Tag Archives: NYC

Gay History – September 14, 1989: ACT UP Protests the NYSE, Crashes Trading Floor [Video]

On September 14, 1989, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) led a noon protest of 350 people in front of the New York Stock Exchange, targeting Burroughs Wellcome and other companies that it felt were profiteering from the epidemic by their high pricing of the AIDS drug AZT, which was unaffordable to most people living with HIV.

The demonstration was planned to coincide with those held in San Francisco and London that day.

Separate from the noon rally, ACT UP members Peter Staley, Lee Arsensault, Greg Bordowitz, Scott Robbe, James McGrath, and two other members who served as photographers infiltrated the Stock Exchange that morning. Chaining themselves to the VIP balcony, they dropped fake $100 bills onto the trading floor and disrupted the opening bell for the first time in history. Their miniature foghorns drown out the opening bell, as they unfurled  a banner above the trading floor demanding “SELL WELLCOME” . Their photographs were given to the Associated Press and the story went national.

As a result of these demonstrations, Burroughs Wellcome lowered the price of AZT by 20 percent four days later.

You can see Michelangelo Signorile, Bill Bahlman (holding video camera), and Vincent Gagliostro in the crowd. Seen first in the perp line is Scott Robbe, followed by , Robert Hilferty (RIP). Then you’ll see the late and great Lee Arsenault (with mustache), and Gregg Bordowitz is shown in front of Lee. Unfortunately, the clip ends before we see the last two of our seven-man team: James McGrath and Richard Elovitch. September 14, 1989 — probably the most thrilling day of my life.” – Peter Staley

Lost NYC Gay Bars - The Only Known Video Of The Original Eagles Nest Bar In NYC (1971 - 2000)

Lost NYC Gay Bars – The Only Known Video Of The Original Eagle’s Nest Bar In NYC (1971 – 2000)

Located at 11th. Avenue and 21st. Street, NYC’s The Eagle’s Nest was originally a longshoreman’s bar called the Eagle Open Kitchen from 1931 – 1970 which was then acquired by Jack Modica who turned the rough and tumble pub into a Leather/ Levi bar

With a few coats of black paint and an old beat up motorcycle for decoration, a gay institution was born. “The Eagle” was open 7 days a week including holidays.  And was always the place to go.

Back in those days it’s patrons loved the isolation and the raw masculinity of this dark sexual playground and bar on the West Side Highway.  Cigars, uniforms, poppers, and sex in the bathrooms and backroom were on the menu nightly.

But with the onset of AIDS in the mid – late 80’s, sexual habits were changing and the gay community was reassessing itself. By the 90’s the neighborhood was evolving and the frontier was now being gentrified.  Old warehouses were converted into upscale loft buildings or art galleries. Landlords were not renewing old leases and by the year 2000, Jack Modica chose to retire rather than to reopen The Eagle elsewhere.

And while a new version of called the Eagle NYC was reopened on, October 5, 2001, by different owners at 554 W 28th Street it was never the same. 

The video below taken after hours shortly before it’s closing and is all remains other than the memories of its patrons of the infamous gay leather bar.

Have a story about the original Eagle’s Nest?  Post it below and share the memories.

NYC Gay Nightlife Scion Michael J. Cohen, Arrested For Decades of Sexual Misconduct.

NYC Gay Nightlife Scion Michael J. Cohen, Arrested For Decades of Sexual Misconduct.

New York City gay nightlife entrepreneur Michael J. Cohen is being accused of sexual misconduct by numerous young gay men over the past decades including accusations that he groped or pressured men to have sex or send nude photos, as well as a claim of sexual assault — from nine people who told NBC News about their experiences over the past decade

Via NBC News: Accusers include Charles Battersby, who said Cohen repeatedly groped his genitals and buttocks, without consent, at parties Cohen hosted at Goldbar. The instances began in 2015, when Battersby was 19, he said. – Stephen Carlstrom, who was modeling while attending college, said that in 2017, Cohen offered him pay for attending parties, in exchange for oral sex. Carlstrom said he felt coerced, and he complied, but the job never came through. Several others spoke with NBC under condition of anonymity, but none of the accusers reported the incidents to police. Some of the men were newly out and said they thought such conduct was typical in the community, and others, especially those under 21, said they considered it the price of admission to fashionable parties.

In seven of the nine cases, NBC News talked to witnesses, partners or friends who said the men had told them of the encounters afterward. Three of the nine men provided screenshots of private conversations they had on social media with Cohen in which Cohen repeatedly asked the men to have sex with him or asked for explicit photos, the screenshots show. 

