Mike Ruiz
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New Jersey's Oldest Gay Bar Could Close

Gay bar Feathers in New Jersey

Without the help of the community, Club Feathers may soon be plucked.

New Jersey's oldest gay nightclub, located in River Edge, is on the brink of closure due to the economic fallout of the current health crisis.

"We’re dying here," owner Paul Binetti told The Record, an N.J. newspaper. "A slow death. Our last hope was indoor dining."

Gov. Phil Murphy had originally planned to allow indoor dining Thursday. But the Democrat delayed the next phase after the pandemic resurged in states like California and Arizona.

The Garden State only recently flattened its curve after experiencing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. To date, at least 174,000 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 15,000 have died.

As a result, Club Feathers only sees about 50 customers every week, down from a high of 1,500. Four employees remain from a staff of 26.

Binetti launched a GoFundMe last week because "it has become clear that without everyone’s help we may have to close the doors forever," the description read. The club has raised about $15,000 of a $75,000 goal.

Club Feathers recently marked its 42nd anniversary; it opened June 21, 1978. Since then, visiting the club has remained a rite of passage for LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans in coming out.

"Most people here have come out of the closet, or when they first turned 21, the first place they go to was always Feathers," Binetti said. "Even today, I have people tell me, 'I've been coming here for 40 years,' and they’re still coming here."

On GoFundMe, he concluded, "Please join us in our fight to Save Feathers. We will need your support now and in the future, to save the place we have all come to know and love."

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