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May 2010 Email this to a friend

New York/us

By Mark Sullivan

Nobiz, New York City Area

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded New York article click DailyXtraTravel

Believe the hype: New York City has a dizzying array of attractions that will satisfy even the most tireless traveler.
In the arts, the city is unmatched. Along with world-class museums, there are smaller galleries in Chelsea and SoHo with works by gay artists. There's always great theater on Broadway, as well as smaller companies all over the city producing works by gay playwrights. There are massive venues for music, ranging from vast houses in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to tiny rooms in Greenwich Village where you can see the performers up close and personal.
The gay scene is remarkably varied, changing neighborhood by neighborhood. Newcomers will most likely stick to Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen and a few others, but there are enclaves all over the city.
And the city's reputation as a sexual playground? Crackdowns under the last two mayors have left things much tamer. But listings in the local gay rags will point you toward some cutting-edge parties for men of every proclivity.

Getting here
Several airports serve the New York City area, but LaGuardia is the quickest for getting to Manhattan. The subway's A line takes you directly to Manhattan. From Kennedy, the A and E lines are close by, and so is the Long Island Railroad. The easiest way to get to your destination from either of these airports, however, is by taxi.
Nearby in New Jersey, Newark Liberty International Airport is linked to the city via frequent trains run by New Jersey Transit.

Getting around
Like the song says, "the Bronx is up and the Battery's down." Getting from one to the other -- or anywhere else in the city, for that matter -- is easiest on the subway. It's quick, clean and modern. Fares rose to $2.25 in June, but it's still a good deal, as a few bucks will take you to the city's farthest reaches. Buses cost the same, but the routes are harder for a newcomer. Taxis are often your best option. They all take cash, and many now accept credit cards.
Circle Line Cruises (212-563-3200) have views of the world's most famous skyline.
City Sights (212-812-2700) double-decker buses tour around the city, letting you hop on and off at will.

Many cities boast one gay neighborhood, or maybe two. New York City has almost too many to count: Greenwich Village, the East Village, Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, to name a few. And that's just in Lower Manhattan. There are others spread out across the city.
Greenwich Village: Home of the historic Stonewall Inn, the Village has an older gay crowd and a retro vibe. Highlights include Sheridan Square, commemorating the gay-rights movement, and the Christopher Street Pier, a swath of green popular with sunbathers and double-dutch fans.
Chelsea: The big draw is the High Line, a narrow park on a former elevated train platform. Beneath are dozens of contemporary art galleries. See-and-be-seen eateries line 8th Avenue, with quieter spots on 9th and 10th avenues.
East Village: Gritty streets are lined with shops selling everything from designer duds to just plain junk. The food is incredibly varied. Polish? Ukrainian? Venezuelan? It's here. East 6th Street has tasty Indian restaurants.
Hell's Kitchen: Despite the ominous name, this is home to some heavenly young creatures. Take a quick peek at Times Square before heading over to 9th Avenue for an around-the-world culinary trip.

in focus
A place in the sun
When the weather warms up, not all the gay guys in New York City pack up their sunglasses and flip-flops and head to Fire Island. Some of them stay right in the city.
There's prime real estate all around the city for those in search of a little sun. Sheep's Meadow in Central Park is a magnet for gays, as is Prospect Park in Brooklyn. But if you're looking for wall-to-wall men, head to the Christopher Street Pier.
Officially known as Pier 45, this popular park sits at the end of Christopher Street. Opened in 2003, it was one of the first of the dozens of piers running alongside the Hudson River to be given a facelift. It now boasts several seating areas under sail-like canopies and a huge swath of lawn down the center.
The plan to renovate the Christopher Street Pier was controversial, as this and nearby piers had long been a part of the cruising scene. Many feared that after they were spruced up, the piers would no longer be "gay space."
But if anything, the pier has become gayer. Black and Latino gays hang out on the piers at night, especially on weekends. The "pier kids," as some call them, have drawn criticism from neighbors for being too "in your face." (Oddly enough, the same criticism was aimed at the mostly white gay men who cruised here decades ago.)
On any sunny day, the pier is so full of gay men of all ages and races that you might have a tough time finding a place for your towel. The skimpier the better seems to be the dress code, so don't be shy about wearing that thong.
There's plenty of entertainment, from impromptu practices for the gay cheerleading group to young guys doing double-dutch jumping so fast you can barely see the rope spin.
But mostly this is prime people-watching turf, and you couldn't do better than finding a spot on the grass and watching the passing parade.

Top experiences
Hike the High Line. This former train trestle was transformed into the city's newest park. Three stories in the air, it has some breathtaking views of the skyline. Gay guys thought of this, of course.

