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Gossip & Rumors: Nyc Nightlife Legend Susanne Bartsch Pumps Up

GOSSIP & RUMORS: NYC nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch pumps up Pride with a big bash, new book

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For years, decades even, the biggest VIP in the gay scene of New York nightlife has been a straight, Swiss-born woman.

That would be Susanne Bartsch, the legendary club queen who has presided over generations of queer party boys — and other children of the counterculture — in the City That Never Sleeps.

“You know, I’m not gay, but I love the community, and I’ve always felt that they need support because they seemed to be treated differently than the heteros,” Bartsch told The Post. “And I didn’t like that. People are people. ”

“The gays are just more fun,” said Susanne Bartsch, who has been celebrating her new book “Bartschland” this Pride Monthh. “They know how to party.”

Bartsch’s longtime love affair with the LGBTQ community — which has gone from the AIDS crisis in the ’80s to the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” era of today — continues on Saturday night, when her Boom! Pride bash will pump up NYC Pride Weekend atop the Standard, High Line in the Meatpacking District.

“You know, the gays are just more fun,” said Bartsch. “They know how to party.”

After moving to New York — where she has lived in the storied Chelsea Hotel since 1981 — Bartsch found her tribe in the gay underground.

“I wasn’t consciously planning to be like, ‘Oh, let me, like, go and be into the gay community,’ ” she said. “It was just me. I like color, like excitement … To me, the creativity in the gay community is bigger than anything. They’re so incredibly inspiring, from the drag queen to the big gay [muscle] boy.”

But while Bartsch’s new book “Bartschland: Tales of New York Nightlife” shares the snaps and stories behind many a fabulous function, she is also taking a platform-heeled stand as the fiercest ally the gay scene has ever seen.

Susanne Bartsch (right) features a spread on trans nightlife icon Amanda Lepore in her new book “Bartschland.” SMLTD

“My philosophy of life, my understanding of what’s right, is that everybody should be able to be what they want to be, and should not be criticized for it. And should definitely have the same rights.”

Here, Bartsch takes us behind the velvet rope of these iconic moments in her reign as New York City’s Queen of the Night.

Taking it to the streets

“That was a brilliant experience,” said Susanne Bartsch of her party bus in the 2022 NYC Pride parade. Peter Lueders

In the 2022 NYC Pride parade, Bartsch had the ultimate party bus sponsored by the Connecticut tourism site CTvisit.com. “The whole bus was full of my community, the Bartschland crew — from Amanda Lepore to Kevin Aviance,” said Bartsch. “That was a brilliant experience.”

Fleet Week fun with RuPaul

RuPaul, who served as emcee for Fleet Week revelers at the Copa in the late ’80s, wrote the foreword to “Bartschland.” Roxanne Lowit

Long before “Drag Race,” RuPaul sashayed the night away with Fleet Week revelers during Bartsch’s monthly party at the Copa, which began in 1987. “I hired him [as emcee],” said Bartsch of RuPaul, who wrote the foreword of “Bartschland.” “He was really witty, and his look was larger than life. And I said, ‘That’s a star.’ ”

In ‘Vogue” with Madonna

Madonna and her “Vogue” video dancers Jose and Luis Xtravangaza supported Bartschland’s Love Ball in 1989. Tina Paul

Madonna struck a pose with her “Vogue” video dancers Jose and Luis Xtravaganza at Bartsch’s Love Ball AIDS benefit at Roseland in 1989. Twirling into the ’90s, Bartsch’s parties helped revive New York nightlife in the wake of the AIDS crisis.

“I felt like, ‘This is so scary, but I have to keep going and give a place that people can congregate and feel joy and feel safe,’ ” she said. “It was really important, and it was focusing on doing looks [instead of] picking up.”

Malcolm Forbes revs up the Roxy

“He drove in with his motorbike to the middle of the dance floor,” said Bartsch of Malcolm Forbes’ 1989 Roxy entrance. Courtesy Susanne Bartsch

At one of Bartsch’s legendary Halloween parties — held at the Chelsea mega-club the Roxy in 1989 — a 69-year-old Malcolm Forbes made a zooming entrance onto the dance floor just months before the tycoon’s death.

“The Roxy had a ramp, so you could drive in,” Bartsch recalled. “He drove in with his motorbike to the middle of the dance floor. It was so much fun. He was a really fun guy. I kind of [knew] he was gonna come, but I didn’t expect the motorbike.”

Trick or treat at the Palladium

Susanne Bartsch celebrated Halloween 1993 with Joey Arias (left), her husband David Barton and a feathered friend. Courtesy Susanne Bartsch

In 1993, Bartsch celebrated Halloween with fellow nightlife legend Joey Arias (left), gym guru David Barton and a feathered friend at the Palladium. Bartsch married Barton in 1995 — a year after they welcomed son Bailey. “He was getting people in shape in the day to come to the club at night and have a good time,” she said.

On Top with Adam Lambert

Susanne Bartsch celebrated Adam Lambert (top) and his upcoming EP “Afters” with her On Top crew at Le Bain. Mark Minton

On Tuesday, Bartsch kicked off her NYC Pride Week by celebrating Adam Lambert’s upcoming EP “Afters” at her On Top party, held at Le Bain. She’ll return to the  Standard, High Line club — as well as the adjacent Boom Boom Room — for her Boom! Pride event on Saturday. “I take over the whole 18th floor!” said Bartsch. “It’s a really special thing.”



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