Tuesday, May 27, 2008

History of Gay Bars in New York City

History of Gay Bars in New York City is a remarkable blog that does just what is says. There is some great material - police raids, mafia connections, reflections on differences between Italian and Jewish gay cultures. Nothing's been posted since December last year, so hope this project hasn't ground to a halt.

In view of my earlier post on Holland Park in the 1930s, I was struck by a New York Times report of a February 1923 raid in Greenwich Village:

Village Raid Nets 4 Women and 9 Men: Detectives Thought They Had Five Females, but Misjudged One Person by Clothing

The police continue to pay special attention to Greenwich Village. Every tearoom and cabaret in the village was visited yesterday morning by Deputy Inspector Joseph A. Howard and Captain Edward J. Dempsey of the Charles Street Station, and a party of ten detectives. Detectives Joseph Massie and Dewey Hughes of the Special Service Squad were at the Black Parrot Tea Shoppe Hobo-Hemia, 46 Charles Street, to witness what they had been informed would be a “circus.” They arrested what they thought were five women and eight men. It developed later, however, that one of the “women” was a man, Harry Bernhammer, 21 years old, living at 36 Hackensack Avenue, West Hoboken, N.J. He is familiaryly known in the Village as “Ruby,” according to the police. The charge against him is disorderly conduct for giving what the police termed an indecent dance (NY Times 5 February 1923)

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