Will New Jersey lose another LGBTQ landmark nightclub?
Club Feathers, New Jersey’s oldest LGBTQ club still in operation and the last in Northern New Jersey, was closed for four months. It has since reopened with strict limits on operation due to the pandemic. Now, Feathers’ owner, Paul Binetti is warning that without financial assistance from the community the 42-year-old establishment may close for good.
$75,000 is needed to support the River edge landmark
On Sunday, Binetti launched a GoFundMe calling on supporters to contribute to the fundraiser’s $75,000 goal to support the River Edge landmark LGBT business to keep it open.
“We are fighting tooth and nail to stay open,” Bunetti told Out In Jersey. “Rent is due now past four months. Our taxes are due for two quarters now. It’s extreme—and that’s not including any other bills.”
If Feathers were to close permanently, New Jersey would lose a landmark in local LGBTQ history. “Most people don’t know the history of Feathers, but back in the day the local government tried to shut us down multiple times. The original owner fought back. This place was set on fire twice with Molotov cocktails trying to burn them out of the place, but that didn’t work,” said Binetti. “Then we would get harassed and people would drive by, but we fought the hatred.”
Over the years, the club has always supported the LGBTQ community. Binetti said Feathers has helped countless LGBTQ young adults whose parents kicked them out find work and housing. Feathers has also paid LGBTQ youth’s rent and cooked for impoverished LGBTQ and straight residents.
Nonetheless, this staple in New Jersey LGBTQ life could go out of business, and the owner said the federal government has refused to help. Binetti applied numerous times for forgivable loans under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program but was either declined or received no response. The program has come under fire for funding large businesses and bailing out houses of worship, presumably even anti-LGBTQ churches.
In the meantime, Feathers is offering outdoor dining Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 am to 10 pm, Thursdays to Saturdays from noon to 11 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm. In addition, the club is hosting as often as possible evening drag shows, all while maintaining proper social distancing.
“Our doors are open and will continue to remain open to fight closing,” said Binetti. To donate to Club Feathers, visit the GoFundMe page. As of today, the Feathers GoFundMe has collected more than $29,000 of the needed $75,000.