Did you hear the news? A popular gay bar located in Buffalo, New York has been summarily shut down by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
And the reason?
A noise complaint. Yes, a noise complaint.
Per a story in the Buffalo News online:
“The decision not to renew the bar’s lease followed multiple noise complaints from tenants of the Touraine Apartments at 274 Delaware Ave., a HUD official said. The bar has operated as the Underground or Buffalo Underground on the ground floor of the federally subsidized apartment building since the early 1990s.
Before that, it operated as a gay bar under the name of the Hibachi Room in the 1970s and Me and My Arrow in the early 1980s.”
HUD gave a statement to Buffalo News: “While HUD recognizes the community sentiment surrounding the closure of The Underground, the Department’s primary duty is to provide safe and decent housing for low-income seniors.”
HUD shuts down the Underground, popular gay Buffalo hangout since 1974 https://t.co/kSjJr9PIaf
— The Buffalo News (@TheBuffaloNews) April 27, 2018
HUD, headed by Mr. Ben Carson under the Trump adminstration cited a number of complaints. Here is an example:
One resident, a HUD report stated, “began by stating that he has nothing against gay people and that XXX has a relative that is gay.” That resident went on to say “he believes drug dealings are going on at the bar, that Underground Niteclub patrons are rude to the residents, they sit on the steps of Touraine Apartments loitering.”
The paper adds:
The bar’s former co-owner Andy Munroe, who sold the bar to Tiede in 2013, called the decision by HUD “ridiculous.”
“The Underground has generated a lot of money for charities, done a lot of good work, including fundraisers for Children’s Hospital,” Munroe said. “A lot of good has come out of that place, and for HUD to close it down is just unthinkable.”
You can read the rest of the story here.
What is truly sad about the decision by HUD to shut this club down is the reality that gay bars have been shutting down at a vanishing speed in recent years.
But usually, the closures are due to financial reasons. To our knowledge, this is the first time in recent memory the U.S. Government has stepped in to slam close the doors of a gay bar.