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OpinionColumnistsLiza Featherstone

No drag queen bar? Get outta here

A view of New York City to the

A view of New York City to the north from the 75th floor of 432 Park Avenue October 15, 2014 the day after it earned the distinction of being the country's tallest residential skyscraper. Photo Credit: Getty/Timothy Clary

Legendary West Village drag bar Boots & Saddle, priced out of its home on Christopher Street, was banned by a local community board last month from a proposed new spot on Seventh Avenue South, near Morton Street.

Residents whined that it would be noisy and, according to the news website, one of them asked, "What about the children walking by?"

In another community board dustup reported by DNAinfo, Upper West Siders earlier this month sought to deny a wine bar an outdoor liquor license. They objected because they said the bar -- and its outdoor seating area -- attracts online daters. One resident complained, "I don't want children walking near 'Internet people' meeting."

I come at this differently. With crime rates low, many good public schools in gentrified neighborhoods, and better public parks, NYC has become a terrific place for families like mine -- and soccer moms like me.

Many younger couples used to move to the suburbs when the kids reached school age; now more of us stay in NYC. But I'm starting to think all this family-friendliness has gone too far.

Now, many upper-middle-class parents are too comfortable here. They assume that institutions like community boards should bend to their whims.

It's time to tell those parents that if NYC is not gentrified or sanitized enough, if you can't live near a drag queen bar, or are shocked by the bacchanalian practice of Internet dating, you should just leave now.

Bigoted parents should not be allowed to turn the city into a Legoland. There are far too many other New Yorkers to consider. For example, 17 percent of the New York City population is between the ages of 20 and 30. More than half of that population is single, according to the census.

Only residents who embrace the city's diversity and its cosmopolitan values -- and want to pass those along to their kids -- should live here.

No one wants to return to the days of high crime and urban decay. But at the same time, all this cleanliness and social order have had a cost: too many yuppies who think the urban landscape should be as welcoming as their living room.

It shouldn't be, because it ain't.

Liza Featherstone lives and writes in Clinton Hill.


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