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Liquor Licenses Revoked from Homosexual Haunts in NYC

Dec. 16, 1963 - The issue of homosexuality in New York City became the focus today of increased attention by the State Liquor Authority and the NYPD. The Liquor Authority announced the revocation of the liquor licenses of two homosexual haunts that had been repeatedly raided by the police. The places were The Fawn, at 795 Washington St. near Jane St., and the Heights Supper Club at 80 Montague St. (pictured), Brooklyn. The city’s most sensitive open secret — the presence of what is probably the largest homosexual population in the world and its increasing openness — has become the subject of growing concern of psychiatrists, religious leaders, and the police. One division of the organized crime syndicate controls bars and restaurants that cater to the homosexual trade. Commenting today on the situation, Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy said: “Homosexuality is another one of the many problems confronting law enforcement in this city. However, the underlying factors in homosexuality are not criminal but rather medical and sociological in nature. Police jurisdiction is limited. But when persons of this type become a source of public scandal or violate the laws or place themselves in a position where they become the victims of crime, they do come within our jurisdiction. This matter is of constant concern to us in our efforts to preserve the peace and protect the rights of all the people.” The two latest places to be put out of business by the Liquor Authority were described by Donald Hostetter, Authority chairman, as “notorious congregating points for homosexuals and degenerates.” Mr. Hostetter said the Heights Supper Club had a signal-light system that “warned the boys to stop dancing with one another” when a newcomer was suspected of being a policeman. The Fawn has a back room to which an admission fee was charged and where “as many as 70 to 80 deviates” had parties on weekend nights. Most of the patrons were males, Mr. Hostetter said, but on occasion police found women dancing with women. Both places were so wary about nonmembers of the “fraternity” that the police used specialists known in the department as “actors” to get evidence.


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