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Media File
Ramrod Bar
Date: ca. 1973–1985
Remarks: The Ramrod was a leather and western bar that stood at 394 West Street around 1973 to 1985. It was one of several bars for gay men that dotted the western end of Christopher Street and the adjacent blocks of West and Weehawken Streets. The block between Christopher and Tenth Streets, where the Ramrod was located, faced the then-unused West Side Elevated Highway and was directly across from the dilapidated Pier 45 (“Christopher Street Pier”), a popular space for nude sunbathing, cruising, and general socializing among gay men. From the 1970s to the mid-1980s, the bars and sidewalks brimmed with men on weekend afternoons, especially during warmer weather. The block was featured in the Village People’s video for “YMCA” (1978), with the Ramrod’s signage clearly in the background. The bar’s prominence in the gay male social scene perhaps contributed to making it a target when Ronald K. Crumpley, a former transit police officer, killed two men and wounded six during a shooting spree in the West Village on November 18, 1980. He fired shots outside a deli on Washington and Charles Streets before proceeding to the Ramrod and firing forty rounds onto the bar using a stolen Uzi. Two days after the shooting, 1,500 marched in a candlelight vigil from Sheridan Square to the Ramrod.