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Man Claims Anti-Gay Assault by Staff of NYC's Corner Bistro

This account from BlackBook's Nick Haramis is certainly not what I'd expect to happen at a popular burger joint in the heart of New York's West Village (331 W 4th St), but it deserves attention and investigation:

Cornerbistro"The recap: My boyfriend sat down at a four-top. A man—a busboy or a waiter, definitely not a host—told him that our group couldn’t sit down. 'You have to order food,' he said. 'We’ll start with fries,' said my boyfriend, not moving. The man then grabbed the back of his shirt, at which point I reached in, instinctively, to take his hand away. I was then thrown down, the side of my head the last thing to hit the ground. There was some confusion as my boyfriend tried to stop the whole thing, and was then punched in the face, while the Bistro worker screamed 'faggots' a few times, for good measure."

More at BlackBook....

UPDATE: Answers to some of the questions that have been raised.

(image source)

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  1. All right, New York Gays: make these bigoted bistro bastards' business suffer. You may not close them down, but teach them a lesson.

    This is what John Lewis and those that intergrated restaurants and diners went through 45 years ago...and NOT just down South.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 4, 2009 2:41:29 PM

  2. "We came for an order of fries, but left with a black eye, a few welts, and an employee screaming “faggots” as he threw me to the floor."

    "We left, of course, flagging down a nearby cop car to explain what had happened. The two officers spoke with the Bistro worker, and came back apologizing: “There’s really nothing we can do. You aren’t visibly hurt.""

    What about the black eye and welts?

    Posted by: Wes | Feb 4, 2009 2:42:03 PM

  3. I know the West Village is barely gay anymore, but come on New York homos - SHUT THIS PLACE DOWN!

    Posted by: wisebear | Feb 4, 2009 2:43:55 PM

  4. call them now Tel: (212) 242-9502 and complain

    the manager just said to me "I don't know what you're talking about"......Black Book guy make a formal complaint, and sue them too....lawyers help this guy!

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 4, 2009 2:46:21 PM

  5. When I lived in NYC someplace like this wouldn't be boycotted. We'd just show up at the place en mass and "subtly educate" the business owner as to the consequences of allowing bigotry to run his business instead of economics.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 4, 2009 2:48:24 PM

  6. If that happened to me or my would be burnt to the ground

    Posted by: Ford | Feb 4, 2009 2:51:20 PM

  7. Horrifying. I guess the options are:
    1) Boycott it.
    2) Mob it (they can assault and eject four people, but probably not forty).
    3) Document it (return with cameras, cameraphones, friends/acquaintances who work for the press).
    4) Surprise it. Call the health department and strongly request an inspection.

    Posted by: David D. | Feb 4, 2009 2:52:02 PM

  8. So... did police blatantly ignore the welts and black eye when they said "You aren't visibly hurt?"

    Because if they did, they deserve to be scrutinized as well.

    Posted by: Wes | Feb 4, 2009 2:55:44 PM

  9. I want to read JUST ONE ARTICLE where the Gay folk BEAT THE LIVING HELL out of their attackers! GHEEZUZ Keerist why is it always the Gay person getting thrown around like a rag doll? The victims tend to be young gay men that no doubt get to the gym once in a while, they have the balls to be rude and aloof to men they don't find attractive, but when they're assaulted they seem to melt into the floor.

    And before any silly queen suggests I'm excusing the attack I'm not. I said I'M NOT EXCUSING THE ATTACK. (We heard you twice the first time :-)

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 4, 2009 3:03:01 PM

  10. Seems surprising. Last time we were there, there was three gay couples mildly passing a weekday meal. I go there all the time with my boyfriend and with co-workers and the staff always seems very nice and accomodating if a little harried and understaffed.

    The place fills up quickly and there's often jockeying for good table space. Wouldn't be surprised if there was more to the story and the "persecuted" wasn't more involved in the altercation than just trying to order food.

    Posted by: HavingWords | Feb 4, 2009 3:03:06 PM

  11. there could easily be two sides to this story ....

    let's say two gay guys sit themselves at a 4-top in a busy Village bistro ... in a busy hosted diner, this is ultra-rude X 2 ... rude for sitting yourselves, rude because 2 people are now taking up a 4-top ...

    staff asks them to move, the gay boys throw attitude, staff tries to toss them out of restaurant, etc ...

    spiteful guys might lie about being called "faggots" to hurt the bistro's business and teach it a lesson.

    seems like there would've been a witness or two to such scene, it'd be interesting to find them.

    Posted by: mike in manhattan | Feb 4, 2009 3:04:00 PM

  12. As WES points out... "black eye" = "aren't visibly hurt"?

    We're not getting the full story here. If you're going to report it, be accurate. It's irresponsible to make a claim that blatantly contradicts itself.

    "If it doesn't make sense, it isn't true." - Judith Sheindlin

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 4, 2009 3:08:50 PM

  13. somewhere, someplace there is an "allegedly" missing from this report.

    Posted by: Dan B | Feb 4, 2009 3:09:04 PM

  14. WTF!
    It will be interesting to see if this shitty business suffers any consequences for it's inept management/employees?

