The Notorious 'SLIDE' Club
Inside Ted Lampron's historical suspense thriller "BLEECKER STREET," the past comes alive on the streets of Lower Manhattan. The novel brings to the surface the harsh reality of life in New York at the turn of the century. Featured in the narrative of the book is a description of the legendary 'SLIDE' club, a notorious nightclub for deviants.
In his book Gay New York, George Chauncey identified the 1890s as one of the earliest periods in the city when one very specific, and “notorious,” aspect of the emerging gay male community – the subculture of flamboyantly effeminate “fairies” – became noticed by a wider public. He posited that this subculture was more fully and publicly integrated into working-class than middle-class New York.
Chauncey explains the definition of a fairy in this specific 19th-century context:
The Slide was popularly identified by 1890 as New York’s “worst dive” because of its fairies. A “slide,” in prostitutes’ jargon of the time, was “an establishment where male homosexuals dressed as women and solicited men,” according to Chauncey. Contemporary newspapers, purporting to defend the public’s morals, spotlighted the most sensational aspects of this underworld. The Slide was closed by police in 1892 and the proprietor convicted of keeping a “disorderly house.”