[Delany is commenting upon a 1963 memoir by editor and poet Samuel Loveman in which he recounts his return with Crane to the Opffer residence at 110 Columbia Heights]
… What, on any late night’s stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1920a, were two gay men likely to see, regardless of their mood?
The nighttime walkways of the city’s downtown bridges have traditionally been heavy homosexual cruising areas, practically since their opening – one of the reasons that, indeed, after dark, Crane and Emil had been able to wander across it – holding hands – with minimal fear of recriminations. They certainly could have not walked so during the day.
But perhaps that evening, with his old friend Loveman, on the Bridge’s cruisy boardwalk, Crane might have heard the rich and pointed banter of a group of dishy queens lounging against the rail, or, perhaps, even the taunts leveled at them from a passing gaggle of sailors – who often crossed the Bridge back to the Navy Yard, in their uneasy yet finally symbiotic relationship with the bridge’s more usual nighttime pedestrians. …