Take the A train. This express subway line, which runs parallel to the C and E local lines, hits most of the gayest spots. It's a great way to get around and the perfect place to ask a good-looking local for directions.

Get a workout. When the weather is warm, you can bike, skate or run all the way from Chelsea to Battery Park on the waterfront Hudson River Park. The pier at Christopher Street has plenty of hunky men to look at.

Homo history. Start at the corner of Christopher and Gay streets, site of the Stonewall demonstrations of 1969. Walk a block west to the Stonewall Inn. Across the street in Sheridan Square are George Segal's famous Gay Liberation sculptures.

Head out of town. If you know Manhattan like the back of your hand, head to one of the outer boroughs. The queer arts scene of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a great day trip, while the Latin bars of Jackson Heights, Queens, are fun in the evening.

Gay media
NEXT, found at most gay establishments around the city, has complete weekly events rosters. Gay City News, the local gay newspaper, has done an excellent job keeping an eye on anti-sex police and city hall.
Odyssey Magazine, full of glossy bar ads, also has rundowns of what's happening in New York nightlife.

The Lesbian and Gay Community Center (208 W 13th Street; 212-620-7310), where Chelsea meets Greenwich Village, is a good place to get your gay bearings

Events, June 2010
This must be the busiest month in the annual New York gay calendar.

The annual New York LGBT Film Festival since 1988, with films from over 30 countries last year
June 3-13, 2010, the SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St)

Folsom Street East
The New York City leather & fetish street festival and Leather Pride Night
Festival on W 28th between 10th & 11th Avenues
June 19-20, 2010

Heritage of Pride , the world's oldest pride celebration, will be held June 19 through 27, 2010. The week will culminate with a massive parade, a PrideFest and the Dance on Pier 24. For more info log onto Hopinc.org.

Chelsea Mews Guesthouse (344 W 15th St; 212-255-9174) eight rooms, men-only, clothing optional; laundry service and bike tour come with the room.
Chelsea Pines Inn (317 W 14th St; 212-929-1023) gay owned and operated five-story row house with Hollywood-themed rooms and suites, business center and self-serve breakfast.
Chelsea Savoy Hotel (204 West 23rd St; 212-929-9353) new building, moderate prices and good location, on a bustling street.
The Chelsea Star (300 W 30th; 212-244-7827) has a variety of options from budget dorms to deluxe rooms, singles, and doubles, plus apartment suites; lots of services, central location.
Colonial House (318 W 22nd St; 212- 243-9669): 20 comfy rooms, 2 suites, Wi-Fi throughout, roof-top deck, great location for shops, restaurants, and NY attractions.
Country Inn the City (270 W 77th St; 212-580-4183): the New York alternative to hotels with superb, spacious, self-contained studio apartments.
Flatotel New York (135 W 52nd St; 212-887-9400) 46-story luxury hotel with apartment-size rooms, gym/fitness center, swim club pool access, in-house Mediterranean restaurant.
Four Points Sheaton Manhattan Chelsea (160 W 25 St; 212-337-8306) truly friendly staff, 158 cozy guest rooms, sleek modern design, workout facility.
Gem Hotel (300 W 22nd St; 212- 675-1911) comfortable and hospitable boutique hotel.
Hotel 17 (225 E 17th St; 212-475- 2845) chic newly renovated budget hotel for students, and travelers on a budget, known as 'The Inn for Hollywood Types and Transient Chic.'
Hotel 31 (120 E 31st St; 212-685- 3060) newly renovated, reasonalbly priced, featuring all amenities of a first-class hotel.
Hotel 57 (130 E 57th Str; 212- 753-8841), state-of-the-art boutique hotel, acclaimed in-house restaurant, navigator concierges.
The Inn on 23rd (131 W 23rd St; 212-463-0330), modestly priced Chelsea B&B at the heart of Manhattan, comfortably furnished to make you feel at home.
The London NYC (151 W 54th St; 212-468-8856) well-located luxury hotel with elegant suites and attentive service; dining by Michelin chef Ramsey.

Click HERE for additional New York accommodations.

