In reminiscing on the influence of glam rock on his gay adolescence during the 1970s music critic Jim Faber evokes the Ninth Circle at 139 West 10th Street in New York's Greenwich Village as reported by The New York Times:
Though hugely popular in the mid- to late-1970s, the Circle defied the era's common gay-bar markets: leather men or clones. Instead, it embraced something mangier and more tethered to general youth culture. Weekends found the place teeming with teenage runaways, smart-ass college students, rough-trade hustlers and their collective admirers, serenaded by a jukebox with the Stones, Bowie and the Ramones. For a bonus, many of my teenage role models hung there: Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Edward Albee and Wayne County, along with newcomers like Richard Sohl, of the Patti Smith Band, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The bowling-alley-tight space meant you could mingle with all of them, creating a kind of queer-idol petting zoo. The Circle was for gay people who didn't aspire to join the movement's advancing orthodoxy of the '70s. We were outsiders within a world of outsiders, and proud to be.
The Circle was opened in 1962 by Bob Krivit who allegedly "had dealings with the mob" according to Gene Santoro in his 2000 book Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus. Krivit's stepson Danny said in an interview for djhistory that the Ninth Circle during the 1960s "was one of the main Village spots," and "there were a lot of rock'n'roll people there, music people" including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. However, Danny Krivit continues that "the Ninth Circle was kind of dying out by about 1970 or so" and the owner of the Stonewall Inn advised his stepfather to convert the place into a gay bar:
[A] friend of his owned the Stonewall and when that closed he said to my father I know you've had this great thing for years but you know the Village has really turned gay. If you just turn your place gay, all your troubles will be over and you'll be a success overnight. And literally that's what he did. The Ninth Circle went gay about 1971. He turned the restaurant downstairs into a disco and I started programming tapes for him.
In The Gay Metropolis historian Charles Kaiser writes that "patrons lined up at the same table every night to purchase their drug of choice," and former manager John Koch said that although never witnessing any payoffs "he was certain there were 'Christmas gifts' for the local precinct, and he believed the owner had 'big dealings' with police headquarters . . . 'which protected him all the way down.'" Krivit died in 1990, and the Circle shut its doors in 1993.
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