GO’s Pride/Summer 2018: Where-To-Guide To New York City

From standout restaurants that’ll accommodate your whole queer crew to where to buy bespoke suits that unleash your inner andro to LGBTQ-owned salons for the femmes in town, GO’s serving up the ultimate summer guide to the Big Apple.

Photo by Beacon’s Closet: Carly Rabalais

So, you’re doing Pride in New York City — you’ve got your sunscreen, rainbow gear, and party guide ready to go — but you want to experience the city as natives do. June is a month filled with parades and celebrations across the five boroughs and there’s so much to do if you’re looking to bask in queer culture, history, eats, and style. From standout restaurants that’ll accommodate your whole queer crew to where to buy bespoke suits that unleash your inner andro to LGBTQ-owned salons for the femmes in town, GO’s serving up the ultimate summer guide to the Big Apple. If you’re looking for the best in nightlife, entertainment and special events, check out all our picks in the NYC listings sections!

SOMETHING FOR EVERY PALATE

Westville {Variety}
Multiple locations in Manhattan, westvillenyc.com. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty plate of buttermilk fried chicken, a variety of seasonal market veggies, or a yummy breakfast burrito, Westville’s got you covered. This casual and friendly restaurant boasts locations across Manhattan that will satisfy both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Try the mint lemonade to cool off.

Cowgirl {Old Faithful}
519 Hudson St., Manhattan, cowgirlnyc.com. Frozen margaritas? Check. Frito pie? Check. Lesbian owned? Check. The Cowgirl is a stronghold for Texas flavors in the heart of the West Village and a watering hole for LGBTQ New Yorkers indulging in fried food and strong drinks. Just a short walk from Henrietta Hudson and Cubbyhole, it’s easy to see why it’s a perrenial favorite in this guide.

Ladies enjoy the fresh air while dining at Prune in the East VillagePhoto by Prune Village

Prune {Bloody Mary Brunch}
54 E. 1st St., Manhattan, prunerestaurant.com. The Bloody Marys at this popular East Village spot come with a bit of a steep price tag, but they’re truly unique. With ingredients like beef jerky swizzlers and pickled brussel sprouts, it’s worth the weekend wait to try one of Prune’s famous libations. Fulfill the rest of your brunch foodie fantasies with a giant dutch pancake or the dish aptly called the “youth hostel breakfast.”

Lakruwana {Sri Lankan Buffet}
668 Bay St., Staten Island, lakruwana.com. Staten Island is the home of the city’s biggest Sri Lankan community, and subsequently, the place to go for the most authentic Sri Lankan dining. Lakruwana offers a weekend buffet that is a cut above its competitors. With an interior filled with inspired artwork, dishes that include mulligatawny soup and curries, hop the ferry and prepare your tastebuds for this culinary adventure.

Arepa Lady {Legendary}
Multiple locations in Brooklyn and Queens, arepalady.net. The Arepa Lady is the place to go for Colombian-style arepas stuffed with beans, cheese, salsa verde, and other goodies. Originally a food cart in Queens (and currently moving into a brick-and-mortar location there), this joint has a new home in Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market Hall.

James {Burger Night}
605 Carlton Ave., Brooklyn, jamesrestaurantny.com. With an elegant interior and divine cocktails, passersby might not think of James as a burger joint, but this Park Slope spot serves up an expanded burger menu on Monday nights. From the traditional — yet delicious — black angus beef burger to a cumin-dusted lamb version, James offers upscale iterations of an American classic.

Dhaba {Curry Hill}
108 Lexington Ave., Manhattan, dhabanyc.com. In India, the word “dhaba” means a roadside eatery, but this New York outpost is so much more. “Curry Hill,” a section of Lexington Ave., plays host to New York’s happening Indian restaurants, and Dhaba consistently tops “best-of” lists with its flavorful Northern Indian cuisine, lunch buffet, and extensive menu.

Superiority Burger {Vegetarian}
430 E. 9th St., Manhattan, superiorityburger.com. Superiority stands out as a burger joint just for vegetarians — and dishes that are “accidentally vegan,” too. These patties and sloppy joes take fast, cheap food and make it healthy and unique; they’ve even been called better than the real thing. Plus, they’re under ten bucks!

The Food Sermon {Take Those Tastebuds to Church}
355 Rogers Ave., Brooklyn, thefoodsermon.com. For West Indian cuisine, look no further than this Crown Heights gem. The chef, Rawlston Williams, hails from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but was inspired by an array of Caribbean flavors to create the menu at The Food Sermon. Order an Island Bowl to customize your meal.

