The Decline and Fall of the Gayborhood

It's noted in The New York Times which takes the cancellation of the Halloween parade in the Castro as its peg. Andrew "The End of Gay Culture" Sullivan, naturally, is psyched. And of course I, too, am glad to see gay and lesbian Americans taking their rightful place as equal citizens.

On the other hand, I do think it's worth wondering what the consequences of all this will be for our urban ecology. When I see Atrios going on about "the Village," my instinct is still to read that as my hometown, Greenwich Village, New York, NY (pictured above) which I suppose I didn't realize was a "gay" neighborhood when I was little anymore than I realized that there might be a gay angle to the annual Village Halloween Parade. These neighborhoods, scattered in major cities across the country, have a unique and congenial character and though their disappearance would obviously be a small price to pay for equality, I think it should be recognized as a price. I'm not quite sure I have the chops to right the straight person's appreciation of the vanishing gay neighborhood, but I think one should be written, so I'll nominate Garance Franke-Ruta who grew up in the same area.

Photo by Flickr user Tiseb used under a Creative Commons license