KOOKY’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE 149 WEST 14TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1960-1970s (NOW EL PARAISO, PICTURED) “When a new lesbian bar named Kooky’s (pronounced ‘Cookies’) opened on West Fourteenth Street, I decided to try my luck there. Kooky’s was reputed to be a front for the mob, which supposedly ran all the gay and lesbian bars in New York. What scared me most was the prospect of being caught in a bar raid, Police were the most likely to raid gay and lesbian bars at election time, when officials were promising to ‘clean up’ the city - meaning, they would rid it of gay people and prostitutes. A law against masquerading - that is disguising oneself - was invoked as a pretext for persecuting gay people. When the police raided a lesbian bar, they had to release only those customers over the age of eighteen who were wearing three visible pieces of women’s clothing. If the police collected any information, such as a home address, place of work, or school, they often notified landlords, employees, principles or deans, and family members. Lesbians could be deprived of homes, jobs, an education, or even children without the benefit of a trial, without ever having been arrested - all for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I often asked myself whether going to Kooky’s was worth the risky combination of potential arrest, bad booze, and high prices.” (Karla Jay, Tales of the Lavender Menace, 1999) 

KOOKY’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE 149 WEST 14TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1960-1970s (NOW EL PARAISO, PICTURED) “When a new lesbian bar named Kooky’s (pronounced ‘Cookies’) opened on West Fourteenth Street, I decided to try my luck there. Kooky’s was reputed to be a front for the mob, which supposedly ran all the gay and lesbian bars in New York. What scared me most was the prospect of being caught in a bar raid, Police were the most likely to raid gay and lesbian bars at election time, when officials were promising to ‘clean up’ the city - meaning, they would rid it of gay people and prostitutes. A law against masquerading - that is disguising oneself - was invoked as a pretext for persecuting gay people. When the police raided a lesbian bar, they had to release only those customers over the age of eighteen who were wearing three visible pieces of women’s clothing. If the police collected any information, such as a home address, place of work, or school, they often notified landlords, employees, principles or deans, and family members. Lesbians could be deprived of homes, jobs, an education, or even children without the benefit of a trial, without ever having been arrested - all for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I often asked myself whether going to Kooky’s was worth the risky combination of potential arrest, bad booze, and high prices.” (Karla Jay, Tales of the Lavender Menace, 1999)