LGBTQ seaside sanctum faces demolition in New York

NEW YORK — LGBTQ beachgoers are wrestling with New York Metropolis’s plan to tear down a long-abandoned tuberculosis hospital that has served as a landmark for the group.

Graffiti on the outer partitions declare “QUEER TRANS POWER” and “KNOW YOUR POWER.” Air con models rust within the shattered home windows of Neponsit Seashore Hospital, as soon as additionally a nursing residence, however empty since 1998. A shrine on the chain-link fence memorializes a queer icon discovered useless off the waters close by.

The town needs to create a park on the location, wiping out the decrepit construction going through a clothing-optional seaside within the borough of Queens.

The LGBTQ group has lengthy embraced that part of Jacob Riis Park, sunbathing nude and holding gatherings akin to memorials for Ms. Colombia, often known as Oswaldo Gomez, who’s believed to have drowned close by in 2018.

Novels by LGBTQ authors together with Audre Lorde and Joan Nestle helped to show the realm right into a fabled haven.

The deserted Neponsit Seashore Hospital in Rockaway Park, N.Y.Google

“We want to be assured that we are going to proceed to have this house, which has at all times been our house, the place folks from the queer group at all times find yourself,” stated Victoria Cruz, 76, who has been coming to the seaside for the reason that Nineteen Sixties.

“That is the folks’s seaside. And we’re the folks,” stated Cruz, nicknamed the “Queen of Riis.”

However what makes that seaside part extra remoted and unique for the LGBTQ group, is deemed an unpleasant well being hazard by space residents.

“The group is worried in regards to the remediation of vermin and asbestos and no matter else is in there,” stated Jenna Tipaldo, a 25-year-old PhD scholar who lives close by.

The New York Metropolis Well being and Hospitals Company, which owns the location, has met with neighbors and LGBTQ group members to debate their issues.

“We’ll proceed to interact these communities to learn the way we will accommodate their issues whereas making certain public security,” Stephanie Buhle, deputy press secretary for the company, stated in an e-mail.

The general public hospitals company has not introduced particular plans for the location, and Buhle has not responded to requests for extra particulars.

However Joann Ariola, town councilwoman whose district consists of the constructing, stated in an e-mail this week {that a} park has been proposed, and surveys and different demolition preparations are underway.

The general public hospitals company has not stated when main demolition will start, however informed Reuters by e-mail this week it goals for completion earlier than the 2023 seaside season.

Casey Morrissey, a Brooklyn-based bookseller, stated they don’t thoughts the demolition so long as the seaside shouldn’t be misplaced to the LGBTQ group.

“It has been a sanctuary for us. We simply come right here with out planning and at all times discover associates,” Morrissey stated throughout a go to with their companion. “We don’t have many areas like these.”

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