Photo: Chi Chiz Gallery
There are new developments in the ongoing problems with Chi Chiz, the predominately Black gay bar on New York City's Christopher Street recently subjected to several raids and closures. In late August, the New York Police Department's nuisance abatement lawsuit was postponed until November. And in a separate action last week, the New York State Liquor Authority heard testimony from undercover police officers who completed drug buys at the bar, reports Gay City News. The Liquor Authority seeks to revoke the bar’s license, "which
would effectively close the establishment."
"A New York City police department detective said a drug dealer met
an undercover officer at a Starbucks near Seventh Avenue and Grove
Street to make a drug sale, but the dealer insisted they walk
two-and-a-half blocks to finalize the sale in Chi Chiz. “He kept
on arguing with the undercover to go, and the undercover was adamant
about not going there,” Frederic Ortiz said at a September 23 hearing at
the authority’s New York City offices. ... Police arrested two men after the drug sale was completed, one
outside Chi Chiz and a second inside the bar. Neither man was a bar
employee or owner.
Citing the same drug arrests, the city brought a nuisance abatement lawsuit against Chi Chiz in March that sought to close the bar. On August 26, that case was postponed until November because Chi Chiz brought a counter-claim charging the suit was motivated by racial and anti-gay animus. Both actions may be moot. Lynn disclosed at the liquor authority hearing that the Chi Chiz owners are trying to sell the business. A new owner might close the business and reopen under a new name with a different business model.
The NYPD cites four drug sales that police say happened at Chi Chiz between July of 2009 and January of 2010. But the bars owners' and many patrons believe the NYPD and Bloomberg Administration is targeting the bar because local residents resent the club and black/Latino gay youth in the West Village.
In March 2010, Chi Chiz was raided and temporarily shut down by the NYPD. On the night of the raid, owners and witnesses identified an undercover NYPD officer who shouted anti-gay epithets outside the club.