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.
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Crazy Nanny’s, open from 1991 to 2004, was located in the ground and second floors at 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.
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.
This entry was adapted from text in Gwendolyn Stegall’s master’s thesis (see sources below), which is used with permission from the author.
- Architect or Builder: Unknown
- Year Built: 1955
Crazy Nanny’s,” Club Planet, accessed March 31, 2019, bit.ly/2LWRSS8.
Crazy Nanny’s flyer, Lesbian Herstory Archives.
Gaia’s Guide 1991/92.
Gwendolyn Stegall, A Spatial History of Lesbian Bars in New York City, master’s thesis, Columbia University, May 2019.
Kathy Wakeham, July 12, 2018, personal interview with Gwendolyn Stegall.
The Punk Rock Fag” flyer, International Gay Information Center Ephemera – Bars, The New York Public Library.
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