Brooklyn Latinx Punk Hub Don Pedro is Gentrification’s Latest Victim, Will Close in May

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Don Pedro has become the latest in a long string of Brooklyn venues to fall prey to gentrification’s relentless creep. New York-centric news site DNAinfo reported Wednesday that the property housing the 16-year-old Bushwick institution was sold to a limited liability company in December of 2016 and that the venue will close in May. The announcement is disheartening for many people in the community.

The bar began life as an Ecuadorian restaurant operated by the family of building owner Medardo Murillo, but evolved into a divey nightspot, serving up Mexican food and hosting punk shows and dance parties. Over the years, it remained friendly to its older Latinx clientele, long-time residents of the neighborhood who still stopped in for a drink, while also becoming a home for manifestations of radical Latinx youth culture, such as Riot Chica, a monthly party that centers Latinx femmes and LGBTQ folk.

Don Pedro’s. Photo via Quiet Color
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Organized by Shomi Noise, a DJ and the singer of punk Selena cover band Amor Prohibido, the riot grrrl-inspired night features Latina-led punk bands and alternating DJs. Don Pedro was its most consistent location. Though the party has been on hiatus, Shomi had hoped to bring it back to Don Pedro in the near future. She expressed sadness and regret that now it won’t be possible, and that the venue itself will be gone.

Speaking over the phone, she calls Don Pedro, “one of the last welcoming spaces to the New York underground. They hosted drag shows and a lot of Latino punks would gather there.” The DJ will try to find another place to hold Riot Chica, but says Don Pedro was the perfect place for it. “It was Latino-friendly. The neighborhood was very Latino for a long time, but now, with gentrification, you are seeing less and less of those roots,” she says.

Shomi Noise sings at an Amor Prohibido party. Photo by Maro Hagopian
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Musician Suzy Exposito, who has performed at Don Pedro with her band Shady Hawkins and often went to Riot Chica, explains what the loss of the location means. “It was this wonderful place where Latinx punks and queers and freaks in general can go and experience our culture in a non-patriarchal space,” she tells Remezcla over the phone, adding, “Anybody could go to Don Pedro, but it was such a welcoming space for specifically Latinx people.”

The news follows closely on the announcement that another Bushwick fixture, long-running DIY music venue Shea Stadium was closing temporarily while it seeks appropriate permits to operate. Don Pedro manager Danielle Giaquinto is quoted by DNAInfo as saying she was searching for a new location for the bar in Bushwick or Ridgewood and as stating that, “We definitely want to continue to be a venue. We’re not settling for anything less.”