Friday, February 03, 2006

GLBT Slavs of New York

The East Village, Manhattan's Slavic heartland, is now home to the city's first official Slavic gay bar (sort of). Back in December, Eastern Bloc (505 East Sixth Street at Avenue A) opened for business with a decidely SocArt theme. The clientel might not be Slavic, but the decor is ochen' Soviet.

Meanwhile, Siberia (356 West 40th Street) has recently started up a Saturday night GLBT party called Cruising. Cover is $5.00 before midnight, $10.00 after. And the 23-29 November 2005 issue of the NY Press mentions Secrets (1321 Avenue Z between East 13th and East 14th Streets) out in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, near the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach. Though it is surrounded by Russian bars, the Press does not indicate that this bar is itself frequented by Russians.

GLBTs from the former Yugoslavia aren't quite left out in the cold, either. Though it (so far) only has a website and a message list, Queer Ex-YU Diaspora is doing its job to link like-minded people from the Balkans, many of whom are in the five boroughs. There is also apparently a Polish organization in the city as well, called Razem (email, but it does not seem to be active at this time. Email Slavs of New York if you have any additional information.

And for the sake of being comprehensive, it also stands to point out that New York has seen its share of prominent GLBT Slavs of New York, first among whom is surely the Carpatho-Rusyn Andy Warhol. Another is the Russian artist Yaroslav Mogutin, a.k.a. Slava Mogutin. Born in 1974 in Siberia, he became the first Russian to be granted asylum in the US on the grounds of sexual orientation in 1995 and settled in New York. Since then, his celebrity as a poet and photographer has grown so much that he is now able to split his time between New York and Moscow, where he has also found an audience. Check out this interview from a 2002 issue of Index.

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