In the News
GREENWICH VILLAGE —Rising crime and a riot at a Greenwich Village Dunkin' Donuts has created a rift between residents demanding increased police patrols — and those who claim extra vigilance is creating an environment hostile to gays.
Some locals say lawlessness is making Christopher Street a no-go area, and it's increased because police and legislators have been too lenient to crowds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths who hang out in the area.
But critics say targeting the youths could seem anti-gay in a neighborhood that is nationally important to the gay rights movement — and has an historically contentious relationship with police.
Police have made four arrests in connection with the May 16 incident in which at least a dozen young people, some of them transgender, invaded the Dunkin Donuts at 75 Christopher St. and wreaked mayhem. They threw two metal tables and one chair at employees and during the chaos stole pastries and drinks.
On Monday, two of the suspects, Dwayne Jones, 20, and Mark Wright, 19, were indicted for attempted assault, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon (the thrown furniture) and riot. Jones was also charged with grand larceny.
A third individual was a juvenile. The fourth may have been charged with misdemeanors, according to police.
Police say, based on intelligence they received, their investigation took them to the 147 W. 24th St. location of FIERCE, the advocacy group for gay youth of color. A tip to a tips line said a few of the individuals involved attended programs at FIERCE. Word on the street that police got from members of the transgender community was the same.
GREENWICH VILLAGE — The young victim of an alleged hate crime at a Village McDonald's shared his story with GLAAD Wednesday, calling the attack just one example of a wider problem of violence against the city's LGBT community.
"This has to stop. Under no circumstance should a person be attacked for their sexual orientation," Damian Furtch, 26, wrote in a statement. "This has been a traumatic experience for me, my friends and my family."
Furtch sustained three punches to the face in the early hours of Sunday morning, when two young men followed him out of a McDonald's at Sixth Avenue and West 3rd Street, according to the NYPD and Furtch.
Krystal Portalatin decided to take action when she and her friends nearly lost one of the few safe places for young, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers.
The city started to barricade the Christopher Street pier on the Hudson River, one of the few public spaces where many young LGBTQ New Yorkers felt they could be themselves.
MUNICIPAL DISTRICT — Following weeks of highly publicized anti-gay hate crimes and suicides by gay youth, young LGBTQ New Yorkers got some good news Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a proclamation making October LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Month in New York City. Advocacy groups including FIERCE, which serves LGBTQ youth of color, hope this move will help shift public attention toward creating more preventative resources.