Ugh. I just heard that Sugarland Nightclub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is closing. The place where I first broke into performing in the gay nightlife scene, which ultimately changed the course of my career and life, the place where I made so many of my nightlife friends, the place with no pretention but plenty of warmth and magic, the place that was easiest to make friends with strangers, the place that held on for years after the goddamn condos went up all around it, is finally on the chopping block because yet another group of people don’t give a fuck what a neighborhood and community institution means to a community of artists and friends.
I never fully understood all the old New Yorkers who talk wistfully or bitterly about the city they love having disappeared, or why anyone would ever say they might give up on New York, until now. I’m still not going to leave or give up on the city I love and have lived in all my life. But man, it just keeps testing me.
Every inch of the block surrounding Sugarland has been developed into wildly expensive condos full of assholes and their stupid babies and noise complaints and lack of recognition of the fact that THEY moved in next to a NIGHTCLUB, not the other way around.
For everyone who has ever pulled this annoying shit, let me explain something to you.
NO ONE LOVES NEW YORK FOR ITS BABIES OR SCHOOLS OR INVESTMENT BANKERS.
PEOPLE LOVE NEW YORK FOR ITS NIGHTLIFE AND ARTISTS AND WEIRDOS. People love New York because it’s a place you can have fun and go on adventures and meet people who don’t exist anywhere else, because all of them moved to New York so they could be who they are without getting beaten to death for it.
People don’t spend thousands of dollars to come halfway around the world to New York so they can wander aimlessly around quiet, residential neighborhoods that used to be fun and interesting. They come so they can go to the neighborhoods that STILL ARE interesting.
And another thing. There are about 10,000 neighborhoods in NYC that are perfectly nice, close to or in Manhattan, and full of amenities that will NOT be ruined by you coming in and starting your stupid family and going to bed at 10pm and getting upset when other people put on weird clothes and dance and laugh in the street until 6am. If you want to be a boring, bossy, fun killing piece of shit, go there. They’ll love you.
But there are about 5 neighborhoods in New York that are still even the least bit fun for people who enjoy meeting new people, having fun, being interesting and contributing to the vitality of this city. And yes, they’re loud. BECAUSE THEY’RE ALIVE, AND THAT’S WHAT LIFE SOUNDS LIKE. So when your life is over, don’t come to the party zone to settle down.
Some of us are still trying to keep New York interesting, and this city will always be what it is because of us, not because of you. Your lifestyle is what the suburbs are for.