New York’s LGBTQ community is nervous after filming in Colorado

On Saturday, for the fourth time this month, the revelry at a Manhattan gay bar was interrupted by someone throwing a brick at the plate glass window.

The VERS bar’s windows are shatterproof, so the attacks didn’t hurt anyone, said its owner, David DeParolesa. But they nervously left the neighborhood.

“One disturbing thing about what’s happening with VERS is that this guy isn’t trying to break in, he’s doing it during business hours,” Mr. DeParolesa said. “There’s an ominous feeling that this isn’t going to stop or that it might escalate.”

The attack in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood came just hours before a gunman opened fire at an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, killing five people and injuring at least 18 others. The deadly mass shooting has rocked gay communities across the country.

This sense of uneasiness is particularly palpable in New York, one of the country’s gay cultural centers and the site of the 1969 Stonewall Inn riot, widely credited with birthing the modern gay rights movement.

New York’s LGBTQ community, like gay communities elsewhere, has been deeply troubled in recent years by verbal attacks on drag events, from club nights to drag queen children’s story hours in libraries.

New York City Council member Erik Bottcher linked those verbal attacks to real-life violence at a rally at the Stonewall Inn on Sunday.

“You can draw a clear line on these murders from the hateful rhetoric and lies that have been circulated about drag queen stories, about transgender people and gender non-conforming people.” said Mr Bottcherrepresenting the West Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, home to Manhattan’s largest concentration of LGBTQ bars and shops.

The brick throw at VERS was caught on surveillance video that Mr. DeParolesa shared with local news media and law enforcement agencies, as well as with Mr. Bottcher, who posted it on Twitter.

The video shows a man sneaking up to the bar, partially hiding behind the outdoor pantry of the eatery next door, and then hurling a brick at VERS. The man then scoots around the corner while shocked guests and passers-by turn to see.

New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Monday morning that her department is investigating incidents at Hell’s Kitchen, but declined to specify those incidents.

Ms Sewell appeared on CBS Mornings and was asked if police were investigating any threats following the Colorado Springs shooting.

“Anything that’s happening so horribly across the country, we’re monitoring and we want to make sure we have our resources to offer comfort to our communities,” she said. “We have had a number of incidents at Hell’s Kitchen that are of concern to us, which we have dedicated a number of resources to.”

Corey Kilgannon contributed reporting.

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