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GREENWICH VILLAGE:
A GAY HISTORY
CHRISTOPHER STREET WEST STREET FOURTEENTH STREET ASSORTED LOCATIONS MORE ASSORTED LOCATIONS
STONEWALL INN KELLER'S THE ANVIL THE COMMUNITY CENTER THE MINESHAFT
UNCLE PAUL'S THE RAMROD THE TOILET COCKRING HOTEL CHRISTOPHER THE SNAKE PIT
STEWART'S CAFETERIA PETER RABBITS THE LOCKERROOM CLYDE'S INTERNATIONAL STUD
BOOTS AND SADDLES 12 WEST/ RIVERCLUB J'S
THE HANGOUT
PFAFF'S TAVERN SNEAKERS
DANNY'S BAR ALEX IN WONDERLAND/ THE AS*TRICK THE HELLFIRE
THE MANHOLE
LE JARDIN THE LIMELIGHT

HAVE YOU EVER WALKED AROUND GREENWICH VILLAGE

WONDERING WERE THIS BAR OR THAT BAR WAS????

Greenwich Village Map

STARTING AT THE RED CROSS ON THE MAP, WHICH IS SHERIDAN SQUARE, YOU CAN NOW TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR OF HISTORIC GAY GREENWICH VILLAGE



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Stonewall Inn THE STONEWALL INN, 51-53 CHRISTOPHER STREET (IN SHERIDAN SQUARE AT SEVENTH AVENUE SOUTH). These two buildings erected in the 1840's as stables, were combined in the 1920's into one two story building. In 1969 (the year of the infamous Stonewall riots) it was the most popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. In 1966, this space which had previously been a car garage, was converted into a bar/nightclub. All without any major expense. Everything was painted black, including the windows. The first room had a long bar and large dancefloor. The second room (much smaller) was darker and much more cruisy, with men standing around checking each other out. ****It was run by the mob, as a private club. On entering the club you had to fill out a sheet of paper with your name, address, and age that was kept in a box at the front door. There was no cover during the week, but in order to keep out "the riffraff"" there was a small cover charge on the weekends. Dancing nightly on the front bar were groups of scrawny go-go boys. ****On the night of June 27th 1969 (a Friday) Deputy Inspector, Seymour Pine and seven other officers from the Public Morals Section of the First Division of the New York City Police Department, entered the club, and closed it for selling liquor without a license. There was a skuffle but the riot actually occured on Saturday, the following night. ****In the early eighties it was a wood furniture/craft store, and bagel shop. In the late eighties it reopened again as the Stonewall Inn, and is still very popular. In 1997 they remodeled and opened a very sleak dance floor upstairs. And more recently have opened a restaurant around the corner on 7th Avenue.
Want to read the NY Daily News Article (July 6, 1969) about the Stonewall Riots?

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Corner Gay Street and Christopher Street THE SNAKE PIT, 211 WEST 10TH STREET, (BETWEEN BLEEKER AND WEST 4TH STREET). In what is now a bricked up brownstone basement, was in 1970 an afterhours club called The Snake Pit. Less than a year after the Stonewall riots, in March of 1970, the police raided and arrested all of the customers (over 150) and the few bar employees and took them to the Sixth Precinct (further down 10th Street). One of the arrested patrons was a young Argentine national named Diego Vinales. Once at the station house he panicked and tried to escape by jumping from a second floor window, and landed on the six spiked prongs of a wrought-iron fence. The fence had to be cut, and he and the fence were taken to St. Vincents Hospital, where a candlelight vigil soon began. ****Protesters, with placards and flyers marched on the station house demanding retribution for what had happened to Diego. Word had spread, saying that he had been pushed. The protesters took out their anger in front of the station house on the police themselves, and by denting some cars. Diego was released from St. Vincents a few days later.

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STEWART'S CAFETERIA, 89 CHRISTOPHER STREET,(CORNER OF CHRISTOPHER AND SEVENTH AVENUE SOUTH, IN SHERIDAN SQUARE). Now it's a GNC, but in the 1920's it was Stewart's Cafeteria, a very popular restaurant with large windows to watch the boys walk by. It seemed as if everyone that was part of gay society ate here. You could get a whole meal and a view for as little as .75 cents. In the 70's upstairs was the busiest gay gym in the village, The Village Gym. While cruising down Christopher Street you could see pumped up men doing curls and jumping rope. In the summer when the windows were open the whole block echoed with the grunts and groans of the guys straining to press heavy weights. The gym has now become a women only gym.