Cohen who has hosted gay parties at glamorous New York nightclubs — including Goldbar, PHD Rooftop Lounge at the Dream Downtown hotel and Fishbowl at the Dream Midtown hotel  could not be reached for comment.

Rare 1969 NYPD Footage of the Gay Liberation Front at Anti-War Demonstration [Video & Text]

August 1969: Newly Formed Gay Liberation Front Holds First Protest at Anti-War Demonstration

On August 2, 1969 just a little over one month after the Stonewall Riots the newly formed Gay Liberation Front took to the streets of Midtown Manhattan and participated in a rally and march to demand the release of political prisoners and members of the Armed Forces who were being held in military stockades. The focus was on the Fort Dix 38 who were 38 prisoners made up of AWOLs, Vietnam war resisters and conscientious objectors who rose up against deplorable and inhumane conditions at the Army Base stockade in New Jersey.

There were three short films that NYPD detectives shot. We have seen these loops and they are silent and last just over nine minutes altogether. The films were digitized by the city’s Department of Records and Information Services, which manages the Municipal Archives.  They were posted on YouTube for a period of time but have been removed.

While the detectives did not name GLF in their report the font on the banners, including the interlocked female/ female and male/ male graphics that were GLF’s symbol, are readily recognizable.

Allen Young, who was working for the Liberation News Service in August 1969, recognized Dan Smith and Ralph Hall, two GLF members, in the film. 

NYC’s Department of Records and Information Services, which manages the Municipal Archives shared the films with Gay City News, archivists said they knew only that the film was shot on August 2, 1969.

While we still have the still shot posted above that shows the GLF symbol on the protest sign we are attempting to locate the videos once again and when they are found they will be reposted for their historical significance.

Gay History: Remembering ROLLERINA: NYC's Fairy Godmother and Fierce LGBT Activist

Gay History: Remembering ROLLERINA: NYC’s Fairy Godmother and Fierce AIDS/LGBT Activist

Rollerina / Roller Arena/ Rollerena Fairy Godmother of NYC came into being on the evening of Saturday, September 16, 1972 by a young man, a stock broker and Vietnam Vet no less from Kentucky put on a gown, a 1950s hat, and a shawl and roller skated up and down Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York City.

 The creator of Rollerina, did not consider himself a drag queen or trans; instead he became the character of a Fairy Godmother of New York City and brought smiles to millions for over 25 years.

Over time, Rollerina added to his outfit: rhinestone glasses, costume jewelry, a small horn, and a magic wand to bless mortals became regular accessories to her character. He skated mostly in the gay neighborhoods, the Easter Parade, Gay Pride marches and in popular disco’s like Studio 54 and was a fierce gay rights activist.

As Rollerina became more well-known within and beyond the LGBT community, people began to request her presence at various events. She had a post office box, business representatives, disco events, postcards, and was featured in many newspaper articles, TV shows and radio talk programs.

In the 1980’s, he devoted herself to ACT-UP and other AIDS organizations. Her presence made a demonstration into an Event.

I have not been able to find any recent information on Rollerina since 2014 when he appeared at a club benefit.

Do you have any memories of or know of what happened to Rollerina?

If so help continue his story by adding to it in the comments below.

Wand, eyeglasses, roller skates, & purse used by Rollerena
The Gayly Grind: LGBT News and Stuff from Around The Web - 7/20/22

The Gayly Grind: LGBT News and Stuff from Around The Web – 7/20/22

First GAY Mayor in Oklahoma forced to resign after threats of violence and death, of course.

The Nintendo Company has announced that it will will recognize people in same-sex relationships, just as they had recognized “traditional marriages” — even when the country of Japan doesn’t

BosGuy tells us about Monkeypox: What you need to know. And YOU DO need to know it!

The OutFront is running an S.O.S Campaign. (Save Our Stories) Check it out. It’s your story to tell.

Matthew Rettenmund of Boy Culture takes on Twitter and it’s latest anti-gay tweet debacle.

Kenneth in the 212 wonders WTF is up with the latest crime wave gripping NYC. Be careful boys!

London’s last Leather Bar Has Fallen. The Randy Report brings us the distressing news. Sir.

Oh Fer Fucks Sake: “Quidditch” Leagues in the USA are rebranding as US Quadball and Major League Quadball to distance themselves from JK Rowling and Harry Potter.

Wednesday’s Vintage Ad: Size even mattered back then.

