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More than 100 queer youth of color turned out on Tuesday to protest a plan to close Pier 45 in the West Village at 1 a.m. A subcommittee of Community Board 2 debated two competing proposals designed to stymie what some residents see as unruly behavior by the young people who congregate there. Both would close the pier at 1 a.m., but one would allow a plaza in front of the pier to remain open a few hours longer. “We want to be able to sleep quietly,” said Dave Poster, a graying, 27-year resident of the West Village. “The later you leave [the pier] open, the more crowds and problems you’ll have.” Yet many queer youth say they rely on the pier as a safe space to meet friends. “We dance and party on the pier because we can’t do that in our neighborhood,” said Tiana Dawkins of Queens. LGBT youth organizations, such as FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) and GLOBE (Gays and Lesbians of Bushwick Empowered) have helped organize opposition to the curfew. Some of their members bristled at the suggestion that a greater police presence would help protect the teens. “I’ve watched cops grab youth by their necks and call them faggots,” said Ashley McKenzie of FIERCE. Ultimately, the matter was deferred. “Proposals shouldn’t rely on pushing people out of the neighborhood,” said Rickke Mananzala, FIERCE’s campaign coordinator. “Let’s slow down and have more discussion.” (B. Baumer) [12/12/05]

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