COMFORT EATS

Tantalizing doughnuts at Harlem’s Red RoosterPhoto by Red Rooster

Red Rooster {Beyond Delicious}
310 Lenox Ave., Manhattan, redroosterharlem.com. There’s a lot of hype around the Red Rooster, and it lives up to the expectations thanks to dishes like shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles, plus a live music-filled ambiance. There’s a different artist or DJ just about every night of the week at this happening Harlem eatery and even a gospel brunch on weekends. But, reservations are in order if you want to fit this into a visit.

Veselka {Midnight Pierogies}
144 2nd Ave., Manhattan, veselka.com. For Ukrainian comfort food 24 hours a day (you’ve gotta eat when Pride parties end, after all!) Veselka whips up savory (and famed) pierogies, borscht, and typical diner fare. Located in the heart of the East Village, it harkens back to the neighborhood’s immigrant roots. Plus, for just $7, you can snag four perogies.

L&B Spumoni Gardens {So Much Food}
2725 86th St., Brooklyn, spumonigardens.com. This Gravesend restaurant is a real New York culinary experience. Since the 1950s, the Barbati family has operated this pizzeria and served spumoni and multi-flavored gelato at this spot in Brooklyn. The enormous pasta dishes and giant desserts — ice cream cones stacked on cake, for instance — are great for families and groups (and there’s a free parking lot if you drive!).

FEELIN’ FANCY

A decadent dish at French eaterie Le CoucouPhoto by Le Coucou

Le Coucou {Expensive Taste}
138 Lafayette St., Manhattan, lecoucou.com. From the mind of restaurateur extraordinaire Stephen Starr, Le Coucou crafts decadent French food for the discerning palate. Foie gras and filet dominate this menu, and the interior of the restaurant will make you feel far removed from the city’s bustling streets.

Maison Premiere {Oysters In Hipsterville}
298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, maisonpremiere.com. Feel instantly transported to an airy 1920s speakeasy at this Bedford avenue seafood spot. There’s absinthe, oysters, and lobster rolls, plus an extensive raw bar (and actual bar, of course). The yard is charming, and after your meal, explore stores and bars up and down this ultra hip area to make a night of it.

MARKETSIDE DINING

Arthur Avenue Market {Show Up With An Appetite}
2344 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, nycedc.com/project/arthur-avenue-market.
Arthur Avenue is the self-proclaimed Little Italy of the Bronx, and various restaurants and shops on this stretch offer delicious, authentic eats. Pop into the Arthur Avenue Retail Market for a sampling of Italian food and culture at neighborhood faves like Cafe al Mercato and Mike’s Deli, and grab a beer at the Bronx Beer Hall while you’re at it.

Hunts Point Produce Market {Feelin’ Fruity}
101 Food Center Dr. #8A, Bronx, huntspointproducemkt.com. What do airlines, bodegas, and gourmet restaurants have in common? With one-million square feet of space, the Hunts Point Produce Market supplies businesses of all stripes with fresh fruits and vegetables, and holds court as a real slice of New York City life. This Bronx staple is off the beaten path of Manhattan’s Pride festivities, but it’s a sight to behold.

BIG GROUPS WELCOME HERE

Taco Chulo {Taco Time}
318 Grand St., Brooklyn, tacochulo.com. So, you’ve trekked to the city for Pride with your crew. Everyone is hungry, and the wait is impossible everywhere you go. So why not take a short train ride over to Taco Chulo in Williamsburg? It’s spacious and hip, with long tables and booths for big parties. The menu tantalizes with 14 different taco varieties, including vegan options, as well as refreshing frozen margaritas. You’re welcome.

Happy pup enjoying libations at Pig BeachPhoto by Pig Beach

Pig Beach {Frosé and BBQ All Day}
80 Union St., Brooklyn, pigbeachnyc.com. With serious baby back ribs, brisket, and frozen cocktails crafted with a heavy pour (and even a veggie burger on the menu), Pig Beach is for BBQ and libation aficionados. With a spacious outdoor area and cornhole boards (that bean bag toss game), it’s worth the trip to Gowanus with the whole queer family.

