Here's a cut-and-paste of the text. It really doesn't say too
much, but it's good to see knitting picked up by TNYT.
Trading the Noisy Gay Bar Scene for the Knitting
Many gay men in New York are looking for alternative ways to
socialize. A look at the surprising revival of the knitting
A men’s knitting night at
String Thing Studio in Brooklyn. Louis Boria, center, and
Woodie Howard are impressed by Jack O’Connor’s crochet work.
[note from Lucinda: the photo is clearly knitted lace!]
June 7, 2019
The conversation had just turned to night life in the city when
Louis Boria, an administrative assistant at Mount Sinai
Hospital, groaned. He sat in the back of the yarn shop, String
Thing Studio, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, knitting the beginnings
of a yoke sweater.
“There’s no more clubs,” said Mr. Boria, who is the organizer of
a weekly guys’ knitting night, which welcomes men and teenagers
no matter how they identify (as well as crocheters).
“So now we’re left with the bar scene and all those people are
packed into the bar.” Mr. Boria tried to remember the name of a
gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen and asked the seven men sitting at the
table with him if they knew.
The other knitters, drinking rosé from disposable cups, stared
blankly at Mr. Boria. He offered a few more details. “The guys
get up on the bars,” he said. Then someone figured it out:
“Yes!” said Mr. Boria.
“Clearly we’re not the clubby types,” said Jaime Andrade, who
was diligently stitching a teal short-sleeved sweater fringed by
lace, a birthday present for his sister.
The conversation shifted to industry gossip. Drew Ariana, a
designer, divulged a yarn shop’s financial trouble. Felicia Eve,
the owner of String Thing and an honorary female member that
night, said a woman dissed someone’s swatch on Instagram. Ms.
Eve wore a T-shirt that said, “I Knit Before It Was Cool.”
Soon, Jonathan Requillo, a store designer for Clinique, arrived
with another bottle of rosé. And finally, toward the end of the
night, Joe Major, a photographer, slipped in.
Mr. Major was having a rough week and wanted to be around
people. Going out for drinks is too expensive and he’s sick of
everyone glued to their phones, he said, so he decided to come
to the guys’ knit night instead.
As Mr. Major stitched a black beanie, Cairo Romaguera, who works
in H.I.V. prevention, took out his cellphone and began taking
pictures of Mr. Boria through a filter. The men laughed loudly
at the resulting image, which transformed Mr. Boria into a
woman. With all the excitement, Mr. Major dropped a stitch. His
mistake didn’t matter though. “The social interaction is
priceless,” he said.
Fed up with awkward small talk and impersonal interactions at
bars, some gay men in New York are looking for alternative ways
to connect. You couldn’t call it a knitting explosion, exactly,
but in small pockets — at yarn shops, apartments and gay bars
throughout the city — a new kind of knitting circle is emerging.
“I don’t feel like being in a bar or a club is conducive to
getting to know people,” said Michael Richman, who has a
business knitting jockstraps and harnesses and began a monthly
nude knit night in an apartment in Harlem last year. Mr. Richman
described the bar scene as “sensory deprivation,” meaning no one
truly sees or hears one another.
Still, some groups do meet at bars in the city, like the
bimonthly knit circle at the Holler, a queer bar in
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. But the intention is to bond over
a shared interest, not alcohol. After all, it can be challenging
to stop for a sip when you’re casting on stitches with both
This makes knitting circles especially appealing for those who
“The more anxious and uncomfortable you feel, the more you
drink,” said Alan Montes, who attends Mr. Richman’s nude knit
night and is in recovery. “At the knitting night, there’s no
evidence or example of that excess.” Several men at Mr.
Richman’s event said knitting in the nude fostered intimate
conversation. The men have discussed their coming out stories
and their childhood experiences being gay, topics that don’t
tend to arise in bars. Mr. Richman said several men have even
“We’ve reached a tipping point,” said Erik Heitz, one attendee,
about the bar scene. “You get dolled up and spend a ton of money
and New York City is costly, and you’re like, ‘Gosh, I spent
$100, and did I get what I wanted out of this? Could I spend $10
at Michael’s and bring a bottle of wine to this house party and
get a more genuine experience?’ Maybe so.”
In a more clothed and public setting downtown, about 10 men and
women waited for the doors to open at Club Cumming in the East
Village. By the time Knit@Nite, the bar’s weekly knitting
social, started at 6, all of the seats had been taken. Brini
Maxwell, one of the event’s hosts, showed off her handmade
1970s-inspired suit and yellow blouse.
Alan Cumming, the bar’s co-owner and a knitter himself, came up
with the idea for Knit@Nite. Sam Benedict, the manager at Club
Cumming, organized it. He tapped Josh Bennett, a knitwear
designer whom he described as “the hunk of the knit world” and
Ms. Maxwell, who is known as “the Martha Stewart of drag,” to be
The evening consists of raffle prizes, a potluck dessert, and
special guests, who tend to be celebrities of the fiber world
like editors at “Vogue Knitting” and London Kaye, the Yarn
Bomber, whose knitted street art has appeared on fences and
water pipes all over the city.
On June 25, during Pride Week, the special guest will be Frank
DeCaro, the actor and TV personality, to talk about his new
book, “Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business.”
Additionally, the knitted hearts that attendees made for
Valentine’s Day and donated to the Peyton Heart Project, a
nonprofit that raises awareness about suicide and bullying, will
be given out during the NYC Pride March, on June 30.
Several of the men from Mr. Boria’s knit night at String Thing
were also at Club Cumming. Richard Shen, who said he has been
turned away from women’s knitting circles, wore a headlamp while
he knit. Mr. Major took a selfie with Ms. Maxwell. And Mr.
Romaguera arrived with a plastic bag full of projects.
Standing back near the D.J., Mr. Romaguera pulled out a pair of
short shorts. They had a purple band, a knit drawstring, and a
brightly colored body in orange, blue, green, and hot pink. “I
told myself I wouldn’t knit this here,” he said, looping his
needles through the yarn. He had a crochet piece he needed to
Later, Mr. Romaguera walked over to a group of women sitting at
a table to show them the shorts. “There’s a pouch for the butt,”
he said. The women cooed. “Are you going to wear them without
underwear?” asked Kalliopi Aronis, who had come that night just
to hang out.
Mr. Romaguera noted that they were acrylic, and that he would be
wearing underwear. He figured he would use the shorts for the
But Ms. Aronis had another idea. “You should come pole dancing
with me,” she said. “And wear those. ”