Therapy, a popular gay watering hole in Hell’s Kitchen, has been forced by the city to shut down temporarily after a neighboring building was deemed structurally unstable.
The bar located at 348 West 52nd Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, will remain closed until the building at 350 West 52nd is partially demolished, according to the city Department of Buildings (DOB), which is overseeing the matter. Another establishment — Stiles Farmers Market at 352 West 52nd — was also forced to shut down.
“I know this will be hard to understand but it is out of our control,” said a notice posted on Therapy’s website. “We love you and will update you as we learn more. Please keep us in your thoughts.”
It is not immediately clear what exactly went wrong with the building next to Therapy, but the city issued vacate notices just as Pride-related festivities were heating up during what will be an historic June featuring WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
DOB records show that the building next to Therapy received vacate orders as far back as 2017. Out gay City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents Hell’s Kitchen, indicated in a tweet that the issue may have been building up for some time.
“It is shameful that the owner of 350 W. 52nd Street has allowed that building to deteriorate over the course of many years,” Johnson said, adding, “it is imperative” that the bar and market reopen as soon as possible.
Therapy posted on Facebook shortly after midnight on June 1 announcing that bar representatives were in touch with city agencies as well as Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman, who are all among elected officials representing the area.
Contractors and engineers were slated to begin necessary work on the affected building later that day and Therapy posted to Facebook in the afternoon showing what appeared to be construction work underway.
A timetable on a potential re-opening date has not been announced, but DOB officials confirmed that Therapy could re-open once engineers determine that the site is secure and safe for the public.
Therapy, which opened in 2003, hosts drag shows five nights per week and boasts happy hour specials and nightly DJs. It sits across the street from another popular gay night spot, Industry Bar.
Multiple attempts to reach the owner of Therapy by phone were unsuccessful.