MORE THAN JUST COFFEE

Photo by Supermoon

Supermoon Bakehouse {Out Of This World}
120 Rivington St., Manhattan, supermoonbakehouse.com. For pastries that match the colors of the Pride flag, look no further than this hologram-decorated bakery on the Lower East Side. The Rosemary & Blueberry Croissant is blue and topped with white chocolate; the Banana Split Sundae Twice-Baked Croissant is decadent with an entire caramelized sous vide banana inside, and there’s savory fare, like The NYC, an everything croissant (like the bagel) filled with lox, cream cheese, and capers.

WHERE TO SHOP

Fab shoes at the iconic Trash & VaudvillePhoto by Driely Viera

Trash & Vaudeville {Long Live Punk Rock}
96 East 7th St., Manhattan, trashandvaudeville.com. Get back to the East Village’s punk roots with this stronghold for studded belts, leather jackets, combat boots, and leopard flare. Trash & Vaudeville recalls punk’s heyday — when CBGB was still a music venue where iconoclast artists like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop rocked out — long before shiny new condos dominated The Bowery.

Beacon’s Closet {Ageless Vintage}
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, beaconscloset.com. With a mix of vintage garments, designer threads, and thrifty items, Beacon’s Closet is the ultimate spot to give unique clothing and accessories new life. And, it’s easy to unload your own clothes or make a trade for something new. With locations in Greenpoint, Park Slope, Manhattan, and Bushwick, pick through 1970s-style athleisure, Pucci prints, and everything in between at Beacon’s Closet, the quintessential store to score all your Pride and summer wardrobe musts — or to recycle last year’s digs!

Opening Ceremony {Designer Duds}
35 Howard St., Manhattan, openingceremony.com. Since 2002, Opening Ceremony has kept the downtown set looking fashion forward. This store showcases both women’s and men’s clothing, purses, shoes, beauty products, and even a section for stylish kids. If you’re looking for a jumpsuit or high-end sportswear, you’ll find what you need here. Or, snag the perfect pair of out-of-this-world platform shoes to top off your banging Pride outfit! This shop offers a unique New Yorker shopping experience.

Gravity NYC {The Flyest Kicks}
3760 E Tremont Ave., Bronx, gravitynyc.com. If you’re looking for a snapback, jeans, or the latest and greatest Air Jordans, Gravity NYC has you covered. If you’re going out on the town to celebrate Pride and in search of the perfect pair of sneakers to match, say, your millennial pink bomber jacket or neon orange camo shorts, Gravity NYC is bound to have just the kicks to complete the look.

CUSTOM LOOKS

Harlem Haberdashery {Dress For Success (And Excess)}
245 Malcolm X Blvd., Manhattan, harlemhaberdashery.com. If it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Colin Kaepernick, it’s good enough for, well, pretty much all of us. Harlem Haberdashery specializes in custom clothing, from brightly-colored classic silhouettes to bespoke cufflinks and patches. And, there’s even more reason to visit the store: the Harlem Renaissance-inspired interior is as gorgeous as the garments themselves. Ambience plus celeb-sported threads that’ll show your true colors — what more could we ask for?

Bindle & Keep {Bespoke For Every Body}
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, bindleandkeep.com. If you need a custom made suit for a special occasion (or even just to feel like your authentic self at the office), schedule an appointment in advance with the talented clothiers at Bindle & Keep. Profiled by HBO in the documentary Suited, Rae Tutera and Daniel Friedman have a knack for making LGBTQ folks of all identities feel fabulous in their creations. Do schedule a fitting, though, because with a variety of prices and packages these suits are popular!

FOR THE BOOK WORMS

Housing Works {Buy Books, Fight AIDS}
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, housingworks.org. Housing Works is an organization that advocates to end AIDS and homelessness, and operates several thrift and book stores throughout the city. The Bookstore Cafe is located in Soho and is a must-go for the bookworm who needs quiet time with a coffee and a page-turner in a spacious store. The only thing better than getting caffeinated with a good read is getting caffeinated with a good read while contributing to a worthy cause.

Kew & Willow Books {Queens Love To Read}
81-63 Lefferts Blvd., Queens, kewandwillow.com. After a couple of bookstores closed in Queens, three friends and book sellers teamed up to serve the print-starved book lovers of the borough. The result is Kew & Willow Books, which brings a literary vibe to a part of town that’s home to just one (!) other big book store. This shop is adorable and has a sweet backstory, thanks to being funded on Kickstarter by the community.

