As many of us in the New York City subculture have come to realize, gone are the days where we can celebrate our eccentricities, music and culture with pride. This town, which was once respected as the home of artists and creativity, is slowly becoming a nest for only the wealthy and the self-professed prestigious, where we are regularly being shut out of upscale venues.
An article “Op-ed: An Open Letter to The DL from LES Dwellers” published on September 26th by Bowery Boogie (authors remain anonymous) states that the venue “The DL” has broken certain laws and promises made to the community. Meanwhile, they elected to share over 15 videos from within the club taken on September 25th at the fantastic weekly event, Dorian Gray Wednesdays, not at any of the establishment’s other mundane events. These videos were taken in stealth, without permission, and while they state the videos serve as proof of the venue’s violations, the community feels that this illegal footage is completely out of context and a violation of privacy.
Many subculture community leaders feel that this sort of exploitation is damaging in more ways than one. While we strive to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the scene’s glory days (Mothers, Flesh Theater, Limelight) we continue to be abused by the very place we call home, establishments, and in some cases, local law enforcement. This constant battle against the norm is part of what makes us the subculture. Sure, we may not want to be mainstream, but do we really deserve to be infiltrated by neighborhood spies? Do our friends and guests need to feel uncomfortable to be themselves because someone might be watching?
It is understood that this particular event has been caught in the cross-hairs of an ongoing battle between the residents of the Lower East Side and The DL venue. However, when you read the comments on this article, residents refer to us as being apart of a “cesspool.” Due to this illegal footage, the Dorian Gray party is now forced to find a new home. It’s sad, and much too common, to be confronted with this sort of close-mindedness and shortsightedness from our neighbors.
We have news for you, New York City! The Goths, the fetishists, the eccentrics, the Drag Queens and Kings, and all of the beautiful unusual people of Gotham’s underworld are not going anywhere! We refuse to allow you and your ideals to drive us back into the dank basements and back alleys. We will shower your sidewalks in black glitter, because we are fabulous and we know it. Don’t like it? Move to the suburbs, because we are here to stay.