overview

Crazy Nanny’s was a lesbian bar that drew a racially diverse crowd and was located on the ground and second floors of this building from 1991 to 2004.

The large space provided opportunity for numerous fundraisers, including those to combat the AIDS epidemic.

Header Photo
Credit: Ken Lustbader/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.

History

Crazy Nanny’s, open from 1991 to 2004, was located on the ground and second floors of 21 Seventh Avenue, at the corner of Leroy Street. It was run by Elaine Romagnoli, previously the owner of Cubby Hole on Hudson Street (not to be confused with Cubbyhole, a still-operating lesbian bar at 281 West 12th Street) and, for about a year, Lisa Cannistraci (the current owner of Henrietta Hudson).

Crazy Nanny’s had a large video screen, a bar on each floor, a pool table on the first floor, and dancing on the second floor. Gaia’s Guide described the space as “brightly designed,” perhaps referring to its lavender exterior. Club Planet, an online bar guide (that began to replace the hard-cover guidebooks) said of Crazy Nanny’s,

Friendly and lively, as well as casual and fashionable .… It is like a lesbian fun park, trivia night, karaoke nights, and drag queen performances and of course DJ’s.

Club Planet

The bar advertised that it was “100% women owned & 100% women managed,” but the definition of “women” in the 1990s lesbian community was beginning to expand to also include trans women. Crazy Nanny’s was explicit about this inclusion, advertising itself as “a place for women, biological or otherwise.”

Unlike the earlier lesbian bars, they also were more welcoming to the broader LGBT community, especially for fundraisers and special events – one event claimed that it was “an evening of Cacophony for Fags, Dykes & others.” The crowd was also racially diverse. With the larger space, Romagnoli was able to host fundraisers and performances. These ranged from live music, theater, and movie screenings, to benefits to combat AIDS as well as other causes.

Entry adapted by Amanda Davis, project manager (June 2019), from text in Gwendolyn Stegall, "A Spatial History of Lesbian Bars in New York City" (used with permission).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Unknown
  • Year Built: 1955

Sources

  1. Crazy Nanny’s,” Club Planet, accessed March 31, 2019, bit.ly/2LWRSS8.

  2. Crazy Nanny’s flyer, Lesbian Herstory Archives.

  3. Gaia’s Guide 1991/92.

  4. Gwendolyn Stegall, A Spatial History of Lesbian Bars in New York City, master’s thesis, Columbia University, May 2019.

  5. Kathy Wakeham, July 12, 2018, personal interview with Gwendolyn Stegall.

  6. The Punk Rock Fag” flyer, International Gay Information Center Ephemera – Bars, The New York Public Library.

Do you have more information about this site?

This project is enriched by your participation! Do you have your own images of this site? Or a story to share? Would you like to suggest a different historic site?

Curated Themes

26 Sites

Gay-Owned Businesses

Other Sites in the Neighborhood

85 Bedford Street
Anna Rochester & Grace Hutchins Residence
Residences
31 Union Square West
Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos Studio / Juan Ramos & Paul Caranicas Residence & Studio
Stores & Businesses
1 Fifth Avenue
Sam Wagstaff Residence
Residences