As with many things, it seems a little hard to decide just where to start sometimes. Truth is that the simplest way is to start in the beginning. After all everything has a beginning right? It doesn’t matter if you are talking about a problem, a building, a movement, a person, hell it doesn’t even matter if you are talking about the planet or the galaxy. Everything has a beginning that can be pinpointed and dated. What we don’t know is where and when things will end. Another big thing we cant predict is how things will evolve through time. Look at the US Postal Service. Years ago it was literally unfathomable to think that such a staple of America not being the primary method of written communication between two people living on different sides of the country. Then the telegraph came along allowing people to contact each other almost immediately if need be. And at that immediately was considered to be somewhere within the same day.
Then came Alexander Graham Bell and this new contraption he had invented called the telephone. Now the rich could even talk to each other while in two different cities. Oh how the world was changing. Now the Post Office is outdated by e-mail which in and of itself is fast becoming obsolete to things like Skype where we go on line and talk to the screen on the computer and see the person we are calling in real time. Email documents are sent to destinations around the world faster than the speed of light. The Pony Express, state of the art in mail delivery in its day has evolved into what we affectionately refer to as snail-mail today. The telephone, well we all knows what happened there. You most likely have been interrupted by God only knows how many texts and facebook posts as you have read this article.
My point is that things change as they advance through time. And there is a lot of truth to the saying that if you don’t change with the times, you are done. We all love our nightlife and in the gay community the clubs have been a big part of what has brought us all together. As you look around the country you can see many beloved establishments have faded off into the rainbow with nothing but memories left behind. Now I don’t want to sound meloncollie here but it is the truth. Things either evolve with the times or they fade off into memories. Right here in New Haven we have had the honor of being part of one of those iconic establishments for the past fifteen years. I am talking of Gotham Citi Café. Robb Bart started his club in a restaurant space located in a building on what was considered at the time to be the outskirts of the downtown area. As popularity increased and more and more people started coming to what was fast becoming one of Connecticut’s more happening gay clubs, Robb was faced with either simply maintaining his club as is with lines waiting outside to get in, or expand. And expand he did. The club grew out of the basement restaurant space into what is today three floors of party nightclub space know as the Titan Entertainment Complex. Or better yet, Gotham Citi Café. His club has become not only known through out Connecticut as one of the best clubs, multiple awards adorn the walls of the Square bar on the upper level with a couple from Out Magazine declaring Gotham Citi to be one of the top 50 gay clubs in the world.
During the years, Robb has not allowed that status to go to his head. He has always maintained his focus on being there for the gay community. He has used his success to allow him to sponsor many things for the community including footing the bill for Connecticut to be represented in the New York City Pride parade. When confusion and disorganization thwarted New Havens Pride celebrations he sponsored a Pride Block party every year since where everyone is welcome. It is that dedication and attention to our community that has had Gotham holding the position as Connecticut’s leading nightclub for 15 years running serving not just the gay community but the straight community as well. He has done it by being responsive to the times, and he is about to do it again. August 27th Gotham will be hosting its “The Last Dance on Crown” party. That’s right folks. Gotham Citi café is moving to 169 East Street, into the old R Bar space. The days of eight and nine hundred people coming out to a gay club has faded. And being that one of the key things required for a successful party is for people to feel cozy but not cramped just didn’t work with three to four hundred people in a space fit for twelve hundred. The new location will do just that for the current size of the party on Saturday nights with the added advantage of great free parking and a beautiful outdoor patio for the smokers in the crowd. And just wait for next year’s block party! The old complex on Church and Crown will be renamed “Empire” and will continue to be open three nights a week. OZ, the after party, will be renamed “Insomnia” and will continue to be open for after hours. (Anyone partying at GOTHAM will have free entry.)
So in closing, things will always be changing in our lives. This move is a fantastic step into the future for an iconic club like Gotham. A new space, and new atmosphere, a new future that promises many more great memories and times for all of us. Robb has been working on this plan for the last two years that I know of. I am very excited by what he has come up with and want to say; Thanks Robb for not throwing in the towel to these economic times. And thanks again for as always keeping the community in mind.