Back to All Events

"This Used to Be Gay!" Moe Angelos East Village Walking Tour

  • Location upon RSVP (map)

East Village, tour starting point shared with RSVP

Suggested Donation: $15

RSVP: here

Theater artist and charismatic raconteur Moe Angelos (of The Five Lesbian Brothers and The Builders Association) has lived on 13th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues since 1981. The East Village is her gay-borhood, and she has seen it go through many changes over the years. In this wry and spry walking tour, Moe will lead participants on “a shamelessly nostalgic journey” to visit the sites of former discos, clubs, bathhouses, theaters, galleries, and oh-so-many bars that once proliferated these streets and provided gay people of all kinds with an astonishing array of options for socializing, organizing, hooking up, finding themselves and each other.  

“Advances in social acceptance for LGBTQ people have come with a price, however benign it might seem,” Moe reflects as she considers the much gayer glory days of the East Village. “We have lost many, many spaces for socializing that used to be gay. As homosexual, bisexual, and trans identities have become decriminalized and we have been allowed more open movement in the larger culture, the places we once went to congregate in peace have gone away along with the shame. While mainstream critics on the right complain bitterly that gay is being shoved down their throats (complaint or dream date?) the side effect of this mainstreaming of gay culture is a dilution of the community where that culture began and once thrived. Born in the murky shadows, in bars with sticky counters, watery drinks, and postage-stamp dance floors, in discos and clubs and bathhouses now bearing no plaques to commemorate them, the gay ghosts of my past will be resurrected for your entertainment and curiosity as we visit a few of these hallowed sites and trace a path of queer life through the East Village.”

Some highlights on Moe’s tour will include:

Slugger Ann’s (“Once a translady hangout, now a downright terrible bro bar, Slugger Ann’s was a very OG dive bar owned by the grandmother of Jackie Curtis, Ann. Jackie bartended on occasion. I had some amazing afternoons there.”)

Boy Bar (“The upstairs was where the sex happened.”)

Elaine’s Bar (“Not officially a dyke bar but a sometimes de facto one. I spent time here back when the neighborhood was still inexpensive and dangerous and full of low-rent queers.”)

All-Craft Center (“Formerly the Electric Circus, All-Craft Center had a CETA training program for women in the trades. A bunch of amazons taught plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and cabinet-making. Plus a nursery to leave kids while training!”)