The Decline of Chelsea as a Gayborhood

Rainbows and Triangles in Chelsea

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Lost leases, rent increases, a shifting residential dynamic, and the influx of tourist and tech dollars are all playing their part in recasting the role of Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets — the commercial spine of Chelsea.

But this is not simply a story about the ever-gentrification of Manhattan, it’s also another telling indicator of the decline of the neighborhood’s status dating back two decades as New York’s gayest neighborhood.

This past August, it was one last shower-drenched dance for the iconic go-go boys of Splash. When the club arrived on West 17th Street in 1991, it sparked a great gay migration and gave rise to dozens of nearby establishments catering to the Chelsea Boy life. Today, remaining gay-focused businesses on Eighth Avenue include three porn emporiums (Rainbow Station, the Blue DVD, and the Blue Store) and a handful of menswear shops (including the Starting Line and EFOR). Once thriving and now gone: the Service Station spa and the Big Cup coffee shop, as well as Food Bar and Viceroy restaurants. Rawhide and View are no more, making Gym the Avenue’s only gay bar.

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Authored By Scott Stiffler – See the Full Story at Gay City News

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