Philly promoter attacked amid rash of NYC anti-gay violence

Dan Contarino, former promoter of the popular “Shaft” party at Shampoo nightclub, was assaulted in New York City last night, marking the sixth reported incident of apparently anti-gay violence in Manhattan this month.

Contarino posted a public update on Facebook this morning, including a photo of his brutally godawful black eye and swollen face: “THANKS FOR CALLS…. GAY BASHED LAST NITE…. back from small surgery…. CHEST XRAYS THIS AM…. suspect still at large… police n media waiting to interview me… U JUST WANNA CRY N MOVE ON….”

He posted again briefly this afternoon, seemingly in good spirits, noting that he was still at the police precinct.

Bruce Yelk of NightLifeGay reported the incident earlier today, offering more detail about the beating:

“Shock, outrage, anger sums up how I am feeling today as one of my very good friends was gay bashed last night in New York City. Dan Contarino, former promoter of Shampoo Nightclub’s ‘Shaft’ Fridays, was jumped last night at Avenue D & 4th Street. Allegedly, witnesses are reporting the assailant was yelling “f*ggot” as he was kicking and beating Dan. Neighbors rushed to Dan’s aid and chased after the attacker but unfortunately he got away. The police are investigating the assault now and have not determine[d] it a hate crime.”

PW spoke with Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, to find out more about this disturbing streak of apparent hate crimes, which include the murder of 32-year-old Mark Carson last Friday night.

Stapel says: “Basically what we are looking at is the May 5 attack near Madison Square Garden; May 7 we had a report of an attack in Union Square; May 8 was a report of [an attack] at Pieces Bar in the West Village; May 9 we had the report of an attack by the PATH station in Manhattan on 33rd Street; on May 10 we had the Mark Carson homicide; and then today is the attack [against Contarino].”

Asked if this streak of LGBT-bashing attacks is statistically unusual for New York City — because it sure feels like it — Stapel says: “The sad fact is that we often see multiple incidents of hate violence in New York City around this time of the year as the weather starts to get warmer and people get outside more.” That said, she notes that there are two anomalies: the number of extremely violent attacks within such a short period of time, and the number of attacks in the East and West Village, generally well known as gay-friendly neighborhoods.

Contarino’s attack, ironically, occurred on the same night that thousands of people — including Christine C. Quinn, the first openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council — hit the streets in an organized action to protest the month’s violence. Stapel says the Anti-Violence Project, a sponsor of last night’s protest, is already moving to organize a series of Friday community-safety nights to bring people together and try to prevent such violence from recurring.

After PW hung up the phone with Stapel, a report of another attack surfaced. According to NBC New York:

“In the SoHo assault, law enforcement sources said the two men, 41 and 42, were walking on Broadway between Prince and Houston streets at about 5 a.m. when two men started yelling anti-gay remarks in English and Spanish. The victims are Hispanic.

The men were both punched, and one suffered an eye injury, sources said.”

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