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LOL. BTW the Soldiers and Sailor's Monument, on 89th & Riverside Park, set in a bit of land that was full of cul-de-sac pathways and bushy outcroppings & hideways for outdoor sex activities, was also called "The Wedding Cake" by the queens. It's a smaller, more frilly version of Grant's Tomb, hence its nickname.

And yes, these posts are serving as the backbone for one of the chapters in my book I hope. Cool
Merlin got to ride in an old checker cab in a snow storm with James Van Der Zee, from West 125th Street to Grants Tomb for a special showing of Mr. Van der Zee's photographs many years ago. merlin remembers a huge beautiful smiling man in vest and suit, with an amazing portfolio. turned out Mr. Van Der Zee's 'parents' (recall not perfect) were President Grant's personal servants.

Google James Van Der Zee under images, you may find a beautiful 1982 Basquiat portrait ( among other amazing photos of a long lost New York City.
daddy, met my first manhattan love of my life in front of the old international stud, it lasted for twenty years, lol. the stud had a back room with porn films showing in black & white over head. always confused it with that Aan Fran bar by the same name.

met a handsome cab driver who was chauvering Holly Woodlawn around town at the trucks one evening, early, honest! we had to get her out of there, take her back to the loft in chelsea and then over to Avenue D and east 7th. turned out we were neighbors, lol.

most of the places you quoted were alive and kicking in 1973 lol.
Last edited by Merlinator
Some of what kept such clandestine places going through the seventies and a fade-out in the early eighties was the plethora of 'alternative' styles of sexual gratification gay men promoted, and which were a part of what people now call a 'lifestyle', leather and bondage, etc. Particular clubs and sexual trawling zones like park locations were the official outlets for those practices and it is in part due to the wanning of those practices that the locations have faded also. Older gay men I know talk about how in the seventies there was a more varied sex life for them and how it now has become much more homogenized. Part of the 'mainstreaming' Hatches mentions as a consequence of social acceptance, which I think has a lot more to do with the recognition of the economic potential of gay sexuality as a market with far more possibilities than just social gathering spots like bars and clubs. So really the departed charm of New York with respect to this is really the departed scope and scale of sexual innovation that the gay community created.
It is definitely true the sex possibilities were more varied, seven. Everything, that was "forbidden" in the first place, was lumped together into a very heady mixture that was certainly very libertine. Therefore, in Riverdale, where I grew up there was a park-- Van Cortlandt Park, one of the largest and wildest (terrain-wise) in the City. Along the western side ran Broadway, which at that point was more like a six lane highway than the commercial street we are familiar with downtown. This was the gay cruising area-- in cars, on foot, on the polo fields and the golf course, along the disused Putnam Railroad tracks, and even up in the ancient graveyard that contained the vandalized remains of the star-crossed Van Cortlandt Family. It was active at all hours of the day, even while people were walking dogs and children were playing in the playground, but if you were not looking for it, you would not see a thing. The real blatant sexual goings-on occurred, though, after the sun went down.
There were a great many "regulars" in this place, and some of the freakier ones after midnight included:
-- Jim, who wanted you to pee on him, and who had, oddly enough, a yellow car.
-- Charles, who wanted to take you back to his place for some give-and-take spanking.
-- A guy we used to call "The Wrestler" who would bring a spare singlet for his partner.
-- A seminary student who would hand you his belt and beg for a thrashing.
-- The businessman who had a complete set of feminine undergarments under his suit.
-- A guy who would hide all his clothing in the bushes and walk around butt-assed naked.
This, and all the "normal" sucking and fucking one might expect.
This area was also the place that we would take our girlfriends to have sex with them.
And so this was the unique education I received. And all before I graduated from high school! Little wonder I never fit into the mainstream!