    Posted by: SFshawn | Feb 4, 2009 3:11:33 PM

  15. I smell a bullshit story from a mile away. The first flag goes up when the writer claims they sat themselves at a table and "waited for service". Haven't been to The Bistro in years but I'm pretty sure you don't seat yourself at a prime table on a busy Friday night. The "Hungry and thirsty" party of four only wanted an order of fries. They claim to have suffered a black eye and "welts" but the responding police say they weren't visibly injured.
    It sounds to me like the "hateful little shit with anger issues" was one of these two over-dramatic high maintenance queens, and the bartender got it right by refusing to do anything to indulge these "assholes".
    The only possible unresolved part of this story is whether or not someone called one of them a "faggot', and considering the whole thing sounds like a lie, I seriously doubt it. Gay people can be rude, obnoxious customers just like the rest of the world.

    Posted by: Tom | Feb 4, 2009 3:17:45 PM

    If you're reading this and live in NYC, STOP READING TOWLEROAD, and get your ass down to the Corner Bistro NOW and ask them what the FUCK they're doing assaulting people AT ALL.

    This JUST happened. He wrote the story TODAY. Obviously no one else is doing anything. The cops, the witnesses, the fucking VICTIM are doing nothing. So if you, yes YOU, don't go do something, like, NOW, NO ONE WILL.

    SO GO.

    Jesus fucking christ what is happening

    Posted by: JeffRob | Feb 4, 2009 3:21:47 PM

  17. Well, thats the thing though. Why isn't the victim doing anything? Why aren't there at least photos of the injuries? What if the Corner Bistro isn't really at fault?

    The story doesn't exactly add up as it stands. I'm not saying its untrue, but questions need to be asked and answered. Before everyone goes breaking windows and busting doors down, maybe they should find out if this is a legitimate complaint first. You'll be making a fool of yourself if it turns out it wasn't.

    Two sides to everything.

    Posted by: Wes | Feb 4, 2009 3:34:35 PM

  18. All right, you New York City Towleroadies who are familiar with this bistro have got the rest of us thinking, "maybe there is less here than meets the black eye."

    Well, if the couple was mistreated and slurs were used then make the bistro suffer. If the couple is lying to us, well...well...well, why don't you New City gay folks stop bothering the rest of us in this country with your neurotic gay "element". Can't y'all make them behave and stop makin' up stuff?....a bunch of gay Tawana Brawleys.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 4, 2009 3:35:46 PM

  19. the "we'll start with fries" is kind of a red flag to me...

    the place is always a zoo....sounds like the staff felt a long cheapskate evening coming on...just sayin'

    Posted by: doug | Feb 4, 2009 3:51:46 PM

  20. There sure are a hell of alot of judge/jury/executioners that comment on this website. We only know one side of this story and even what we know is suspect (as pointed out by others).
    I've been to the Bistro many times and there's ALWAYS a huge line and you ALWAYS have to wait to be seated so if they were indeed 2 people that sat themselves at a 4 top then they were wrong to start off with. I'm not saying they deserved to be assaulted or called names, but it does seem to me there is a possibility they are crying wolf here.
    I would also like to mention that every time I've been there I've seen other gays and the service has always been fine. Sure they can be surly and short, but it's a freaking diver bar not a 4 star restaurant.

    Posted by: Cameron | Feb 4, 2009 3:59:09 PM

  21. I live two blocks away from the Corner Bistro. Before I go out of my way to try and ruin a business that's been in this neighborhood for years and years, I would like to see some proof that they've done something wrong. Something simple, like a photograph of these welts. Maybe a corroborating witness. A badge number of one of the officers who responded to the complaint. Something other than "I said so."

    Posted by: Yeek | Feb 4, 2009 4:06:53 PM

  22. This potential "immigrant" woulda been tagged and bagged if he tried that shit with me. I know this place...and i think it's a tad premature to blame the management and owners for an ignorant off the street employee's behavior. However, I'm not ruling it out.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 4, 2009 4:08:28 PM

  23. the re-cap certainly doesn't tell the story that's posted at BlackBook--its missing certain elements that include the earlier mentioned 3 friends that were with them.... what happened to said friends? and the fact that Haramis waited 5 days to blog about the incident? something smells more "fashionista" about this than homophobic.

    Posted by: my2cents | Feb 4, 2009 4:11:55 PM

  24. Yeah, this is awfully suspect, but let's not start out skeptical of a victim's story...and the victim blaming here is...well, it's predictable.

    As to the witnesses, a couple was attacked in front of a crowded restaurant in scottsdale...with no witnesses coming forward during the investigation. So that's meaningless.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 4, 2009 4:36:27 PM

  25. I live down the street from Corner Bistro and have been to the place many times. Maybe there is more to the story here because I know for a fact the it's almost impossible to get a table in that place specially on a Friday night nearing midnight. And there is always a long line to get a table. Also, the sequence of events do not make sense, your boyfriend sits down, the waiter tells you that your group can't sit down but then he asks you to make an order, you say you'll start with the fries then all of a sudden a fistfight ensues.

    It just does not make sense to me. Maybe the writer can give us some more insight.

    Posted by: donsnyc | Feb 4, 2009 5:24:41 PM

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