THE DUCHESS 101 7TH AVENUE SOUTH, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1972-1982 (NOW VACANT, PICTURED) “On Wednesday evening, September 8th, the Duchess, the popular New York lesbian bar, after over two years of legal entaglement concerning its liquor license, sold what may be its last alcoholic beverages to two plainclothes policewomen from the NYC Morals Division. Within minutes seven policemen moved into the bar and seized all remaining liquor, the cash register and petty cash, according to employees of the Duchess. Bartender Flo Mitchell and doorperson Diane Radenacher were subsequentially handcuffed, taken downtown for ‘mug shots’ and issued desk appearances for selling alcohol without a license. Since that time the Duchess has been converted into a juice bar selling only soft drinks to its dwindling clientele. The sense of loss the community feels over the Duchess is aggravated by its having been the oldest and most popular of the four lesbian bars in the city. Intuitively people are acknowledging that if the Duchess can be forced to either close or serve men, then no women-only place is sacred. The irony is that the Human Rights Law which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender was one of the tangible victories of the women’s movement. Now lesbians are afraid that the law will be unfairly applied to them. On one side there are priviledged and powerful groups who use their clubs to keep ‘social undesirables’ clearly on the outside. On the other side there are the people denied priviledge and power who rely on their own clubs as a haven in an otherwise hostile world.” (Fran Greenfield, Womannews, 1982)                

THE DUCHESS 101 7TH AVENUE SOUTH, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1972-1982 (NOW VACANT, PICTURED) “On Wednesday evening, September 8th, the Duchess, the popular New York lesbian bar, after over two years of legal entaglement concerning its liquor license, sold what may be its last alcoholic beverages to two plainclothes policewomen from the NYC Morals Division. Within minutes seven policemen moved into the bar and seized all remaining liquor, the cash register and petty cash, according to employees of the Duchess. Bartender Flo Mitchell and doorperson Diane Radenacher were subsequentially handcuffed, taken downtown for ‘mug shots’ and issued desk appearances for selling alcohol without a license. Since that time the Duchess has been converted into a juice bar selling only soft drinks to its dwindling clientele. The sense of loss the community feels over the Duchess is aggravated by its having been the oldest and most popular of the four lesbian bars in the city. Intuitively people are acknowledging that if the Duchess can be forced to either close or serve men, then no women-only place is sacred. The irony is that the Human Rights Law which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender was one of the tangible victories of the women’s movement. Now lesbians are afraid that the law will be unfairly applied to them. On one side there are priviledged and powerful groups who use their clubs to keep ‘social undesirables’ clearly on the outside. On the other side there are the people denied priviledge and power who rely on their own clubs as a haven in an otherwise hostile world.” (Fran Greenfield, Womannews, 1982)