Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prejudice in the East Village

Prejudice in the East Village
Written By:
Lady Zombie
October 29th, 2009


The East Village of New York City, and more specifically the street Saint Marks Place, has been an icon of the underground world as far back as I can remember. Even as a little girl, I used to wander the area with my father and marvel at all of the fascinating stores and more so, the strange and beautiful people. I would later grow up to become a figure in their community, known as the Goth scene. Time changes everything, though, and now so many places that were familiar to us are no more.

Last night, it was my fiancĂ© Ali’s birthday, and we headed towards Saint Marks Place and 3rd Avenue to stop by a bar called The Continental, where we had gone with a large group of my rather corporate coworkers only 6 days prior, and where we have visited dozens of times over the years, alone, together, and with plenty of our friends. The Continental is infamous as a rock and roll bar, incredible drink deals and a boisterous patronage. We were dressed as usual, in a lot of leather, and had our IDs out and ready. The next few minutes would prove to be degrading, infuriating and outrageous, to say the least.

The bouncer looked at my ID, and refused to look at Ali’s ID as well, stating, “You do not have a shirt on, so I can’t let you in.” Specifically, Ali was clad in leather pants, leather boots, a leather corset that stops directly underneath his pectorals, and a leather motorcycle jacket. Ali and I exchanged an inquisitive look, and he said to the bouncer, “I was wearing the exact same outfit in here last week, but I can zip up my jacket, it isn’t a problem.” You would think that would appease the bouncer, but he went on to say something that proved his personal prejudice towards us went beyond dress code.

“I know, and I wasn’t so sure I should let you in last week, either. Your look is too extreme for this place,” he declared, making a point to refuse eye contact with either of us. I laughed, utterly astonished, and told the man it was Ali’s birthday. Ali was still holding his ID out to the bouncer, who finalized his judgment by saying, “I am not looking at that, and you’re not getting in here tonight.”

That is accurately, word for word, what was said to us. I recall it vividly, because I have never before been so deeply upset by such a blatant display of injustice inflicted upon some I love dearly. How could this, the bar where Iggy Pop has been a patron, along with countless other famous rockers and those of the alternative society, refuse entry to us? We diplomatically walked away and went elsewhere.

So I ask you now, what has become of the East Village? What has become of Saint Marks Place? How can a rock and roll bar turn away the very people that helped make it what it is today? Prejudice in the East Village… I would have never thought it possible. Thus, I wanted to bring this to your attention, along with a quote from Mr. Franklin Thomas: "One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings."

8 comments:

W. said...

Wowww girl. As a born NY'r now living in another state I constantly brag about how accepting our culture is and tell of our wonderous melting pot. This story hurts me to the core. What they did is dead wrong. I would show up sometime, in an unassuming outfit, and speak directly with the manager/owner...
Whatever action you choose to take, I wish you the best.... Happy belated Ali!!

Lady Zombie said...

Yeah, you're telling me! I am extemely hurt that this happened to us, but as long as I get thr word out, maybe it will stop!!!

y_non said...

unbelievable!!!!! Once upon a time The Village was a refuge, but today.....

Lady Zombie said...

No rest for the wicked, no refuge for the soul.

neve17 said...

Check this other article someone sent me after tweeting - http://bit.ly/DKF0d

OculusVision said...

Why am I not surprised that this still goes on this day and age. Im sorry that Ali had to encounter this on his birthday.

I hope you two still went out and enjoyed the night.

The world is still full of ignorance. SMH

Lady Zombie said...

Holy shit! See, Niamh, I didn't want to make it a racial thing, but after several individuals sharing these experiences with me, it seems like they really are targeting those of color, and I do not stand for that!!!

Lady Zombie said...

OculusVision - I am not surprised, either, but neither should we simply lay back and take it.

We did have an amazing time on his birthday, regardless. Ali never lets anything get him down!!!