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Water Colony

August 1, 2020

Water Colony


By at the very least 1955 through the 1960s, the ocean Colony ended up being probably the most popular lesbian pubs in Greenwich Village.

A well liked of author and activist Joan Nestle, amongst others, it absolutely was a sanctuary specifically for working-class lesbians during the right time, regardless of being Mafia-run and often raided because of the authorities.

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The ocean Colony, very very first floor of 52, 50, and 48 Eighth Avenue (left to right), 1964. Picture by John Barrngton Bayley. Thanks to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Approximate Water Colony flooring plan. Drawn by Gwendolyn Stegall when it comes to NYC LGBT Historic web Sites Project in conversation with Sea Colony bartender Preston Mardenborough.

Women’s home of Detention (demolished), Greenwich Avenue between western Street that is 10th and Street, 1945. Thanks to the Museum associated with the City of the latest York.


Originally started as being a restaurant c. 1950, the ocean Colony had develop into a lesbian hangout by at minimum 1955, whenever Ann Bannon, composer of lesbian pulp fiction, visited it with Marijane Meaker, writer of lesbian-themed fiction. Analysis the restaurant through the exact same year mentioned “a recently included celebration space that handles 75 individuals. ” The review would not point out that the brand new room became a location for ladies dancing together, an work that may get somebody place in prison through the bar’s presence into the 1950s and 1960s. Though it ended up being an essential gathering destination, specifically for white working-class lesbians at that time, the ocean Colony ended up being Mafia-run and often raided by the authorities, like numerous pubs regarding the period, many famously in the Stonewall Inn.

The customers mostly squeeze into a “butch-femme” powerful, where in actuality the “butch, ” or higher masculine-dressing of this set, would make the “man’s” role within the relationship – purchase drinks, lead in dancing, available doorways, etc. (more…)