On Sunday, June 24th, after the 49th Annual Gay Pride Parade in the Village at midnight, at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 4th Street, a frightening and raucous mélee broke out. A large mob of loud, boisterous people, drunk or on drugs, acted out what the police sometimes refer to as ‘wilding.’ Everyone ran for cover, including my pal Robert Heide and myself, who had just emerged from a taxi when it all happened. Great numbers of police, apparently there for after parade crowd control, entered the fray.
I call this area of the Village “Little Tijuana,” because of the crowds and the porn shops and the Papaya Dog, all brightly lit each night. Young men and women sometimes in drag, hang out at this point looking for trouble and are ready to act out their rage. This kind of disruption is an every-day-night occurrence, not just on 6th Avenue but on Christopher Street from 7th Avenue South to the waterfront park. Summer is here. School is out. And temperatures are up. So we all must take care.
Earlier in the afternoon, we made it through the crowded streets of the Village, up to the 14th Street Subway, in which we were packed in like sardines, in order to get to the last night of Three Tall Women. After the show, we went to New York Noodletown in Chinatown, returning by cab to have coffee at the Reggio on MacDougal Street. Then came the great ‘wilding’ incident in which our own quick responses, and counter movements, prevented us from being knocked down and injured—or worse.