Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Alina Gertsenshteyn Activity #6: Sexualized/Gendered/Queer Spaces
1. Hayden points out that “a ‘good’ neighborhood is usually defined in terms of conventional shopping, schools, and perhaps public transit, rather than additional social services for the working parent, such as daycare of evening clinics” (145). In my neighborhood there is a children’s toys/book store which closes at 9:00 pm during the weekdays. In the picture the words are in Russian because I live in a very Russian neighborhood (Brighton Beach). This is interesting because at that time a lot of children (especially really young ones) are sleeping or getting ready to settle down and don’t toy shop. So clearly these store hours are intended solely for working parents/adults to be able to buy things for their kids even with a late night work schedule. It is also conveniently located by the highway so it is easy to commute there and could cater to a wide range of people. Hayden points out that even though there is an increasing amount of families with both parents working they still have the same duties to children and they are not relinquished from the fact that they have to buy supplies/toys for their children to keep them happy. Toys and books are also helpful in cognitive growth and development. I also found a family medical clinic not too far from the store which closes at 7:00 pm during the week. This is very useful because sometimes even though an adult has a sick child he/she cannot take off from work so the child must wait for the parent to come home to be taken to a doctor.
2. There is this salon which does hair primarily for men. If you look at the sign it says “Jack Hairstyles for Men” but it also says “Ladies and Children’s Haircuts” in smaller letters under it. I do not know why the second line was added because I always pass this place and I have never seen a female or a child in there. There is a pool hall located on Coney Island Avenue and Brighton Beach and it is mostly men who go there (about 85%). Usually the men play billiards but there might be a couple of teenage girls in there playing some arcade games. When I was younger I would often go inside there with a girlfriend during the summer and we would usually walk in wearing short shorts and tank tops. Being practically the only females we would attract a lot of attention but we did not care- we went there when we were bored and wanted to play this game they had. Even the only two workers in the billiards place are two older men who have owned it ever since I remember. The guys there usually seem drunk as well and there is always a bunch of them smoking outside smelling like liquor. There is a lingerie store on Brighton which I thought catered only to Russian grandmas until I went in there one day and saw that they have some very naughty products there as well (which I will not disclose here). So just picture a hidden lingerie/sex shop for ladies only.
3. I do not know of any gay/queer places in my neighborhood because my “hood” is kind of traditional. However, recently I walked by a popular theater in Brighton and I saw an Ad for an upcoming drag queen show. This surprised me because usually that place features shows such as literature readings or ballets…and it is often occupied by older people or children (if it’s a kids show). I wonder if this signifies that my community is becoming more open minded towards the gay/queer lifestyle.
4. Most gay places in New York are in Manhattan especially in the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and The Village, but there are places throughout the whole NY area. Here are some examples I found on google: Bar Centrale (Hell’s Kitchen), Barracuda (Chelsea), Club Atlantis (Queens), there is a list of gay friendly hotels and the Marmara Manhattan hotel is on it, Hot Nude Yoga (NYC), Reebok Sports Club, etc. There are also a bunch of parties on venues, rooftops, cruises, etc.
5. I think that teenagers have a habit of making public places suitable for private things after dark. I heard stories of kids having sex in open places such as the beach (I live by one), parks, building rooftops, etc. This happens because they cannot always bring a girl/guy home because of parental rules. Even though these places are public at certain times they are deserted. For instance, nobody really goes to the beach at nighttime and there aren’t any cars passing by of course. So besides hooking up there are other private things going on such as urinating in public spots (all ages). This happens because bathrooms are not always accessible or nearby. Even when I was little my mother would let me pee behind buildings. Kids also use the same places mentioned before to smoke weed since they cannot home indoors. They are doing it for recreational purposes-to have fun, because they might be addicted, or to forget certain problems/relieve stress.