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Post-gay society: gay communities on the decline


Rick Munroe
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This story is no surprise to me. My neighborhood used to be a so-called "gay ghetto" but we're the minority now. I think progress is great, but it's kind of sad to lose all of the gay meeting places we used to have. In Chelsea, we've lost them all: Different Light bookstore, 18th & 8th and Food Bar restaurants, Big Cup coffee shop. I think the only gay establishments left are The Dish restaurant and the buddy-booth porn shops (which aren't actually "gay"). But there's still my apartment! :p

 

The story that triggered the post: http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2008/06/11/72167283

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This story is no surprise to me. My neighborhood used to be a so-called "gay ghetto" but we're the minority now. I think progress is great, but it's kind of sad to lose all of the gay meeting places we used to have. In Chelsea, we've lost them all: Different Light bookstore, 18th & 8th and Food Bar restaurants, Big Cup coffee shop. I think the only gay establishments left are The Dish restaurant and the buddy-booth porn shops (which aren't actually "gay"). But there's still my apartment! :p

 

The story that triggered the post: http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2008/06/11/72167283

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It's true. The Castro for example, is still "gay" in the way that Disneyland is "The Happiest Place on Earth". In other words, a tourist phenomenon. My neighborhood across the bay in Oakland has become full of gay couples, however. But you'd never peg the area as gay. It's just becoming more gentrified. Equality has it's price, and that is assimilation.

 

La Trix

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It's true. The Castro for example, is still "gay" in the way that Disneyland is "The Happiest Place on Earth". In other words, a tourist phenomenon. My neighborhood across the bay in Oakland has become full of gay couples, however. But you'd never peg the area as gay. It's just becoming more gentrified. Equality has it's price, and that is assimilation.

 

La Trix

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This must be an American phenomenom because here in Canada gay communities are thriving, in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Montreal's Gay Village, which I know most intimately, has been going for over thirty years. In the last ten, it has undergone gentrification as real estate values and the overall economy improved. The edginess has mellowed somewhat but there are still tons of gay-owned enterprises that cater primarily to gay and gay-friendly clientele.

 

In fact, the Gay Village's appeal as a tourist destination is actively promoted by the city. The downside, if there is one, is that as a resident, I sometimes feel that on holiday occasions, the place is somewhat overrun with tourists and gawkers with their baby strollers. I tend to prefer the quieter periods when the Village is more itself.

 

Of course, things could change. We are all aging and in ten years or so some of us will be looking for retirement living options. Currently, there is a dearth of such places for gay men in and around the Village. Tons of them are being built for straights all over the suburbs in Montreal but they will not appeal to a generation of gay men used to having their own urban environment to live and play in.

 

It will be interesting to see what the Village looks like when we are all in walkers or those mobile chairs! :7

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This must be an American phenomenom because here in Canada gay communities are thriving, in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Montreal's Gay Village, which I know most intimately, has been going for over thirty years. In the last ten, it has undergone gentrification as real estate values and the overall economy improved. The edginess has mellowed somewhat but there are still tons of gay-owned enterprises that cater primarily to gay and gay-friendly clientele.

 

In fact, the Gay Village's appeal as a tourist destination is actively promoted by the city. The downside, if there is one, is that as a resident, I sometimes feel that on holiday occasions, the place is somewhat overrun with tourists and gawkers with their baby strollers. I tend to prefer the quieter periods when the Village is more itself.

 

Of course, things could change. We are all aging and in ten years or so some of us will be looking for retirement living options. Currently, there is a dearth of such places for gay men in and around the Village. Tons of them are being built for straights all over the suburbs in Montreal but they will not appeal to a generation of gay men used to having their own urban environment to live and play in.

 

It will be interesting to see what the Village looks like when we are all in walkers or those mobile chairs! :7

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Let's see, Rick, I think you forgot to mention Rainbow & Triangles bookstore/card shop, all the clothing stores, Viceroy, East of Eighth, and a lot of other gay-friendly establishments along the boulevard, not to mention 10+ bars! Still quite a gay mecca but nevertheless we could do without the nannies with double-strollers!

 

Alas, it's become a new phenomenon that young straight couples are choosing to raise their families in the city and are not fleeing to the burbs like their ancestors did. Most city neighborhoods are changing. Look at the Upper East Side. Once a gay mecca, too, filled with wonderful gay owned restaurants and bars, it's now almost deserted by gays. Someday, HK, too, will fall victim to the gentrification. I imagine someday outer-borough neighborhoods will become the next gay-centric places to move to.

 

ED

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Let's see, Rick, I think you forgot to mention Rainbow & Triangles bookstore/card shop, all the clothing stores, Viceroy, East of Eighth, and a lot of other gay-friendly establishments along the boulevard, not to mention 10+ bars! Still quite a gay mecca but nevertheless we could do without the nannies with double-strollers!

 

Alas, it's become a new phenomenon that young straight couples are choosing to raise their families in the city and are not fleeing to the burbs like their ancestors did. Most city neighborhoods are changing. Look at the Upper East Side. Once a gay mecca, too, filled with wonderful gay owned restaurants and bars, it's now almost deserted by gays. Someday, HK, too, will fall victim to the gentrification. I imagine someday outer-borough neighborhoods will become the next gay-centric places to move to.

 

ED

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>Let's see, Rick, I think you forgot to mention Rainbow &

>Triangles bookstore/card shop, all the clothing stores,

>Viceroy, East of Eighth, and a lot of other gay-friendly

>establishments along the boulevard, not to mention 10+ bars!

 

Duh...I guess I was only selfishly thinking of the establishments I frequented (I don't shop at the clothing stores or card stores or hang out at the bars). Oh, I forgot we also just lost Brite Food Shop and Roger & Dave card shop, but luckily, corporate chain restaurants moved right in!

