SWING RENDEZVOUS 117 MACDOUGAL STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1945-1965 (NOW CAFE REGGIO, PICTURED) “In 1945, a lesbian club called Swing Rendevous opened at 117 MacDougal Street. It closed in 1965, as LGBTQ nightlife moved north, towards (you guessed it) Christopher Street. By the 1980s, nightlife had moved out of the Village itself.” (South Village, 2014) “Kitty Genovese is famous for dying. Her murder made her name synonymous with American selfishness (sometimes called ‘The Bystander Effect,’) as she was stabbed to death steps from her door while neighbors looked on from the safety of their homes, doing nothing to help. Kitty was killed on March 13, 1964, and for the 50th anniversary of her senseless death, a new book has come out to discuss the act that has been oft-analyzed and never forgotten. But one part of the conversation that is rarely touched upon was the fact that Kitty was a lesbian. Kevin Cook‘s Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America includes the truth about Kitty’s life, the truth left out, the girlfriend that was erased in order for people to ‘not get distracted’ by the horrifying tragedy that occurred. Mary Ann Zielonko was Kitty’s lover, but was called her roommate, her friend during the trial that convicted Kitty’s killer, and in any other published reports about Kitty’s life and death. Mary Ann is still alive and openly discusses her relationship with Kitty. She shares the kinds of things that she feel safe talking about now, like the couple’s love of Greenwich Village (’the one place where I felt like I belonged’), pulp novels and folk music. In the book, Cook writes about New York in 1963, when homosexuality was illegal but underground gay and lesbian bars were popular places, and where Mary Ann first met Kitty: The Swing Rendezvous was an underground club at 117 MacDougal. The Swing had a long wooden bar scored with more initials than a grade-school desk, vinyl platters playing on the PA, multicolored scrims shading the lightbulbs overhead, women of all shapes and sizes crowding the dance floor. The dancers wore Shalimar, Arpege, and L’Aimant. They slow-danced to Piaf, Judy Garland, and Streisand’s ‘Cry Me a River.’ Some slow-danced even when the music changed and everybody else started doing the Twist or the Swim. One night Mary Ann was making her way through the fragrant crowd to the bar when a cute brunette appeared at her elbow, a girl she hadn’t seen before. Pegged slacks, a loose blouse, dark tousled hair. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ the girl asked.” (Trish Bendix, Afterellen.com, 2014) 

SWING RENDEZVOUS 117 MACDOUGAL STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1945-1965 (NOW CAFE REGGIO, PICTURED) “In 1945, a lesbian club called Swing Rendevous opened at 117 MacDougal Street. It closed in 1965, as LGBTQ nightlife moved north, towards (you guessed it) Christopher Street. By the 1980s, nightlife had moved out of the Village itself.” (South Village, 2014) “Kitty Genovese is famous for dying. Her murder made her name synonymous with American selfishness (sometimes called ‘The Bystander Effect,’) as she was stabbed to death steps from her door while neighbors looked on from the safety of their homes, doing nothing to help. Kitty was killed on March 13, 1964, and for the 50th anniversary of her senseless death, a new book has come out to discuss the act that has been oft-analyzed and never forgotten. But one part of the conversation that is rarely touched upon was the fact that Kitty was a lesbian. Kevin Cook‘s Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America includes the truth about Kitty’s life, the truth left out, the girlfriend that was erased in order for people to ‘not get distracted’ by the horrifying tragedy that occurred. Mary Ann Zielonko was Kitty’s lover, but was called her roommate, her friend during the trial that convicted Kitty’s killer, and in any other published reports about Kitty’s life and death. Mary Ann is still alive and openly discusses her relationship with Kitty. She shares the kinds of things that she feel safe talking about now, like the couple’s love of Greenwich Village (’the one place where I felt like I belonged’), pulp novels and folk music. In the book, Cook writes about New York in 1963, when homosexuality was illegal but underground gay and lesbian bars were popular places, and where Mary Ann first met Kitty: The Swing Rendezvous was an underground club at 117 MacDougal. The Swing had a long wooden bar scored with more initials than a grade-school desk, vinyl platters playing on the PA, multicolored scrims shading the lightbulbs overhead, women of all shapes and sizes crowding the dance floor. The dancers wore Shalimar, Arpege, and L’Aimant. They slow-danced to Piaf, Judy Garland, and Streisand’s ‘Cry Me a River.’ Some slow-danced even when the music changed and everybody else started doing the Twist or the Swim. One night Mary Ann was making her way through the fragrant crowd to the bar when a cute brunette appeared at her elbow, a girl she hadn’t seen before. Pegged slacks, a loose blouse, dark tousled hair. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ the girl asked.” (Trish Bendix, Afterellen.com, 2014)