Gay History – July 15, 1962: New York’s WBAI Radio Broadcasts Talk Show Featuring Eight Gay Men

Early in 1962, WBAI New York’s listener-supported “progressive radio station” which still exists today aired an hour-long special, “The Homosexual In America.” It featured a panel of psychiatrists who described gay people as sick and in need of a cure — a cure that they could provide with just a few hours of therapy. Gay Activist and founder of the “Homosexual League of New York” Randy Wicker was livid, not only at the ignorance of these so-called “experts,” but also because, once again, there was a panel of straight people talking about gay people they didn’t even know.

Wicker went to the WBAI studios and confronted Dick Elman, the station’s public affairs director. “Why do you have these people on that don’t know a damn thing about homosexuality? They don’t live it and breathe it the way I do. … I spend my whole life in gay society.”  Wicker demanded equal time and Elman agreed, provided Wicker found other gay people willing to go on the air as part of a panel.  When plans for the program were announced, the New York Journal-American went ballistic. Jack O’Brian, the paper’s radio-TV columnist, wrote that the station should change its callsign to WSICK for agreeing to air an “arrogant card-carrying swish.”

The broadcast titled “Live and Let Live,” featured Wicker and seven other gay men talking for ninety minutes about what it was like to be gay.  They talked about their difficulties in maintaining careers, the problems of police harassment, and the social responsibility of gays and straights alike. The program’s host guided the programs with questions to the panel. “Is there harassment?” he asked. One panelist described some of the police harassment he had expeirenced, when one officer “roared up, jumped out of the car, grabbed me, and started giving me this big thing about ‘What are you doing here, you know there are a lot of queers around this neighborhood.’ He said, ‘You know, there’s only one thing worse than a queer, and that’s a nigger’.” (Remember this was 1962.)

The New York Times’s  called the program “the most extensive consideration of the subject to be heard on American radio” —  Newsweek called the program “96 minutes of intriguing, if intellectually inconclusive listening.” 

At least one group of listeners launched a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission to challenge the station’s broadcast license. After a lengthy investigation, the FCC unanimously agreed to renew the stations’ licenses. In doing so, the FCC issued a statement which said, in part:

We recognize that as shown by the complaints here, such provocative programming may offend some listeners. But this does not mean that those offended have the right, through the Commission’s licensing power, to rule such programs off the airways. Where this the case, only the wholly inoffensive, the bland, could gain access to the radio microphone or TV camera.

Commissioner Robert E. Lee addressed the specific complaints made about the WBAI broadcast. While he felt that a panel discussion featuring physicians and sociologists might be informative, “a panel discussion of eight homosexuals discussing their experiences and past history does not approach the treatment of a delicate subject one could expect from a responsible broadcaster.” While the FCC stressed that the ruling did not mean that the commission endorsed the broadcasts, it nevertheless was regarded as a landmark decision upholding the broadcaster’s right to determine the kinds of programs that it wishes to air.

NYC Gay Nightclub The Q Hit With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit By Former Partner

NYC Gay Nightclub The Q Hit With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit By Former Partner

The Q, a celebrity-backed gay nightclub which opened in 2021 on Eighth Avenue and 48th street, was supposed to trumpet “inclusiveness,” but in a lawsuit brought by a former fired partner claims that partner Alan Pikus “was vocal in his discriminatory beliefs and was hostile to the club catering to any group other than white young men,” Frank “Frankie” Sharp alleged in the suit which was filed last month in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The suit alleges that Pikus wanted the venue to be “comfortable for white twinks,” or young gay, white men, the suit alleges. He wanted women barred from entry and made a disparaging remark to a potential bar manager, saying, “I don’t need [you] to break my back to hire people just because they’re black or trans.” 

“I was shown the door BECAUSE of my REPEATED attempts to address the problematic behavior and dangerous mismanagement of the Q….All I am seeking in this claim is Justice and I REFUSE to be intimidated,” Former partner Frankie Sharp said on his Facebook page.

Thomas Shanahan, a lawyer for Pikus said, “the allegations of inappropriate, racially insensitive and discriminatory comments, they were taken out of context.”

The Q announced on its Instagram page this week that Pikus was no longer affiliated with it and that it made a $10,000 donation to Destination Tomorrow, a Bronx nonprofit serving the LGBTQ+ community.

Gay History - July 3, 1981: New York Times Publishes "Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals" [Article Included]

Gay History – July 3, 1981: New York Times Publishes “Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals” [Article Included]

The day that changed our lives forever.