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KELLER'S, 384 WEST STREET, (BETWEEN CHRISTOPHER AND BARROW). This building "The Keller Hotel," built in 1898, was a hotel and boarding house that catered to the seamen and dockworkers that worked on the piers across the street. Originally, the bar opened as a straight bar, but in the 50's it became gay, and was then one of the first leather bars in the city. When I came out (in the late '70's) it had one of the best juke boxes in the city, filled with music that would become known as disco. Keller's Bar closed in 1998.


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THE RAMROD, 394 WEST STREET, (BETWEEN CHARLES AND WEST 10TH STREETS). Constructed in the 1850's this building (actually two, that were attached) housed S.J. Seely & Co., a lime dealer, and C. August, (on the corner) a porter house, and private residence. In the late 70's it was one of the most popular leather bars in New York. Attracting a large motorcycle clientele, West Street always had a plethora of bikes parked out front. The doorman, Rico, had a long black bushy beard, and an ever present black cowboy hat, also he wore on his hand a glove with sharp stainless steel blades attached to it, (sort of a precurser to Freddie Kruger). The bar, and Rico could be very intimidating, if you were new, or "Brown" as the uninitiated were called...refering to the brown leather they wore.

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Image: Disco (Pub. 1978) THE ANVIL, 500 WEST 14TH STREET, (SOUTHWEST CORNER OF TENTH AVENUE). Built in 1908 by the Conner Brothers, this building was originally known as "The Strand Hotel." The three-story hotel catered to sailors, and later on to truckers. In the '20's The ground floor contained storefronts. In the late 70's early 80's this pizza-slice shaped building was the highlife of underground gay life. Opened in the Fall of 1974. The main floor disco/bar/perfomance area had everything going on at once. There were drag perfomers such as Candy Stevens that would perform bizarre acts with a five foot snake while fire-eating. Other drag performers were "The Famous Yuba" who was one of the first performers there and who stayed until the end. Loretta Fox, Dana Terrell, "The Long Legged Lady of The Night..."Arien West, Diana del Rio, The Amazing Electrifying Grace, Brandon Forte, and the MC was Chico Starr. Few are left today. AIDS snuffed out many of these stars, including Candy Stevens. Also Roy, the fan-dancer, and the naked go-go boys dancing, (and twirling from ropes suspended from above the bar - occasionally knocking over the errant cocktail,) made The Anvil the premiere after-hours venue. The drag shows featured intermissions of fisting and sex scenes on stage. All this while downstairs in dark cavernous underground backrooms hundreds of men would meet, greet, and "do the deed." Then return upstairs to continue dancing until 11am. It closed in 1986 with the city crack down on unsafe sex. It is now "The Liberty Inn Motel." (Thanks to - Brian for additional information)

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Huzbears: the site for and about Bear Couples

TIMES SQUARE: a gay history

THE MINESHAFT, 835 WASHINGTON STREET, (NORTH EAST CORNER OF LITTLE WEST 12TH). The building constructed in 1927 as an ordinary business office, would become the most incredible sex-palace in the '70's. Opened in October 1976 and closed in 1985. Yes, this pink building was the Mineshaft. The most infamous sex club there ever was. It wasn't always pink though. But it was always greasy. The building itself started out as a meat packing plant (afterall, we are in the meat packing district). Upstairs, the front room featured a pool table and a bar, and a clothes check. A backroom, with slings, glory-holes, and a little stage area. Downstairs, were the "tubs;" huge tubs filled with urine soaked men, gladly receiving more.

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Pieces Bar UNCLE PAUL'S, 8 CHRISTOPHER STREET, (BETWEEN SIXTH AVENUE AND SEVENTH AVENUE SOUTH). In what now is Piece's Bar, in the 70's it was a notorious hustler/chicken pick-up joint. It usually had very old men purchasing for the evening, kids that couldn't have been older than 14 of 15. ****In the 80's for a short time it was a very chic bar/restaurant called, "Pharaoh's" And as you can guess it had an Egyptian themed decor, featuring two huge theatrical gilt mummy's. All of the bartenders and waitstaff wore gold lame sarongs. The food though was continental.

