Fridays are Lady Jasmin’s night at the Starlite Lounge. The resident drag queen at this Crown Heights mainstay performs Jennifer Hudson and old-school R&B songs with gusto — sometimes crying, doing backwards summersaults, and hurling her silver stilettos across the stage.
“You gotta see the show,” the regulars at the self-described “oldest black-owned non-discriminating bar in New York” tell the young hipsters who seem to be venturing through the doors these days.
Since opening in 1959, the Starlite Lounge on Nostrand Avenue and Bergen Street has served as a modest safe space for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people of color and their friends in Central Brooklyn. Older gay and straight neighborhood residents throw birthday parties at the Starlite, and gather at the bar after funerals. More recently arrived condo-dwellers pack the house for Thursday night karaoke.
But a recent change in the building’s ownership may force the Starlite Lounge to end its half-century run.