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You Don't Have to Go Home, But You Can't Stay at This Leather Bar

By Brandon Voss

What's hanky code for sober and depressed?

Opened in 1979, Rawhide, the oldest levis-and-leather gay bar New York City, appears to be doomed for extinction.

The landlord of the building that houses the Chelsea dive on Eighth Avenue and 21st St. has reportedly doubled the rent, so Rawhide has officially been evicted. Their last day of business will be March 31.

No word yet on how leather bar aficionado James Franco is handling the bad news, but out Mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn recently extolled the virtues of the ol' saloon in New York magazine:

“One of the things I loved about Chelsea is that on Eighth Avenue, there is the Rawhide bar — not a luxury product. And for many years there were Latino guys from the neighborhood who had a folding card table every Friday and Saturday night and played dominoes. And they knew every guy who walked into the Rawhide, and every guy that walked in the Rawhide knew them. A leather bar may or may not be the best example, but it is the type of neighborhood experience we want to be able to have, what Jane Jacobs called ‘the eyes on the streets’ all watching out for each other.”

For more colorful descriptions of Rawhide's sights, sounds, and smells, visit Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.

Have you ever cruised Rawhide? Share your memories in the comments.

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