NEW YORK, NY – The owner of a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar said his business has been targeted three times by attacks in the past few weeks, but police are so far refusing to classify the repeated attacks as a hate crime.
The bar has had bricks thrown at it three times now in a matter of weeks.
This weekend, VERS lounge, located at 714 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, was targeted again. This time, a man looked into the window of the bar and then threw a brick at it. The window shattered, but nobody was injured inside.
The owner of the lounge isn’t letting the attacks scare him or his customers but says he is concerned about the response to the attacks by the New York City Police Department.
David DeParolesa, the owner of VERS feels his bar is being targeted because it is a gay bar, saying the attacks should be investigated as a hate crime.
He claims the NYPD isn’t so sure the attacks are motivated by hate against the LGBTQ+ community and said the department is trying to downplay the fact that it’s a gay bar being targeted. He says officers with the NYPD have told him it can’t be certain whether the attacks are hate-driven or not.
The NYPD did not respond to comment when asked about the incidents.
Instead, the NYPD is investigating ‘acts of criminal mischief’ at the bar.
After the latest attack, DeParolesa said he wasn’t going to be defeated by hate or the NYPD, saying he created a safe space for gay people in NYC and is now more emboldened than ever to keep it that way.
On Sunday night, he posted a pictured of the brick thrown at the window and the shattered window with a drink, urging his customers to “Come by and join us for a drink!”