Bars and clubs: West Village
Boots & Saddles (76 Christopher St) 35-year favorite, recently renovated, DJ spinning, karaoke Sundays and Mondays a hoot, big beer selection, weekend beer busts from 3pm with go go dancers at 7pm.
Chi Chiz (135 Christopher St) bar popular with black men and their friends. Go go boys, karaoke, bingo and pool tournaments.
Duplex (61 Christopher St) piano bar and cabaret with top talents and gay following.
Hangar (115 Christopher St) down-to-earth, ethnically diverse neighborhood men's hangout with weekend erotic dancers.
Julius' (159 W 10th St) NY's oldest gay tavern, mature regulars, some youngsters, burgers juicey and cheap.
Marie's Crisis (59 Grove St) small, well-loved Village piano bar with showtune sing-alongs, wide variety of people.
Monster Bar (80 Grove St) bi-level party and cruising institution since 1970. Open nightly, piano bar, show tunes, drag acts, basement dancing until 4am.
Pieces (8 Christopher St) relaxed bar with room for conversation, karaoke, live shows, B-movie nights, contests, porn bingo, young crowd.
Rockbar (185 Christopher St) replaced Ramrod, formerly the Dugout. Younger rocker crowd, cheap drinks, live music, Saturday go go dancers.
Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St) gay historic icon, newly renovated two floors of fun, open nightly, live music and performances, -- and yes, t-shirts for sale.
Ty's (114 Christopher St) jam-packed neighborhood bar for men and everyone else (including tourists) until 4am nightly. Good drinks at good prices.

Bars and clubs: East Village & Lower East Side
Arrow Bar (85 Ave A) wild East Village Sunday night Alphabet, with fresh young go go boys, cheap drinks, party 'til 4am.
Boiler Room (86 E 4th St) landmark bar, alternative crowd, guys from all over town, free Wi-Fi, strong drinks and best jukebox around.
Cock (29 2nd Av) "glitter to gutter, butch to bitch..." friendly raunchy basement for when you get that itch. From April Black Cock every Friday night when the Mr.Black party comes to Cock.
Eastern Bloc (505 E 6th St) cool East Village space of red and black, sexy weekend dancers, young eye-candy clientele, Sunday beer blasts.
Lucky Chengs (24 First Av) drag cabaret dinner theatre for 3-course pan-Asian feasts, vibrant, sometimes gymnastic, always interactive shows, comedy, and karaoke.
Nowhere (322 E 14th St) gay boys and girls pack this dark basement neighborhood bar. Open nightly with pool table, juke box and DJs.
Phoenix (447 E 13th St) no-attitude East Village neighborhood meeting place, pool table, indie music jukebox, DJs, packed weekends with good-looking lads.
Urge Lounge (33 2nd Av) two floors of fun, hot and naughty go-go dancers on the bar most nights, Wednesday hot ass contests, foxy bartenders.
The new Uncle Charlie's LES (87 Ludlow St) Lower East Side lounge for young professionals, south of Delancey Street neighborhood, outdoor smokers' patio. Similar vibe to their Midtown location.
Woody's (31 2nd Av), formerly dTox, relaxed neighborhood hangout, until 4am daily, pizza and bar nibbles, pool games, go go boys.

Bars and clubs: Chelsea
Barracuda (275 W 22nd St) casual, lively cabaret bar with drag acts and karaoke, brings a bit of East Village to Chelsea.
Boxers (37 W 20th St) a brand new gay sports bar, college jock, boxers, pool nights, 2-4-1 happy hours 4 - 9:30pm
Club 20 (Sundays) (20 W 20 St) Chippendale-type Sunday male stripper shows, lap dances, VIP rooms.
Eagle (554 W 28th St) cruisy-as-hell leather bar with hot men, voted best of it's kind by NY Magazine. Pool table, roof-deck bar, Sunday beer bust, Jockstrap Wednesdays.
Elevate (390 8th Ave, btwn 29 & 30th) new gay Saturday nights on two floors, dancing, live acts, go-gos; from the Chris Ryan group.
Escuelita (301 W 39th St) diverse cultural mix latino club, live music, 18+ nights with go go dancers Tuesdays and on all-male Thursdays, Hip Hop to Reggaeton Saturdays, Sunday drag shows, contests and T-dances.
G Lounge (223 W 19th St) the standard for upscale lounge bars, plenty of cruising, after-work happy hours popular, DJ spins house, pop, R&B. Tuesday night Boybox novelty go-go burlesque and striptease, from 10pm.
Gym Sports Bar (167 8th Av) New York's genuine gay sports bar, outdoor patio, reasonable drinks prices, Saturday and Sunday beer blasts.
Hiro Ballroom (362 W 16th St) Sunday night dance in the basement of the Maritime Hotel. Attractive space with a sea of hot men when the night is right, but drinks are expensive.
Rawhide (212 8th Av) Levi/leathermen cruising bar, pool table, manly go-go dancers, happy hours with loyal regulars keep it busy.
Rush (579 Avenue of the Americas) energetic 18+ crowd, randy boys come every Saturday for two floors of dancing.
Secret Lounge (525 W 29th St), past the industrial-looking entrance, an opulent lounge every Friday and Saturday with a sultry black and Latino crowd.
Splash (50 W 17th St) two levels of dancing, big-time DJs, super-buff men to young dancing boys strip in the showers. Tuesday Twink 18+ nights; Wednesday Hot Ass cash prize contests; Thursday Campus Frat Hip Hop parties.
View (232 8th Av) relaxed place, potent drinks, a view of the passing parade on 8th Avenue. Sunday go-go dancers, free Tuesday pool games.
XES (157 W 24th St) laid-back place with videos, DJs, Tuesday bingo, Wednesday karaoke, outdoor smoking patio.

