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26 August 2010

Comments

Nathan James

The locals have been trying to get gays of color off Christopher Street for quite some time now. Chi-Chiz' days are likely numbered, because the NYPD will saturate the area with cops (in addition to the two PATH cops that are always posted at the train entrance next door), and the slightest little thing will result in an arrest. It will happen, not because Chi-Chiz or its patrons do something wrong, but because that's what the city and West Village residents want to happen.

It's sad, because Christopher Street and the Village have been the city's "gayborhood" for over 40 years, and that includes gays and lesbians of color. If Chi-Chiz closes, it will be a sad statement on the politics of "upscale" residents and the LGBT community. I've stopped in at Chi-Chiz many a night, and never once did I see drugs being sold or used, nor have I seen the patrons getting loud or violent. I hope Chi-Chiz stays around for a long while, but I'm not too optimistic. We'll see.

TheRevKev

I am saddened by this direction, too, Nathan.

I remember being able to come in from DC when I was working in NYC and go to KELLER'S and just sit and talk to people who I was meeting for the 1st time; TWO POTATO, where I walked in and found the most fabulous drag superstar performing songs by Miss Natalie Cole and Miss Patti Labelle and they weren't doing obvious songs, but classic gems and then Chi-Chiz and the Hangar to just meet guys and connect so that we weren't hiding out and buried in dark, dank clubs.

Now, it looks like Christopher Street is about condos and not condoms and that's why the kids are back to hooking up online, bareback sex and no social life because NYC is choking the LIFE out of the LIFESTYLE of the Black Gay community!

UGH! See that's why I stay in NJ!

Nathan James

@RevKev: Keller's! I was just talking about that place with friends the other night. Two Potato was another unforgettable Village hangout. I used to love connecting with people there--there's even a Keller's scene in one of my books! Now we're living with this state of affairs. You're right, places like Chi-Chiz, Keller's and Two are more than just local businesses in the Village, they are the places we meet as a community. In Chi-Chiz, the older crowd mixes with the young, and tells the kids our stories. It's our culture, and it's fast slipping away. Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are making sure of that, much to the delight of real-estate speculators and the privileged residents of the West Village. It's like the end of an era.

Queer Black Cinema International Film Festival

I Always had a good time singing Karaoke and cutting up with my man friends@ Chi-Chiz. It's sad that the venue is in jeopardy of closing. If you can, please stay on top of the hearings and attend. Let's have more culture events there like the Ricky Day Photo Exhibit and of course keep the Karaoke...lol. Seriously, this anger me that we as Black folks cannot have anything of our own. Together we can beat this one, if we all do our part to keep it safe and clean from whatever it is cops are looking for. I wish I could go undercover and watch the cops. Gosh, they disgust me. You guys should see if this could be a landmark building. There have to be a way to save this historical place. Like many of non people of color establishments, illegal activity have arose. However, we all should be treated fairly across the board regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. I am not condoning it, however, targeting a group just because they are making some upgrades to the community and does not think Chi-Chiz would fit well, is a joke to me and quit frankly, should be an embarrassment to Bloomberg. Maybe he should have been invited to Ricky's show or attend Karaoke. I'm sure his mind will be at ease the Black folks are not acting up. Anyways, I wish nothing but peace and positive energy for this space.

Angel L. Brown-Ross
Lesbian Supporter
Executive Producer/Director
Queer Black Cinema International Film Festival

SAVE THE DATE: October 14- 17, 2010
The Weekend BEFORE the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Supporting and screening films about the Black LGBT experience since 2006

Drew

The police have locked down the section of Christopher St. where Chi Chiz is. It is unwelcoming due to the unnecessary harassing police presence.

The two restaurants on the corner (one housed in the former Two Potato site) are frequented mostly by what seems to be heterosexuals of European-descent, reflecting the general homogenous demographic of the West Village residents who took over when their upwardly-mobile gay counterparts abandoned this hood for the new gay ghetto of Chelsea (and elsewhere). The activists FIERCE and others have invested a great amount of time criticizing and mobilizing against the community board conservatives who have been trying for years to keep gays of color out of the neighborhood. As other commenters have noted, the Internet has become an option for "socializing," decreasing reliance on physical spaces that historically have been accommodating for those of us who are facing more shutdowns than others.

In the East Village gay bars, there is even sex taking place in plain site, but those venues do not appear to be under attack; we can speculate how much of this discontinuity is based on racist motivations of the powerful residents of the respective neighborhoods. Gentrification has been ruining the city culturally, as others have noted, making it less possible to maintain locations such as Chi Chiz and other institutions. May we find new homes to build when our others are foreclosed.

Andrew McCarthy

Dre

There is no African American social scene in NYC. The little bit that is left is underground. It is pathetic.

Kevin

Looks like I will taking the Megabus to DC. FirePlace Bar here I come.

M.A.

Does anyone have any pictures of Keller's, Two Potato, Chi-chiz or any of the other places from back in the day. Some of us never frequented those establishments and would love to see what they looked like and kind of...wonder. I no longer live in NYC so I can't run down and see Chi-Chiz.

tokunbo

funny you should say that, kevin... have the new york clubs gone away? where does one go out there?

i actually have to head to new york this weekend, and i haven't been there in almost a decade.. are the clubs even still open? it's work-related, so i can't even hang out in philly -- which seems to be coming back in a *big* way.

i see lots of MTA *and* metrocards when people open their wallets to buy drinks every time i'm out in philly. [for the record, i rock an oyster card.]

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