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Leather Invaders Rankle Some Villagers

Locals question CB2’s fetish.

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Some West Village residents want to flog Community Board 2’s executive committee for approving a fetish fair on Weehawken Street, off Christopher, for October 7 without public review. “Something is very wrong here,” says Elaine Goldman, a local community activist who questioned if the board was guilty of a pro-leather bias. “Everything was under the radar with this.” Brad Hoylman, the openly gay board chair, explained that the executive committee approved the application on an emergency basis after organizers had missed the deadline, because they were raising money for the LGBT center. “We want to encourage street fairs that reflect the diversity of the neighborhood,” he says. “There’s a feeling in the community that they’ve been overrun by cookie-cutter street fairs run by professional promoters.” After paying a $5 donation, over-21 visitors can watch flogging and rope-bondage demonstrations. No alcohol will be served, and the NYPD told organizers that men have to wear at least a two-inch strip of leather up their backsides. (Women are allowed to go topless.) “It’s going to be like a big family reunion,” says Robert Valin, president of the sponsor, New York Leather Invasion. “We’re a little bit dysfunctional and twisted.”

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