The Starlite Lounge in Brooklyn, one of New York's oldest black-owned gay bars, was set to close last night. I haven't been able to ascertain whether it did shut down, but a friend told me that the bar owner and staff were packing up as of a few days ago. The owner, Dennis Parrott-King, and manager Tim La'Viticus learned late last year that the building had been sold for $455,000 (which still strikes me as low even in the currently deflating New York real estate market). As a result Dennis-Parrott had been pushing for landmark status, which might have slowed the closing of the bar, while La'Viticus had suggested seeking a court order to stop the closing. Crown Heights residents, some of them bar patrons, had set up an iPetition to advocate for landmark status. In addition to being a neighborhood fixture, it was an important venue for Brooklyn's and the broader New York City black lgbtq community. Another friend, Sabdale, had hosted a book party there for his memoir, For Love Alone, just last month.
If the bar has closed (and Metromix says it has), it will join a host of other lgbtq institutions, from bookstores to organizations, that have vanished over the last decade. Bernie T. recently forwarded me the map below (click on link for writeup, map to enlarge) from Next Magazine showing the "cemetery" of New York's gay nightlife. One could easily add A Different Light, Creative Visions/Gay Pleasures and Oscar Wilde Bookstores; the Lure, Spike, Manhole, J's Hangout, and other bars and clubs; HX magazine; and so much more.