 Over 40 years ago today on July 3rd. 1981, The New York Times’s published  it’s first article about AIDS headlined: “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” (“Gay” had yet to be accepted by The Times’s style manual.) The cancer was Kaposi’s sarcoma, and until then it had seldom been seen in otherwise healthy young men.

The Times article written by LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D. is considered by most to have been the first mainstream journalistic mention of what later became to be known as AIDS and would later wipe out nearly an entire generation of gay men.

Living in New York City at the time I remember the day that this article was published.  I was working at The Ninth Circle and was at the downstairs bar with Fred Tree the bartender and a friend named Neil Murphy.  We were reading the article and I remember clear as day none of us were really worrying about it.  Because after all you couldn’t catch cancer. Right?

Neil would become one of the many victims of the plague in the years that followed.

That was over 40 years ago now and over 90 percent of my friends from that time in my life are gone.  But they are and never will be forgotten as they will always with me until the day we meet again.

Over 40+ million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.

There is still no cure.

#NeverForget

 

RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS

Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made.

The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and there is as yet no evidence of contagion. But the doctors who have made the diagnoses, mostly in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, are alerting other physicians who treat large numbers of homosexual men to the problem in an effort to help identify more cases and to reduce the delay in offering chemotherapy treatment.

The sudden appearance of the cancer, called Kaposi’s Sarcoma, has prompted a medical investigation that experts say could have as much scientific as public health importance because of what it may teach about determining the causes of more common types of cancer. First Appears in Spots

Doctors have been taught in the past that the cancer usually appeared first in spots on the legs and that the disease took a slow course of up to 10 years. But these recent cases have shown that it appears in one or more violet-colored spots anywhere on the body. The spots generally do not itch or cause other symptoms, often can be mistaken for bruises, sometimes appear as lumps and can turn brown after a period of time. The cancer often causes swollen lymph glands, and then kills by spreading throughout the body.

Doctors investigating the outbreak believe that many cases have gone undetected because of the rarity of the condition and the difficulty even dermatologists may have in diagnosing it.

In a letter alerting other physicians to the problem, Dr. Alvin E. Friedman-Kien of New York University Medical Center, one of the investigators, described the appearance of the outbreak as ”rather devastating.”

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 79.3 million [55.9–110 million] people have been infected with the HIV virus and 36.3 million [27.2–47.8 million] people have died of HIV.

Gay History – June 4, 1971: Gay Activist Alliance Takes Over the NYC Marriage License Bureau – [Rare Video]

On June 4, 1971 less than two years after the Stonewall uprising, a group of men and women from the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) walked into the New York City Marriage License Bureau carrying coffee urns and boxes of cake to hold an engagement party for two male couples and to protest the “slander” of City Clerk Herman Katz, who had threatened legal action against same-sex “holy unions” being performed — yes, already then, in 1971 — by the Church of the Beloved Disciple, which had a largely gay congregation.

The GAA was the the second major gay-rights group to form after Stonewall, the more organized cousin of the Gay Liberation Front, which fought valiantly in the early 1970’s with goal, as one member later recalled, of “writing the revolution into law.”

Not known to many there is actual video footage of the planning for the Marriage Bureau takeover and protest or “ZAP” as they were called, and of the action itself, on YouTube.  

There are three videos, each about 10 minutes in length. The first opens with an interview Wicker conducted with the church’s pastor about the controversy over whether or not the church was performing illegal marriages — as opposed to protected religious ceremonies — and thus violating the law. The rest of it consists mainly of a Gay Activists Alliance planning meeting for the action, with a lengthy speech by Mark Rubin, who lays out the protest’s agenda and describes himself as anxious to do what he’s about to do.

The second video shows the GAA members invade the Marriage Bureau office, set up their coffee urns, and offer the staff cake.

“We’re having a wedding reception for gay people in room 265 …. You’re all invited to come,” activist Arthur Evans, who is the main speaker in the video, says to people down the hall.

“Our rights as gay people have been slandered by a public official,” Evans says to those who tell him he has no right to be there.

Eventually the group enters Katz’s office and shouts, “Bigot! Bigot! Bigot!”

The third video shows the party part of the engagement party, as activist Peter Fisher sings songs with lyrics modified to make them gay-rights protest songs. “We waited too damn long for our rights,” he sings to the tune of the gospel song “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

So watch the video below and take a step back in time to when activism was real and experience our gay and lesbian forefathers fighting for the rights that we have today.  But may not have for very much longer unless we start fighting again.