Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pride Roundup, Plus: Did NYPD Fake Complaints Against Eagle?

Pride weekend, while jubilant in New York City, appears to have had a rash of tragic and discouraging incidents taking place across the country.

San Francisco's Pride was marred by a shooting on nearby Market St, resulting in five people wounded.  50 floats had their tires slashed before Chicago's Pride Parade (which carried on after last-minute tire replacements).  A tragic traffic accident occurred at Anchorage's Pride Parade, with the Grand Marshal's own vehicle running over and killing a bystander.  Lastly, the NYPD performed a raid at the New York Eagle, resulting in 6 different violations leveled against the Manhattan gay bar.

While none of these incidents proved enough to completely dampen spirits at individual events, this last piece of news has prompted investigations and questions on the part of the gay media: was the NYPD targeting the Eagle unfairly due to the passage of marriage equality in the Empire State?

Unicorn Booty and Vanishing New York did some sleuthing and they found something disturbing: even though the authorities allege there had been 311 complaints against the establishment, the 311 complaint map published by the city shows not a single allegation of improper behavior on behalf of the bar over the past year.

The Eagle is marked in red.  If there had been complaints, they would have been marked with a yellow circle.

Vanishing New York posits that the raid had nothing to do with Pride, but instead with changing attitudes under Mayor Bloomberg about what businesses are appropriate to run in the area:

"What’s really going on? Was the Eagle raided because it was Pride Weekend? Or because gay marriage just passed in New York?No. It was raided because the city wants to shut it down–because this block is changing fast and the Eagle boys are not what the Bloombergians want here.

"Not only has the extended High Line just opened on this block, butAvalonBay is building their massive Avalon West Chelsea directly across the street from the Eagle, taking 60,000 square feet of space to put in a 700-unit residential development with 'provisions for restaurants' and a 'parking garage for over 140 cars located in the building.' To do so, they have already bulldozed a cluster of industrial businesses long located here.

"What many of those south-facing windows look out on is the roof deck of the Eagle, where men in leather chaps and harnesses cavort. 'Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the High Line,' says Avalon’s ad copy. I don’t think this is what they mean. Do the High Line huggers really want their view to include sweaty, furry leathermen?

"The timing of this raid has nothing to do with Pride or gay marriage, and everything to do with the High Line’s recent arrival on 28th Street and every glittering thing it brings in its wake. Mark my words, the Pride Weekend raid on the Eagle is Phase One of the city’s plan to push this historic bar out of its home and put the kibosh on the Folsom Street East fair in the process."

It's going to be interesting to see how this story unfolds in coming weeks-- is there a war against "naughtier" gay businesses going on in Manhattan?  

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