The world Lena Dunham showcases on Girls may seem like a bastion of liberal politics, but many in the neighborhood aren’t too happy about Greenpoint’s increasing gay population. Thankfully, there haven’t been any reports of anti-gay attacks recently, but we’re disturbed by the double-standard imposed on local businesses that have a gay clientele. The latest case in point is Lulu’s — a struggling bar on Franklin Street that wants to “come out” but is prohibited by its lease to operate as a a gay/lesbian club:
Owner John McGillion wants to take advantage of changing demographics in the neighborhood and turn it into a gay and lesbian bar. The only problem? His landlord specifically wrote in his lease that he can’t do that.
According to the clause in his lease: “The leased Premises shall be used by Tenant as a restaurant and bar. It shall not be used for adult entertainment and shall not be operated as a gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.”
“I am barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar…If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillon wrote in the lawsuit he filed against his landlord, Guard General Merchandise Corp., last week. He told the Post he’s been battling with the landlord for the last year to make the change to no avail.
Just a few store fronts away, Veronica’s People’s Club, a popular (and really rather mellow) gay club, was forced to shutdown in 2012 by the local community board. It wasn’t the first. Blackout, a gay club on Manhattan Ave. closed in 2011 in part because of complaints from its neighbors. City Room has more on the Veronica’s closure:
In Veronica’s case, the owners of the building next door charged in a lawsuit filed in December that “unreasonably loud music and noises of all sorts are emitted” from the bar at all hours and that the music sent vibrations through their apartment, causing them “to become nervous, anxious and agitated.”