 

>Still quite a gay mecca but nevertheless we could do without

>the nannies with double-strollers!

 

I don't mind the nannies so much as the cell-phone-shrieking college girls. :o

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>Let's see, Rick, I think you forgot to mention Rainbow &

>Triangles bookstore/card shop, all the clothing stores,

>Viceroy, East of Eighth, and a lot of other gay-friendly

>establishments along the boulevard, not to mention 10+ bars!

 

Duh...I guess I was only selfishly thinking of the establishments I frequented (I don't shop at the clothing stores or card stores or hang out at the bars). Oh, I forgot we also just lost Brite Food Shop and Roger & Dave card shop, but luckily, corporate chain restaurants moved right in!

 

>Still quite a gay mecca but nevertheless we could do without

>the nannies with double-strollers!

 

I don't mind the nannies so much as the cell-phone-shrieking college girls. :o

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I just mentioned this a couple of weeks ago about how the face of Chelsea has changed. I moved from NYC 8 years ago and I'm so sad when places that I associate my past with are no longer there. When 18th & 8th closed a couple of years ago it was such a blow. It seems like every corner in Chelsea has either a drug store or bank now. In my opinion, most of the character of the neighborhood is gone.

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I just mentioned this a couple of weeks ago about how the face of Chelsea has changed. I moved from NYC 8 years ago and I'm so sad when places that I associate my past with are no longer there. When 18th & 8th closed a couple of years ago it was such a blow. It seems like every corner in Chelsea has either a drug store or bank now. In my opinion, most of the character of the neighborhood is gone.

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PLAINFIELD, NEW JERSEY= Late 70's - 80's Historical Society formed (Gay Group) and rehabilitated a large number of Victorian Mansions. THIS turned that area of the city around. Late 80's - 90's (Post AIDS) went from GUPPIE to YUPPIE. NOW is returning to GAY/LESBIAN. The Pendulum does swing back and forth.

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PLAINFIELD, NEW JERSEY= Late 70's - 80's Historical Society formed (Gay Group) and rehabilitated a large number of Victorian Mansions. THIS turned that area of the city around. Late 80's - 90's (Post AIDS) went from GUPPIE to YUPPIE. NOW is returning to GAY/LESBIAN. The Pendulum does swing back and forth.

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Rick I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your gayborhood. Come out to Seattle's Capital Hill. Even though there are plenty of straights in the gayborhood the bars, book store and chow places are going strong with more on the way!

 

Hugs,

Greg

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http://seaboy4hire.tripod.com http://www.daddysreviews.com/newest.php?who=greg_seattle

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I need a holiday!

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Rick I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your gayborhood. Come out to Seattle's Capital Hill. Even though there are plenty of straights in the gayborhood the bars, book store and chow places are going strong with more on the way!

 

Hugs,

Greg

[email protected]

http://seaboy4hire.tripod.com http://www.daddysreviews.com/newest.php?who=greg_seattle

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/6707/lebec084a9ad147f620acd5ps8.jpg

I need a holiday!

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I lived in Chelsea long before it was a gay neighborhood, and I remember how the residents grumbled when gays started moving in and "ruining" it. I lived in Hell's Kitchen before the yuppies moved in and "ruined" it. My grandparents lived in Yorkville before the non-Central Europeans moved in and "ruined" it. I remember when a trip to the East Village at night was a dangerous adventure. Every neighborhood in New York with a distinctive character eventually loses it when outsiders discover it. That's part of what makes New York so much more dynamic than other American cities.

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I lived in Chelsea long before it was a gay neighborhood, and I remember how the residents grumbled when gays started moving in and "ruining" it. I lived in Hell's Kitchen before the yuppies moved in and "ruined" it. My grandparents lived in Yorkville before the non-Central Europeans moved in and "ruined" it. I remember when a trip to the East Village at night was a dangerous adventure. Every neighborhood in New York with a distinctive character eventually loses it when outsiders discover it. That's part of what makes New York so much more dynamic than other American cities.

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It shouldn't surprise anyone that a movement that has placed gay marriage (read: conforming to heterosexual norms) at the top of its political agenda would begin to lose the spaces that are markers of historical difference and marginality.

 

Who needs gay bookstores when Barnes and Noble sells gay porn? Who needs a gay coffee shop or gym when everyone is rushing to marry and be just like straights. "Gay" is just so passe! We're just like everyone else now! Hurray! Progress!

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>Who needs gay bookstores when Barnes and Noble sells gay porn?

> Who needs a gay coffee shop or gym when everyone is rushing

>to marry and be just like straights. "Gay" is just

>so passe! We're just like everyone else now! Hurray!

>Progress!

 

Bitter, table of one. (I've always wanted to be able to use that campy old phrase; thanks for finally giving me a reason.) :p

 

Btw, I could be wrong but I think that the shops that are closing (or have closed) are probably due more to the ridiculous rents in NYC than that evil gay marriage stuff. We've also lost some of the Mom & Pop hardware stores (thanks to Home Depot moving in) and Mom & Pop stationery shops (thanks to Staples), while some older Mom & Pop restaurants have been replaced by the likes of chains like Qdoba, etc. I should append my original post above; what I bemoan is not necessarily the loss of the gay establishments, but more the loss of the neighborhoody places that made it feel like a neighborhood. The city's pretty homogeneous now.

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>Every neighborhood in New York with a distinctive character

>eventually loses it when outsiders discover it. That's part of

>what makes New York so much more dynamic than other American

>cities.

 

True, but what's happening now is that every neighborhood is the same. There's no more gay area, artist area, actor area, etc...it's all the same.

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