Photo: via No Parking Facebook
Establishments catering to the gay Latino/black communities have been taking heavy hits so far this year. In February, it was announced that San Francisco’s famous and only Latino gay bar, Esta Noche, would shutter its doors for a “New York style lounge,” breaking locals’ hearts in the process. Pioneering Washington Heights gay bar No Parking has met a similar fate- this time making way for a brand new Planet Fitness. Owner Brian Washington Palmer says that the landlord made a deal with the fitness mega chain that they couldn’t fight.
When it opened eight years ago, No Parking became a haven for the local LGBTQ community.
“No Parking really broke new ground,” said Juan Rosa, an uptown LGBT advocate, to the NY Daily News. “For the first time, the LGBT community of color had a place of their own in their own neighborhood. We didn’t have to trek all the way down to the Village to have a good time.”
Over the years it was opened, No Parking was known for its long lines, its cozy atmosphere and circular bar-which was always topped with flowing cocktails and, of course, hot and chiseled go-go dancers. Before its closure, the bar can be credited to inviting the opening of other gay Uptown hangouts, like El Morocco and recently opened Castro, where locals can find refuge after No Parking is gone.
“I feel like No Parking was the ‘Cheers’ of Uptown,” says Cash Carter, a photographer that took nightlife shots at the bar.“It can never be replaced.”