The 2014 Grammy Awards Show came and went. Considering the last twelve months in marriage equality drama, the awards show might have been a celebration of the victory in the Supreme Court for gay marriage. The show had the big send off number of "Same Love" by a white rapper, Macklemore, with a special appearance by desperate to be relevant Madonna and former hard, fat rapper turned bad comedy star/daytime talk show host Queen Latifah officiating a mass gay wedding for over thirty couples. Old traveling church acts might call it a tent show. This fit squarely into my prior post of the media only portraying gays in specific niches that make everything seem dandy. As counterprogramming to the gay cathedral performance, let us review another side of gay male tastes.
If the pent up demand for gay marriage has only yielded 70,000 married gay couples, then maybe marriage is low on the priority list. Gays are portrayed as always wanting to get married just like straights, but even surveys showing roughly 50% of gay men would want to get married do not bear out as only 40% of gay marriages are male-male. Factor in the gay male to lesbian population skew of 2-1, and gay men might not be motivated to marry. They have other motivations. This is not about bathhouses. This is not directly about AIDS. We just want to celebrate diversity and different cultures with this post. This is about the history of gay male nightlife of New York City like in the movie "Cruising" (no lesbians since they rarely exist for liberal propaganda).
Pardon the '90s web design but the site is old. I am surprised it has not been memory holed by the gay mafia. What do we have for history and activities at these establishments? Pure Quotes from the site.
The Anvil - 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.
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
Uncle Paul's - 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.
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.
The Cockring/Christopher's End - 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.
The Locker Room/Stable - 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.
The International Stud - 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.
J's/The Hangout - 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.
I am not disparaging the businesses, just recording their existence so that people will know that they were there. Shining a light on the oppressed. Kind of like the gay dance club anthem "Break These Chains of Love", listing these clubs documents that fun was had before HIV-AIDS destroyed that era of gay culture. That is just in Greenwich Village. I won't spend more time listing the oddities of Chelsea and pre-Giuliani Times Square; you can check them yourself. Straights did have Plato's Retreat, but not many establishments really springing to mind like this for straights. I will give the gays credit for creative names, and I do wonder how blatant the anonymous sex at a place had to be to be called a pig-palour (sic?) vs. a regular gay club.
New York state has seen under 10,000 gay male marriages since government approval passed. Do you want to wager on fewer than 10,000 gay men going to these establishments in the same time frame? I bet there are more than 10,000 gay guys at these places a night. I am willing to bet more gay men hit these clubs up on one weekend than have married in America so far and for the next few years in aggregate. Television tells me the accurate reflection is two, young and hot gay men just dying to get married. Seems like two, young and hot gay guys going to a leather bar for watersports is closer to reality. Same love.