You know who weren’t cops? All the radicals and queers and artists and dreamers that were there while I grew up, my mom and dad’s old friends from New York and the wider bohemian world, the actors and the drag queens and the dilettantes and the ex junkies and the current junkies, the kind of queer people who wouldn’t get caught dead getting married, the people who actually made the “old New York” of the myth into what it was. They were smart and they were funny and they were tougher than I can imagine and they were possessed of an existential commitment to the idea that life is complicated and so we shouldn’t be quick to judge. They were tolerant, in the true sense, even while they were tireless advocates for actual justice. They knew that genuinely progressive, left-wing people had to embody a rejection of the old moralisms. They weren’t religious but they embraced Christian forgiveness more than any people I’ve ever known. They were the kind to say to newcomers at AA meetings, “I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, you’re welcome here.” Most of them are dead now, from AIDs or cancer or drugs or just living life. I miss them so fucking much. I miss when we were the cool ones, the implacable ones, the ones too principled to judge.