New York’s LGBTQ community is on edge after the attack.

Author: Yuvi November 22, 2022

New York's LGBTQ community is on edge after the attack.


On Saturday, revelry at a gay bar in Manhattan was interrupted for the fourth time this month by someone throwing a brick at its plate-glass window.

The windows at the bar, VERS, are shatterproof, so the attacks have not injured anyone, said its owner David DeParolesa. But they have left the neighborhood on edge.

“One disturbing thing about what’s happening to VERS is this guy isn’t trying to break in, he’s doing this during business hours,” Mr. DeParolesa said. “There’s an ominous feeling that this won’t cease or that it could escalate.”

The attack in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood happened just hours before a gunman opened fire in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar on Saturday night, killing five people and injuring at least 18 more. The deadly mass shooting has shaken gay communities across the country.

That sense of unease has been acutely felt in New York, one of the country’s gay cultural centers and the site of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising, which is widely viewed as the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

New York’s LGBTQ community, like gay communities elsewhere, has been deeply troubled by verbal attacks in recent years on drag events, from club nights to children’s drag queen story hours at libraries.

Speaking at a rally at the Stonewall Inn on Sunday, Erik Bottcher, a member of the New York City Council, linked those verbal attacks to real-world violence.

“You can draw a straight line to those murders from the hateful rhetoric and lies that have been spread about drag queen story hour, about transgender and gender-nonconforming people,” said Mr. Bottcher, who represents the West Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, which are home to Manhattan’s largest concentration of LGBTQ bars and businesses.

The brick-throwing incident at VERS was caught on surveillance video, which Mr. DeParolesa shared with local news media and law enforcement, as well as with Mr. Bottcher, who posted it on Twitter.

In the video, a man can be seen sneaking up to the bar, partially hiding behind the outdoor dining shed of the establishment next door, and then slinging a brick at VERS. The man then darts around the corner, as shocked diners and pedestrians turn to look.

New York City’s police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, said on Monday morning that his department was looking into incidents in Hell’s Kitchen, but declined to specify what those incidents were.

Appearing on “CBS Mornings,” Ms. Sewell was asked if the police department was looking into any threats in the wake of the shooting in Colorado Springs.

“Anything that happens across the country that’s horrific, we monitor, and we want to make sure we have our assets in place to offer comfort for our communities,” she said. “We’ve had some incidents in Hell’s Kitchen, which are causing us some concern, that we have a number of resources devoted to as well.”

Corey Kilgannon contributed reporting.

22 November, 2022, 3:15 am

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Tuesday, 22nd November 2022

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