One of the last photo shoots I got to do while in New York was at La Lanterna Caffe, a gorgeous Italian restaurant located at 129 MacDougal Street, the same spot as one of the most well-known lesbian bars of the 1920s: Eve's Hangout.
Check out the shoot after the jump--
The advent of Prohibition made the Village a prime destination for a stiff drink, thanks to the homemade wine prevalent in its many Italian restaurants. The flood of attention to the Village, fostered in part because of the discovery of its gay scene and increasing reputation for free-thinkers and alternative lifestyles, turned out to be a mixed bag for gay culture.
Increased interest meant increased press, and after a fussy columnist described the Hangout as “Not very healthy for she-adolescents, nor comfortable for he-men,” the bar was raided and shut down by the police. Eve was arrested for "obscenity" and "disorderly conduct," charges frequently leveled at proprietors of gay clubs, and as a Polish émigrée, Eve was deported. Though rumored to have opened a gay bar in Paris, she more likely lived in poverty.
For the year-plus it was open, though, Eve's Hangout provided a safe space for the queer community, so I was thrilled when the owners of La Lanterna happily agreed to let me shoot there. The food is divine (and inexpensive!), the staff is gracious, the setting is beautifully romantic, and the downstairs bar preserves the Prohibition-era feel. I highly, highly recommend paying it a visit if you find yourself in New York and in the mood for a little New York history.
Very special thanks to Vittorio Antonini and the staff at La Lanterna for the truly wonderful experience.