Bars and clubs: Hell's Kitchen
Barrage (401 W 47th St) dimly lit chill-out bar with DJ music, plenty of couches to relax on, popular late-night happy hours.
Bar-Tini Ultra Lounge (642 10th Av) stylish cocktail lounge, cute friendly staff mix a mean Manhattan for attractive clean-cut Hell's Kitchen guys.
HK Lounge (405 W 39th St) sleek two-story Hell's Kitchen lounge with parties weekly.
Ninth Avenue Saloon (656 9th Av) unpretentious hangout for all ages and types in the Theatre District, cheap drinks, jukebox.
Posh (405 W 51st St) neighborhood bar with black couches, DJs, bingo and plenty of room to cruise the cute locals. Birthday drinks are on them.
Ritz (369 W 46th St) brings gay muscle to Hell's Kitchen, three floors, comfortable seating, outdoor patio, attractive crowd, DJs, game nights, special parties. Wednesday retro music and videos; Friday Flex popular weekly romp with prizes and free drinks for participants showing their muscles.
Therapy (348 W 52nd St) a Hell's Kitchen must-see chic lounge with Hollywood stairway, cabaret acts, contests and shows. Full bar, good-looking crowd, sandwiches and snack platters.
Vlada Lounge (331 W 51st St), two-level lounge serving 16 varieties of vodka. Actors, singers, and dancers from surrounding Broadway theaters hang out and perform here.

Bars and clubs: Midtown East
Evolve (221 E 58th St) chic neighborhood lounge in the Upper East Side, with garden patio for gays, lesbians, bi and straight. Open daily with billiard room, good sound, live entertainment, go go boys.
Townhouse Bar (206 E 58th St) piano bar for upscale professionals, older gentlemen and their admirers. Talent shows for cash prizes.
Uncle Charlie's Midtown (139 E 45th S) only gay bar in Midtown near Grand Central Station, pulls an after-work crowd of young professionals. Piano lounge, comfortable seating, and outdoor patio.
The Web (40 E 58th St) dance club for Asian guys and their aficionados. Slender erotic go-go boys aplenty most nights. Thursday half-price drinks for pantless patrons.

Bars and Clubs: Uptown
Billie's Black (271 W 119th St) bar and gourmet soul food restaurant in central Harlem. Friday or Saturday cabaret acts each week.
Brandy's Piano Bar (235 E 84th St) live music cabaret performances nightly, showtunes belted out by the crowd and the energetic staff who join in the fun.
Candle Bar (309 Amsterdam Av) gay neighborhood bar, only one of it's kind on the Upper West Side. Pool games, digital jukebox, good for cocktails and conversation.
Suite (992 Amsterdam Av @109th) gay and straight neighborhood bar where all mix easily, with stage acts, karaoke, drag shows, DJs, uncommonly good finger food and snacks.
No Parking (4168 Broadway @ 177th St) a chic neighborhood lounge, latino vibe, Washington Heights' only gay bar, go-go dancers Wednesdays through Sundays, DJs nightly.
Tool Box (1742 Second Ave at 90th St) quiet neighborhood bar with sports, music videos and adult movies on the tube.

Click HERE for many more New York gay bars and nightclubs, including those beyond Manhattan.

This city boasts over 20,000 eateries serving cuisines of every sort, so it's no surprise that New Yorkers eat out often. A good resource is the 'Eat Out' section of Time Out New York.
For more area restaurants, in addition to those listed below, click HERE

Restaurants: West Village
Artepasta (81 Greenwich Av) $5 unlimited mimosas and screwdrivers, $10 brunch deals at the carb heaven.
Lips (2 Bank St) drag diner, magnet for bachelorette parties from New Jersey.
Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker St) get in line for orgasmic cupcakes.
Manatus (340 Bleecker St) typical diner, full of manly men, outdoor patio, full bar, free delivery and open 24/7.
Philip Marie (569 Hudson St) New American cuisine at gay-friendly eatery.
Lassi (28 Greenwich Av #2) a hole in the wall, but the best Indian around for eating in or taking out.
Chow (230, W 4th St @West 10th) rainbow-flag restaurant with Chinese quasi haute cuisine.

