Druggings, Deaths and Robberies Put New York’s Gay Community on Edge

Now that the pandemic has subsided, many new bars have opened. Councilman Erik Bottcher – who represented much of the city’s gay hub in Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and the West Village – called it “the golden age of nightlife.”

The deaths come at a time when the LGBTQ community feels drawn on several fronts.

Over the past two years, state legislatures across the country have introduced hundreds of bills targeting transgender people and drag shows, according to LGBTQ advocacy groups.

Conservative political and media figures have accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children, a homophobic farce that combines homosexuality with pedophilia. And last month, a gunman killed five people and injured 18 people at an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs.

In addition, many gay bars are located in or near Midtown Manhattan, which has been transformed by the economic fallout during the pandemic and famous street crimes. VERS, a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, had a bricks thrown at its window four times in October and November.

Bar owner David DeParolesa said: “This neighborhood has an unpleasant quality, nothing has changed.

Ramirez arrived at the Ritz hotel, on West 46th Street, on April 20 and left in a taxi with three men around 3:15 a.m., his brother Carlos said. The men left him in the taxi a moment later and the driver quickly realized he was unresponsive. He is presumed dead about 90 minutes after leaving the bar. By the time his body was identified, someone had taken money from his account, his brother said.

The following month, Mr. Umberger, a political consultant from Washington, DC, arrived in Q, on West 48th Street, his mother, Linda Clary, said. His body was found five days later on the Upper East Side.


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