When I first moved to New York City, I was fascinated with the endless gay entertainment options: films, drag shows, famous gay bars and the vast number gay clubs. So much so that, I’m pretty sure I went out every night of my first year there. And why wouldn’t I? I had finally made it to the city that never sleeps.
Since I moved out, I enjoy going back and visiting my favorite places like Rocking Horse Café in Chelsea and discovering new ones as the Australian coffee BlueStone Lane in Astor Place. These days, I also enjoy LGBT cultural events and activities. New York City is such a vital component of the gay liberation movement. Therefore, it would be a shame not to learn the history that the city has to offer.
Get your notepad; here are my picks of the best LGBT things to do in New York City now.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I mean; it’s monumental. So when I was told that behind some of those famous works of art rest some queer stories, I knew I had to come back. Before you yawn, let me say that this tour is like no other. My Museum Hack’s guide used humor and easy-going language to expose all those little gay secrets. The best part is that you get to connect with the art and other members of your group with some fun and goofy activities. This tour is a FAB way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the city!
I’ve always liked the intersection of Twelfth Street and Greenwich Avenue, in the West Village. It’s a cozy little spot. For most of the time I lived in the city, it was under construction. Little by little, portions of the new park were revealed including the NYC AIDS Memorial that was unveiled last December on World AIDS Day. The tent-shape structure sits across from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, ground zero for New York’s AIDS crisis. The memorial honors the more than 100,000 New Yorker’s who have died from AIDS and commemorates the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis. It is heartening to know such a place exists and being there was an intense experience. As a young gay man, I often forget how challenging it was to be gay back in the day.
Visit it, pay tribute to our lost brothers and sisters, Instagram it and share it. Just don’t be stupid to take a smiling selfie in a place of remembrance.
Did you know that NYC houses the first and only gay art museum in the world? I’m telling you, it’s good to be queer in the Big Apple. Founded as a non-profit foundation in 1987 by Charles W. Leslie and Fritz Lohman, the museum displays and preserves LGBTQ art, and fosters the artists who create it. On Friday, March 10th I was able to attend the current exhibition opening in the newly renovated and expanded space. There are approximately 250 works on view, some are political, others are sexual, and one or two don’t make sense – but when does art ever make sense? It’s enlightening to be in a place that speaks directly to the LGBTQ experience and being able to admire the artworks the founders have spent collecting for fifteen years. Without their efforts, those pieces would have been lost or destroyed.
I lived in New York for almost five years, and I never heard of the Museum of The City Of New York. Earlier this year, during one of my short stays, I stumble across an event that caught my eye in Time Out New York. The talk, Ungendering Fashion reflected on the ways in which fashion opens up new possibilities for self-expression. So I made my way to 103rd St for an enlightening discussion, at the same time I was able to explore the exhibition Gay Gotham: Art & Underground Culture in New York, which brings to life the queer creative networks that sprang up in the city across the 20th century. It was so interesting to see a timeline drawing connections to works, queer icons, and the “gayborhoods.” I saw well-known artists like Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe, but I also discovered some interesting characters like Greer Lankton, whose work I’m fascinated with. You still have a few days left of the exhibit; the uptown trip is totally worth it.
Now that you have soaked up all that queer culture you deserve some fun. I co-hosted a BRUT party in November of 2013, and ever since then, I’ve been an avid partygoer, simply because the beats are dirtier, the boys are hairier, and the vibe is HAWT! Even though they don’t like to be labeled as a leather party, you can see plenty of harnesses and other leather accessories worn by attendees. DJ Dan Darlington, co-creator is a friend of mine, and I can tell you, he welcomes everyone to his party. Take your shirt off; put on some mascara, whatever makes you feel sexy, just dance and have fun, that’s what BRUT party is all about. By the way, I heard the party might be going to Dallas for Pride; those queens better leave the Dallitude at the door.
BRUT makes its Brooklyn debut Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Analog. Tickets are available at the door and online.
Not just a pretty face