Merlin, I lived just near Grant's Tomb for a summer, on Claremont Avenue, in a 12 room apartment. One room had floor-to-ceiling windows with billowing white curtains and a piano, and I would sit all day drinking coffee, playing the piano and watching the curtains blow around.
Very Laura Nyro. I was taking care of a friend's dog and would walk her by The Tomb which was in such a state of decomposition with weeds growing waist-high around it. The dog got ticks from those weeds and I learned how to pick them off, using burnt-out matches to entice the ticks to pull out their heads. I then would throw them out the window.
The originial Limelight was also the first disco I went to regularly. Probably because of the Latin flava, Daddy. But the first disco I ever went to, and only once, was Le Jardin. This was maybe 1974.


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  • LeJardin
I never went to Le Jardin. (some things actually were before my time) but Chi Chi and I worked with John Addison (the owner of Le Jardin and Xenon) later on. What a character!

The music was so happy back then.
I was listening to Larry Levan recorded at The Paradise Garage the other day and I was really surprised by how hopeful the music was. Everything was so new that anything seemed possible. (of course being 17 doesn't hurt either) When I go hear "Big Room" DJs now the music seems so dark.

Le Jardin
address: 110 West 43rd Street
New York City
(in basement of Hotel Diplomat)

active years:
June 13, 1973- ???

Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro (photo)
Steve D'Aquisto
Bacho Mangual

"” owner John Addison
"” Le Jardin was first called "L'Oubliette" which is the french word for a small dungeon where they would drop you to forget you
"” two separate floors, the penthouse and the basement
"” Le Jardin was essentially gay with a smallish quota of beautiful women and fashionable straights
"” it was stylish, with bowls of fruit and cheese on tables
"” in March 3, 1975 the coronation of Gloria Gaynor as the Queen of Disco took place here
"” had waiters on rollerskates
"” Diplomat hotel... the palm room was the first gigs for David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) and his pre-punk group "New York Dolls" in may 1972
"” the Diplomat today is home to many of the north african/senegalese

Playlist May 1975
DJ: Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro
BAD LUCK - Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes
EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD - Consumer Rapport
FOOT STOMPIN MUSIC - Hamilton Bohannon
FREE MAN - South Shore Commission
LOVE DO ME RIGHT - Rockin' Horse
SWEARIN' TO GOD - Frankie Valli
TORNADO - The Wiz Original Cast album
WHERE IS THE LOVE - Betty Wright


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  • club21_g
I like that site too. I sent the guy some of my reminiscences, and it's funny to see them down as 'history'!
(See "The Anvil")
I loved the Limelight. It was around the corner from my apartment on Jones Street and I was there constantly (1973-4). David Bowie was hot & new, everyone was doing boy-girl, poppers... blue lipstick from Biba and divinely decadent green nail polish.

The guy should add "The Duchess" .. it was right down the street frm the Limelight where
there is now either a coffee shop or a Starbucks on Sheridan Square. It was the best dyke club in NY, complete with big fat Mafia guys acting as bouncers.
ah yeah, the fun drag acts at the Limelight, and the biggest mix of people you eva wanted to meet. used to order ameretto and cokes there.

and we've got to get ourselves back to...... Le Jardin (sp), merlin's favorite dance floor in the early/mid seventies and the roof top deco garden space. before the flamingo, before 12 west.

for at least one summer in the mid seventies there was this empty two story building in the west village, it was an after hours bar. a big trucked parked outfront to hide the entrance from the street, it looked abandoned. if you knew where you were going you could find it. to get in, you had to move the rusty gates, when you did, there were a couple of hundred guys in this abandoned building with a bar, no real lights and on two floors to wander around and thru.
this place was a deserted store front with a door to the back hall that paul found and took me too after the bars were shut, you had to know where it was or it looked deserted on the outside. the down stairs was and old store and up the stairs had a big front room with pealing paint and a whole lotta inventoring with hands goin' on.....

bobby, tried to go the the mind shaft once, with my boyfriend at the time, and he, well we, looked so preppy (no colon just the outfit), before you restyled me so many years ago, the 'receptionist' wouldn't let him/us in even while accompanied by a regular lol.

now, those were the day!
Ah Merlin, I remember that storefront, though not its name.
And the club that was an entire empty loft building, completely unfinished, called the Toilet. I mean they just set up a bar on an old table and opened the doors of an abandoned building!
And what was the bar on 17th & Tenth that had a long row of heavy clanking chains that separated the bar area from the backroom? I can never remember the name.