Restaurants: Chelsea
Dish (201 8th Av) well-known gay diner, inexpensive food, fetching Greek waiters, order by phone or online for delivery.
East of Eighth (254 W 23rd St) eclectic international fare bistro.
Elmo (156 7th Av) fancy retro dining room, popular with pretty people craving comfort food.
Intermezzo (202 8th Av) classy Italian place with all-you-can-drink mimosas at brunch.
Nisos (176 8th Av) Mediterranean, especially Greek, cuisine.
Rocking Horse Mexican Cafe (182 8th Av) upscale modern Mexican cuisine.
Spice (199 8th Av) the best, and most affordable, Thai in the neighborhood.

Restaurants: East Village
BBar & Grill (40 E 4th St) Tuesday gay nights, outdoor garden, enclosed heated winter seating, open to summer stars; weekend brunch, cocktails, late snacks.

Restaurants: Midtown
Ariba Ariba (762 9th Avenue @ 51st St) gay-friendly Mexican with generous margaritas.
Bamboo 52 (344 W 52nd St) polished sushi bar with outdoor patio.
HK Restaurant (523 Ninth Av) swanky Mediterranean bistro.
Vynl (754 9th Av) gay diner, American fare with a soup on of Thai.
Whole Foods Market (10 Columbus Circle) healthy hot and cold food, cafe seating.
Zen Palate (663 9th Av at 46th) intensely healthy vegetarian Asian fare at Restaurant Row.

Designer Fifth Avenue stores coddle those with cash to spare, but for haggled bargains go to Chinatown.

Shopping: Adult stores
Blue Store (87 1st Av) even after ruffled feathers over accusations of prostitution, and an erotic massage demonstration in the front window, they survived to remain a good source for gay erotica, lube etc; also staff is friendly.
Blue Store (206 8th Av) porn store with private booths.
Harmony Video (139 Christopher St) DVD, magazine and toy store.
Les Hommes (217 W 80th St) all- male adult shop, DVDs, toys, novelties, no booths.
Pleasure Chest (156 7th Av) his and hers sex shop, lots of toys, bliss-enhancing workshops.
Rainbow Station (207 8th Av) porn, toys, and underwear.
Unicorn (277 W 22nd St) large porn and toys selection, private video booths get busy in the wee hours.
DVDs Palace (592 8th Av) porn and toys with booths.
Vishara Video (797 8th Av) porn, toys, cruising zones.

Shopping: Clothing
Century 21 (22 Cortland) downtown heaven for cheap undies and other items.
Leather Man (111 Christopher St) leather clothing, accessories, toys, bespoke tailoring.
Nasty Pig (265 W 19th St) edgy duds for sexually self-assured males.
Universal Gear (140 8th Av) male boutique for trendy clubwear.

Shopping: Gifts
Rainbows And Triangles (192 8th Av) gay Chelsea landmark with cards, clothes, and erotica.

Shopping: Pharmacies
Arrow Pharmacy (883 9th Av) low priced prescription meds, vitamins and toiletries.
Village Apothecary (346 Bleecker St) community pharmacy for well-priced meds, alternative therapies and beauty products.

East Side Club (227 E 56th St) membership club with steam, sauna, and private cabins. Older crowd, bears, leather.
West Side Club (27 W 20th St) membership club with steam, sauna, private cabins. Younger crowd, a bit aloof.

Excursion: Fire Island
Fire Island (Gayfireisland.com) off the southeast coast of Long Island, is a car-free resort. Two of the barrier island's hamlets, Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove, hop with gay vacationers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Events of note include the Invasion of the Pines, a drag-queen parade held each July 4. After their promenade, gender-benders proclaim victory and head back to Cherry Grove. The abundant shrubbery between Pines and Cherry Grove is known as the Meat Rack hereabouts.
Belvedere Guest House (631-597- 6448) a Venetian palace fronting the bay, nice Cherry Grove location, exclusively for men.

See our September 2009 Fire Island article by Michael Lavers, and for more links click on our Fire Island/Long Island listings.

In our February 2009 article The Other New York, writer Jonathan Vatner explores gay New York beyond the downtown Manhattan scene.

See Party all night long by John Rambow, an April 2010 article about hotel party nights in New York.

We also have New Jersey listings, including Asbury Park.

Author Profile:  Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan is the managing editor of Guide magazine. He can be contacted at marks@guidemag.com.

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