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THE TOILET, 400 WEST 14TH STREET, (14TH STREET AND THE CORNER OF NINTH AVENUE). This structure originally known as "The Kelly Building & Warehouses," was built in 1886. Such an innocuous name for a building that would one day be known as, "The Toilet." Yes that really was the name, and oh boy was it an ever fitting name; what a toilet it was. You name it, and they were doing it there. Of course this was the wild 70's, (just slightly before the infamous Mineshaft) they were packing them in this dark and WET place. I stress wet because, well, it was truely a toilet. Lot's of water sports here. In order to enter The Toilet, one had to ride in a really creepy, dark, unmarked elavator that's door was entered directly from the street itself.

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Image: Disco (Pub. 1978) THE COCKRING/THE HOTEL CHRISTOPHER, 180 CHRISTOPHER STREET, (AT WEST STREET, THE SOUTH/EAST CORNER). In 1858 this building was constructed as, "The Great Eastern Hotel," and was located directly across the street from the ferry wharf. Today it's The Baily House, a hospice for people with AIDS, but in the '70's the ground floor of this building was The Cockring, an after hours bar/disco. Dark, cruisy, and always hot, Anyone that was anyone in the gay village came here; though not everyone admitted it. The square dancefloor in the front corner featured a small, an almost unnoticable step-up that to the uniniated was frought with danger. (I know from experience.) At one point the club/bar was known as Christopher's End. Upstairs was The Hotel Christopher, that had to be one of the sleaziest hotels in 1970's New York. You could rent out a tiny, roach infested, greasy room by the hour. (Again, I know from experience.) ***In 1982 the building was converted into a posh hotel called, The River Hotel. Atop it was a chic restaurant, The Grand Corniche, featuring panoramic Hudson views and a dramatic circular stairway. Unfortunately, the proposed West Side Highway didn't get government funding, and the backing that was expected to change the waterfront. This block remained pretty dismal, despite the views of the river, tourists didn't want to stay in a grimy, crime ridden block. Finally, The Bailey Holt House arrived to take over the building, just as the neighborhood started to improve. The Bailey Holt House, houses, and serves a diverse cross section of people living with AIDS.

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PETER RABBITS, 396-397 WEST STREET, (WEST STREET AT 10TH STREET). This 1904 waterfront hotel would become Peter Rabbit's in the 70's, and was popular with young black gays. Peter Rabbit's was famous for tea-dances on Sundays. The music was loud, fast, and conducive to dancing. Many of the clientele would arrive after cruising the abandoned piers across the West Side Highway.

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THE LOCKERROOM/STABLE, 400 WEST 14TH STREET,(AT NINTH AVE, SOUTH/WEST CORNER). In what had been a straight bar for many years, in the early 80's it was converted into the first gay country/western bar in the city. They featured line dancing, and played only country western music. It had a devoted following, but not enough to enable it to survive. It became "The Lockerroom," an after hours, BYOB, place with a damp cellar as a back room. On weekends this place was packed, with mostly hot leather and Levi's/leather men having sex until 8am when they closed for the evening.

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Manatus Restaurant CLYDE'S, 340 BLEEKER STREET, (BETWEEN CHRISTOPHER AND WEST 10TH). What today is Manatus Restaurant, was in the '70's Clyde's Bar/Restaurant, it was the place where "everyone" went for brunch on Sunday's following a late night cruising the leather bars. I don't ever remember anyone saying how good the food was, though we all agreed that the Bloody Mary's were poured heavy, and that they enabled us to recover in order to go onto tea-dance, or another round of cruising in the crowd that thronged on the corner infront of Badlands.


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THE INTERNATIONAL STUD, 117 PERRY STREET, (AT THE CORNER OF GREENWICH STREET), In what is now the Caribe Restaurant, that has a sign out front that says,"C'mon in and have a bite." Opened in early 1969, The Stud, as the regulars called it, was the most notorious back room bar at the time. Anyone that was there will tell you that it had the hottest backroom, with the hottest men, every night of the week. Consiting of two rooms, a regular bar set-up occupied one. Entrance to the other room required leather or denim attire. The bar catered to a "butch" crowd.

