“Homos, Lezzies, and Undesirables”: Gay Bar Raids and Closures in NYC

June 21, 2022 | 6:30PM

In the 19th and 20th centuries, gay and lesbian bars and clubs were subject to various oppressive forms of social control by the police, religiously-affiliated individuals and groups — such as the 19th-century New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, that dictated morality and raided bars and clubs — and eventually the State Liquor Authority (SLA) in 1934. After the end of Prohibition, almost all LGBT bars and gathering spaces came to be controlled by the Mafia. In this talk, co-director Jay Shockley will highlight locations that were routinely raided by the police and the acts of civil disobedience activists organized in response, such as the Sea Colony, a 1950s-60s lesbian bar; Julius’, now known for the Mattachine Society’s 1966 “Sip-In”; and more.



This event is presented with the support of the New York Community Trust and Con Edison.

Photo: The Sea Colony, first floor of 52, 50, and 48 Eighth Avenue (left to right), 1964. Photo by John Barrington Bayley. Courtesy of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.