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Adam Eli
Photograph by James Emmerman

My New York: Adam Eli, queer activist

Voices 4 founder and queer activist Adam Eli shares how to protest and celebrate Gay Pride in NYC

Written by
David Goldberg

In 2016, When state-sanctioned violence broke out against LGBTQ Chechens,  Adam Eli founded the queer action and protest organization Voices 4 to defend oppressed queer citizens around the globe. They’ve marched and rallied outside of landmarks and embassies all over the city, with Eli’s apartment and the LGBT Center serving as headquarters. Between holding activist meetings, Eli works as a social-media consultant and writer. Just in time for Pride in NYC, we spoke with him about where he writes, organizes and relaxes in the West Village.

Meeting Hub: The LGBT Center
“Voices 4 meets there every single Wednesday, without fail, from 8 to 10pm. It’s the most extraordinary and special space in the city. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and they also have an incredible art collection, including a bathroom that Keith Haring graffitied all over.  The two groups that we’ve modeled ourselves after are ACT UP and Gays Against Guns, and both groups started there and still meet there, so it’s truly an honor and a pleasure. I feel like anyone can walk in there and be accepted for who they are. The people are so accommodating.
I just love it.”

Blowing off Steam: The Rosemont
“After meetings, a bunch of kids that are over 21 go to OOPS! at the Rosemont. It is a very popular drag night. There’s a sort of drag renaissance taking place in Brooklyn, and I know the Rosemont has played a big part in that. It feels more like a community center than a bar. It’s welcoming, warm and kind.”

Rendezvous spot: Marlton Hotel
“I spend a lot of time in the Marlton Hotel lobby. Because I am freelance and work from home, if I want to get coffee with someone, I always suggest it because it’s half a block from my apartment. It’s so cute—a great place to get brunch, meet someone for tea or go on a first date.” 

Classic culture: Jewish Museum
“One of my most beloved places in the world. I can celebrate my queer and Jewish identity without having to compromise on either. I had the honor of collaborating with the museum last Pride month [2017]. I used pieces from the museum’s permanent collection to create blog posts about the intersections of queer and Jewish identity.  My favorite piece in the collection is by queer African-American painter Kehinde Wiley, who recently painted Obama’s official portrait!”

Dinner treat: Elephant & Castle
“Somewhere in between casual diner and upscale dinner spot. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in NYC—warm, homey, unpretentious. The chicken with angel-hair pasta is delicious.”

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