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Boots and Saddles Bar Booze and Sadness Card BOOTS AND SADDLES BAR, 76 CHRISTOPHER STREET, (AT SEVENTH AVENUE SOUTH). This tiny bar seems to have been here since god was born. Today it attracts an ecclectic crowd, but in the 70's (when the village was THE place to be on a Saturday night) the hottest men in NY always stoppped in for their first drink of the night. Being the first bar on the strip. It is also known as "Bra's and Girdles" or "Booze and Sadness" depending on your outlook.

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Image: Disco (Pub. 1978) Site of RiverClub/12 West Today 12WEST/THE RIVERCLUB, 493 WEST STREET, (BETWEEN 12TH AND JANE STREETS). In what had originally been a wholesale flower warehouse, became in the late 70's became THE disco to go to. Within weeks of it opening there were lines down the block and around the corner, of people waiting to get in. 12WEST, had all the great DJ's of the era, i.e. Jim Burgess, Jim Evangelista (their final DJ), Tom Savarese, Alan Dodd, and Robbie Leslie. Also DJ Jimmy Stuard, who was killed in the fire at the Everard Baths (thanks to Bob Furtney for the Jimmy Stuard information). It was only a juice bar but that didn't matter, as this was the wild '70's, one didn't need alcohol to get one's buzz. In 1982, the Welcome to 12 West building was taken over as The RiverClub. Owned by Sam Haddad, and Steven Cohn (who was known for his notorious "Steam" bath t-dances at The Underground Disco. Only open for two years RiverClub's devoted following hung on every Friday and Saturday night dancing, drinking and having sex in the top floor backroom, until 11 or so in the morning. It featured such DJ's as Howard Merritt, Lance Wise, Shuan Buchanan and Sharon White. In 1985 the building was torn down. I worked here for two years, and have many great memories of the space. An 11-story building of 9 upscale loft apartments has been constructed on this site. Theuilding.

A former 12 West member has contacted me and has been working on a 12 West tribute page. He is trying to contact anyone that was associated with the original 12 West. Or if you have any 12 West stories to relate, or images/drawings that would be of help. Please help him out. You can contact him through his 12 West Memories Page.

Also there are plans for a 12 West reunion in the future. Watch this space for updates.

(Thanks to Robbie Leslie for corrections)

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Downstairs New York Jacks Logo J'S/THE HANGOUT, 675 HUDSON STREET,(AT FOURTEENTH STREET). In 1849 when this building was put up, it housed The Herring Lock and Safe Factory. What looks like one solid building, is in actuality several interconnected structures. In the late 60's this bar was known as The Triangle, it's jukebox had country western music, and attracted a leather/western crowd in their late thirties and older. It was known as a "pig-palour" a place where anonymous sex often occurred. The Triangle and numerous other "pig-palours" were closed in a massive raid on July 19th, 1971. J's opened in 1977, and it soon became a very popular sex-bar. There was a huge well-lit backroom, that seemed to be busy everynight of the week. In the 70's and until 1987 it was a regular liquor bar that closed at 4am, like all other NYC bars. In '87, after the State Liquor Authority (SLA) revoked the liquor license, J's became J's Hangout, an afterhours, BYOB club that stayed open until 8am. In 1988 I began working here and I worked here until 1993. Before being shut down by the City's Health Department (unsafe sex) August 5th 2002 J's Hangout, once again changed it's image. You could no longer bring your own alcohol, and they had converted it into a dance space. In the days before it was closed it was getting very busy again. Also, they had caverns (see pic above left) downstairs for (safe) sex, i.e. JO. On Mondays and Thursdays The New York Jacks (a jerk-off group) had it's crowded parties here on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Also of note this building has been used in many movies. In the 1987 hit "Fatal Attraction" Glenn Close's character, "Alex Forrester" lived in an apartment on the 9th Avenue side. And recently in the 2002 movie, "The Hours," Ed Harris's character "Richard" had a loft on the fifth floor - note THE plot important fifth floor window at the corner point of the building.

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