The Hotel Diplomat... I was friendly with the desk clerk and took many johns there, though it was a fully operational normal hotel (as Maki can attest.) There was even a fully operational coffee shop that included that archaic NYC phenomenon-- the soda jerk-- who made fierce cherry-lime rickies and egg creams. People would come from all over the city for them. Further downtown there was another place, The Broadway Central Luncheonette that had a soda jerk and great egg creams and milkshakes. Today, who even knows what an egg cream or cherry-lime ricky is? I doubt the syrup used in them is even manufactured any more. At one time, every New York neighborhood had a soda fountain serving up this fare, as well as burgers and grilled cheese made with a weight on it, so it was as flat as a pancake. BTW, for those who don't know, an egg cream doesn't even have an egg in it. Remembering this really dates me I suppose. More filet of dragon, Grandpa?

The Diplomat also housed Xenon and Le Jardin in one or another of its renovated lobbies or ballrooms. And right next door was the Park-Miller Theatre, a venerable old movie palace that showed only gay porno. There were balconies galore with musty rotting red velvet curtains and lounges galore on many levels with crumbling greek statuary and fountains filled with stagnant water and cigarette butts. One of the lounges had a peeling Jane Russell poster from, I would suppose, the last legit movie showing on those premises.
I worked around the corner in a bookstore that sold old comics, remaindered textbooks and gay porno of all kinds. The window display included all the wares available in the store including huge posters of naked boys with only a small price tag barely obscuring the model's genitals. The owners of this fine establishment, an old, cigar chomping jew named Bob Brown and his overweight son, Rory owned the company that produced these glorious items and tried to convince me and a co-worker Papo to "model" for their company. For some odd reason we both turned them down, much to my later regret. I was 18. I mean who wouldn't want to have a 4 color lifesize poster of themselves bareass 30+ years later? Papo and I used to have sex in the basement after the store closed at 10 at night. Usually spreading out some clean broken-down carboard boxes on the filthy floor. He was married and lived in the Bronx and totally hot.
Upstairs in the the building which had about 12 stories and no elevator, there was a gypsy who would sit outside on a 3 legged stool and try to drag unsuspecting customers upstairs to have their fortunes told. She would come into the store sometimes in the evening, drinking tea from a cracked tea cup and keep us company. Papo and I would always try to get her to leave so we could close a bit early and go down into the basement.
Just recently, when working in that area, I discovered that the whole block, straight through to 43rd was leveled by the wrecker's ball, with only a small sliver of The Miller's facade left standing. This, I think, made me sadder than anything else I have seen in modern New York. I mean that little slice is all that is left of my youth!
Last edited by hatches
Was the Park Miller where someone threw the SLEAZE PARTY, in the mid 70's?

Merlin came to town as a Member of the Everyman Players. We were doing John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in medeival ensemble style, at the Rockafella Church on 125th Street and Riverside Drive. It was the first such performance in the main naive of the sanctuary.

While staying at the Picadilli Hotel on West 44th Street and fresh to the city, Merlin enjoyed the great location. Just up the block to Jack Demsi's where the drinks were mixed at the table; the Roxy Theatre was still across the street; and the Ed Sullivan Theatre was still famous for just that. Them days, times square & down along 42nd Street was like a big dangerous smorgasboard of luscious music from opened doored leather seated Cadillacs; the bright lights of the old multi bulb theatre facades always looked more Coney Island than Manhatta; the noisey sounds of boys playing pin ball in what seemed like every store; and those just leaning against the store fronts watching everyone pass by the corner cigarette shop on the north west corner of 42nd street. Merlin felt if someone even unknowingly insulted a someone on a walk thru the neighborhood, that someone could hire another someone down the black to slit your someone throat for nothing.

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