In the News

Pier pressure builds as vote on Pier 40 proposals nears

About 20 gay and lesbian youth, members of FIERCE!, also attended the committee meeting. The Christopher St. Pier, or Pier 45, a few blocks north is a stomping ground for L.G.B.T. youth in Hudson River Park, which has a 1 a.m. curfew. Glo Ross, a FIERCE! organizer, stood up and advocated for a 24-hour space for L.G.B.T. youth at Pier 40. She noted that the Pier 40 Working Group’s recommendations include an L.G.B.T. youth community space on the pier. After the meeting, Ross said, “We’re definitely excited about the Partnership plan.”

Critical Pier 40 decision

To The Editor:
Re “Pier plans are honed as process comes down to wire” (news article, Dec. 12)
As the Hudson River Park board of directors, chaired by Diana Taylor, prepares for an imminent vote on the development of Pier 40, the West Village must prepare itself against the possibility of a decision that will drastically alter the space we call home.

The New Battle Against Gentrification

To confront this, FIERCE had to figure out how to bring people who did not live in the area into land use decisions. While FIERCE youth do not own property or businesses in the West Village, the changes there have had a major impact on them. For instance, after the pier was redeveloped, the trust wanted to charge medical vans serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth $25,000 a year to be in the space. FIERCE successfully fought this proposal, and the medical vans continue to have access for free.

Come-Ons Common, Lesbians Agree

FIERCE! convened a series of discussion groups of young women following the Buckle assault. They found that street harassment was so common that women expected it and did not complain about it. "They know that it's wrong, that they should speak about it, but ultimately who is going to listen?" Mananzala said.

Still Searching for More Answers on Christopher Street


Speaking for FIERCE! (Fabulous Independent Radicals for Community Empowerment), Rickke Mananzala said he was pleased that the city had resisted the demand by residents for an 11 p.m. park curfew. Mananzala also said he doubted that crime had increased on Christopher St. any more than in other parts of the Village, and he called for an eventual reduction of the police on the street “We're glad the proposal to push L.G.B.T. youth out of the West Village has been dropped,” Mananzala said.

Building a Humane Model


The Urban Justice Center works to provide legal services to homeless LGBT youth, and the Anti-Violence Center also provides critical advocacy when they are victims of crime and abuse. The LGBT Community Center's Youth Enrichment Services provides a wide variety of outreach, education, and mentoring programs, and FIERCE!, the Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment, works on the streets to protect LGBT youth from being displaced from the West Village.

Christopher Street Compromise


Rickke Mananzala of FIERCE!, an LGBTQ youth of color organization which has actively lobbied on behalf of not limiting access to the pier, said he was happy to see city officials taking a more active role in finding a solution. "The more elected officials getting involved and active in this, the better," said Mananzala. "We are just really impressed by Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s response to really recognizing this as a complicated issue that we should be working on for the quality of life of all people in the West Village, including LGBT youth as a part of that."