wrong. The police, Bell wrote, had learned that Verrill had been at the Mineshaft, a popular leather bar, until 6 a.m., talking to many other patrons.

According to Bell, Verrill’s friends said that while he was not into hardcore leather scene that was abundant at the Mineshaft, but he did like the “attitudes” of many of the customers. He was considered a regular, not only at the Mineshaft but also the Anvil, His presence was seen as making those bars popular. (In the Mindhunters episode only The Anvil was mentioned. The Anvil what more of a mixed club and after-hours establishment, not distinctly a hard core leather club.).

Eight days after the killing someone called Bell claiming to be the killer, apparently to correct his assumption in his article that the killer was a psychopath who targeted gays. “I like your story and I like your writing”, the caller told him, “but I’m not a psychopath”.

The caller (Bateson) recounted the events of the night. “I’m gay and I needed money and I’m an alcoholic”, he said. After three months of sobriety, he claimed, he had gone out to Badlands, a Christopher Street bar, in the early hours of September 14 where Verrill, whom he did not know, offered to buy him a beer. That beer became several, with the two doing poppers and cocaine in addition to the drinks.

At 3 a.m. (legit bars in NYC closed at 4 a.m.) they went to the infamous Mineshaft, where they continued to party. The caller told Bell he was impressed by how popular his companion was. “I didn’t realize he was such a superstar, and I wanted to go home with him”. After two hours, they took a taxi to Verrill’s 17th-floor studio where they drank, had sex, and did more drugs until 7:30 a.m. 

The caller said that after he realized that was as far as Verrill had wanted the relationship to go. “I decided to do something I’d never done before. I needed money and I hated the rejection”. After hitting Verrill in the head with a heavy frying pan from his kitchen, the caller then said he stabbed the journalist with a knife in the chest. He took his cash from wallet ($57) Verrill’s Master Charge card, passport, and some clothes. He used the money to buy liquor and was consequently drunk for the entire next day. Bell confirmed with another source that the man had been seen at a popular bathhouse that night.

Bell contacted police about the call. The caller had known about the stolen credit card, a detail police had not made public, and described a white substance found on the floor of Verrill’s apartment as Crisco, Police had not had not been able to identify it and had also not made the information public. (Also mentioned in MH)

At 11 p.m. Bell received another call. It was not the original caller but a man who identified himself as “Mitch”. He told Bell the killer was Paul Bateson, whom he had gotten to know while the two were drying in detox out at St. Vincent’s Hospital a few months earlier he said Bateson was an unemployed X-ray technician and that he had called him earlier and confessed to the crime.

The NYPD went to Bateson’s at his East 12th Street apartment, where he was found extremely drunk and when he was asked if he knew why he was being arrested, he pointed to an open copy of the Voice with Bell’s article and indicated that that was probably why.

Bateson was charged with second-degree murder and detained while awaiting trial.

During the preliminary trial hearings, Bateson claimed that his confession had been given while he was drunk and before police had read him his rights. He also said he was not the person who made the call to Bell. But the judge on the case decided the police upheld Bateson’s constitutional rights throughout the arrest and allowed the confession—along with Bell’s article—to be used in court.

At the time of Bateson’s arrest, police had also been investigating a series of murders of gay men over the previous two years which they believed were committed by the same person due to similarities in the killings’ modus operandi. Six corpses of men had been found, dismembered, in bags floating in the Hudson River. (Known as the “Bag Murders” the “CUPPI Murders” or the “Fag in a Bag Murders”). None of them have ever been identified, but police traced the clothes on them to shops in Greenwich Village that catered to the gay community. So the prosecution attempted to connect Bateson to the unsolved murders of six men.

While being held at Riker’s Island director William Friedkin visited Bateson and with permission from his lawyer. Bateson appeared as a radiological technologist in a scene from the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. There were in no way friends but Friedkin’s interest was piqued. After the meeting Friedkin said that Bateson admitted killing Verrill, although the director then incorrectly stated that Bateson had dismembered the body and thrown the bagged body parts in the river. Bateson also said that the prosecutors were offering him deal whereby if he confessed to the bag murders and some other unsolved killings he would receive a shortened sentence. 

Freidkin would later say that his visit to Bateson inspired him to make his next film, Cruising, which is based off the 1970 Gerald Walker novel about a police officer going undercover in New York City’s gay leather community to solve the slayings of gay men in the (The film sparked massive protests in New York City from the gay community that thought Friedkin’s portrayal of the gay community would be harmful and offensive. Arthur Bell himself wrote in the Village Voice that it was the “the most oppressive, ugly bigoted look at homosexuality ever presented on screen.”)

Justice Morris Goldman sentenced Bateson to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of Addison Verill, five years less than the minimum thge prosecutors had asked for. Finding that the connection to the other murders “too ephemeral” to merit any consideration in sentencing.

Although not convicted for the other six murders NYPD were convinced that Bateson was guilty and in what might be just coincidence the bag murders stopped.  

Bateson served 24 years and 3 months of his sentence and on the day after his 63rd birthday, in August 2003, he was released from Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island. 

After his release what happened to Paul Bateson is unknown. A record in the Social Security Death Index shows that a Paul F. Bateson, with the same birthdate and a Social Security number issued in Pennsylvania, where Bateson was born died on September 15, 2012.

*POSTSCRIPT: In the early 1990’s, New York’s gay community was once again stalked by a serial killer who targeted inebriated men leaving the city’s gay bars late at night. Their bodies, or rather body parts, were found wrapped in garbage bags and dumped at highway rest stops, and along roads outside the city. Dubbed “The Last Call Killer,” the serial killer would not be found by the police for almost a decade.

The killer Richard W. Rogers was arrested and convicted to life in prison. He was 51 years old and would have been 23 years old at the time of the first “Bag Murder” that the NYPD wanted to connect Bateson to.

What would Agents Tench, Holden, Carr and Smith make of that?

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Paul Bateson in “The Exorcist”
MRGAYBAR

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The set of “Cruising”