GET INTIMATE

Babeland {Sex Positive}
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, babeland.com. For decades, Babeland has reigned supreme as the go-to sex positive store for queer folks, kinksters, and feminists. Whether you are in the market for a new toy or looking to try something new, the staff are knowledgeable and friendly, so no need to feel intimidated. The shops also hold events and workshops if you want to make an afternoon of it.

Museum of Sex {Toys And Exhibits}
233 Fifth Ave., Manhattan, mosexstore.com. Come for the toys, stay for the museum and cafe. The Museum of Sex store proffers a range of items, from bath and aromatherapy goods to fetish wear. Located in the heart of the Flatiron district, it’s also in the middle of the March and Pride activities. If you’re not in the mood to shop, there are guided tours, voguing parties, and other events happening inside.

SOUVENIRS THAT SLAY

The Sill {Green Thumb}
84 Hester St., Manhattan, thesill.com. The Sill’s maxim is “all people are plant people,” and this isn’t your grandmother’s garden. In addition to a monthly subscription box that comes with a plant and gardening accoutrements, The Sill showcases and sells succulents, moss balls, Hoya Hearts, and just about every plant imaginable in easy-to-transport sizes. Bring home some New York City soil.

PRIMP FOR THE PARTY

Photo by Seagull Salon

Seagull Salon {Queer Cuts & Color}
224 West 4th St., 2nd Floor Ste. 200, Manhattan, seagullhair.com. Before heading to Pride parties at The Stonewall Inn or Cubbyhole, pop into this awesomely queer salon that’s down the block from both locations. Seagull stylists can do a range of cuts for short and long hair, as well as add creative colors to your tresses — from lime green to hot pink.

Badlands Barber and Salon {BKLYN Queer Cuts & Color}
87 5th Ave, Brooklyn, badlandssalon.com. Treat yourself to a sleek cut at sophisticated-yet-friendly queer salon Badlands. Check out the simple, inviting interior and playful contemporary design. Rock a new style from the many talented stylists. A new look just in time for Pride!

MUSEUM MINUTE

New Museum {Bucks Tradition}
235 Bowery, Manhattan, newmuseum.org. The sheer industrial architecture of this building should be an indication to visitors that it’s not going to be like your traditional art museum. And once inside, you’ll certainly realize it isn’t. The New Museum bills itself as a space for new art and new ideas, and with exhibits made from “discarded found objects” and workshops on sexual harassment in the art world, it lives up to its non-traditional vibe.

Museum of the Moving Image {Muppet Museum}
36-01 35 Ave., Queens, movingimage.us. Movies, TV, and digital media need a museum, too! The Queens-based Museum of the Moving Image is a repository for art you see on screen, taking attendees behind the camera for a comprehensive look at how media is made. The Jim Henson Exhibition is an extra treat for anyone who grew up on The Muppet Show, Labyrinth, and Fraggle Rock, to name a few.

BronxArtSpace {Move Over, Museum Mile}
305 E 140th St., Bronx, bronxartspace.com. If you think great art is limited to the Museum Mile in Manhattan, it’s time to unpack your assumptions and check out the Bronx’s thriving artistic community. The Bronx- ArtSpace features the work of underrepresented and emerging artists with exhibits highlighting makers from tribal nations and artists of color slated for 2018. What are you waiting for?

Lower East Side Tenement Museum {NYC’s Immigrant History}
103 Orchard St., Manhattan, tenement.org. Go back in time a hundred years to see what New York City was like for immigrants in the early 1900s in these recreated Lower East Side apartments. The Tenement Museum offers a walking tour around the neighborhood, which has come a long way since its gritty push-cart-filled past, and tells the stories of the families that inhabited these buildings.

El Museo del Barrio {El Museo}
1230 5th Ave., Manhattan, elmuseo.org. El Museo strives to showcase the art of Puerto Rican, Latin American, and Caribbean cultures in the U.S. Founded in 1969, the museum’s diverse repertoire features bilingual programming for kids, a Saturday block party (hello, fun!), and the work of its women artists is currently on display at the Hunter East Harlem Gallery.

FOR THE CULTURE

Photo by Shomberg

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture {Powerful Pride}
515 Malcolm X Blvd., Manhattan, nypl.org/locations/schomburg. The Schomburg Center archives and preserves materials that document the African, African Diaspora, and African American experience, and features art, moving images, and photographs by Black artists and media makers. From exhibits on Black Power to a party kicking off Pride, head uptown to soak it all in.

Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art {Representation COUNTS}
26 Wooster St., Manhattan, leslielohman.org. If you want to check out the only dedicated queer art museum in the world (!), you’ve come to the right place. The Leslie Lohman Museum exhibits LGBTQ art, ranging from gorgeous portraits to photography from queers of all kinds. If looking at images isn’t your thing, the museum regularly features screenings and a bazaar, plus a super-chill queer block party.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Central Park {It’s A Classic}
Midtown, Manhattan, centralparknyc.org. There’s a reason why roughly 40 million people visit Central Park each year: It’s stunning and has a range of activities for all interests. Take a stroll around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for views of the Upper West Side’s stunning architecture, go on a boat ride to catch a breeze, or sit on the Great Lawn and listen to the orchestras that play throughout summer (for free). And catch Shakespeare in the Park if you can!

The High Line {Urban Oasis}
Chelsea, Manhattan, thehighline.org. Escape the hot summer streets of the city by walking up a few stories to witness the High Line’s gardens. Built on an old elevated train track, the High Line weaves from the hip Meatpacking District through Midtown. It’s perfect for people-watching and boasts a killer view of the Hudson River. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the brand-new Zoe Leonard’s “I Want A Dyke For President” billboard: A perfect way to celebrate queer art.

ISLAND ESCAPES

Governor’s Island {Picnic The Day Away}
govisland.com. Hop on a ferry from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan or from Pier 6 in Brooklyn to visit this historic island just off of the boroughs. Walk the sprawling green park with hills and explorable terrain to food courts with ice cream and oysters. The Island also offers an array of music festivals and events throughout the warmer months.

City Island {Day Trippin’}
Bronx, cityisland.com. If a small New England coastal town met New York City, you’d get City Island. With seafood restaurants and a marina, this small, but vibrant community sparkles with a maritime vibe and is just a ride over a bridge in the Bronx. Chow down at the Original Crab Shanty for crabs, lobster, and raw bar pickings.

CRUISE AROUND THE CITY

Circle Line {A CLASSIC Tour}
Pier 83 and Pier 16, Manhattan, circleline.com. Before you say something snarky about tourist traps, bear with us. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises escort passengers up and down the Hudson and East Rivers on a tour of 130 different sights. There are cruises to the Statue of Liberty, or during sunset if romantic ambiance is what you crave. There’s no denying that this is a classic, scenic and informative way to soak in the best of New York. All aboard!

Staten Island Ferry {Ride All Day}
4 Whitehall St., Manhattan and 1 Bay Street, Staten Island, siferry.com. It’s free, there’s wifi, and it has a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. The Staten Island Ferry is the only way to get between the borough and Manhattan without hopping into a car, and it’s an amazing way to see Lower Manhattan’s impressive skyline from the water without breaking the bank. With 109 trips daily, these boats might serve as a local’s way to get to work, but we can’t forget the romance of the stunning views.

Free Kayaking {Cheap Thrill}
Pier 26, Manhattan, downtownboathouse.org. What better way to see New York than from the Hudson River? The Downtown Boathouse provides kayaks for boating in an enclosed, protected area — and it’s free. These kayaks are suitable for beginners; you sit on top and wear a life jacket. Plus, the pros will give you a quick lesson before you embark.

MAKE A SPLASH

McCarren Park Pool {Poolside}
776 Lorimer St., Brooklyn, nycgovparks.org. If a view of the Hudson or East River just doesn’t cut it, go for a dip in one of the city’s free pools. The pool in McCarren Park is Olympic-sized and in the heart of Williamsburg, so it’s easy to check out the shops and bars of the neighborhood after taking a dip. Be sure to bring a combination lock and leave the food and drinks behind. Bonus: There’s free sunscreen.

Jacob Riis Park {A Very Queer Beach}
Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, riisparkbeachbazaar.com. Venture beyond the popular and highly-trafficked beaches of the Rockaways to this queer hideaway. Every summer, LGBTQ babes from all over the city trek to the end of the Riis Beach boardwalk to set up and sit down, seaside-style, with the community. Eat, drink, play (and this year, shop at the new bazaar!).

Cherry Grove {gay vacation paradise}
Fire Island, Long Island, fireisland.com. Grab your bikini, a beer, your best babe and jump on the ferry to embark on a very gay adventure to Cherry Grove — the iconic LGBTQ beach haven of Long Island. Chug a rocket fuel, enjoy a poolside drag show, and party in the sun with your queer fam.

FUN~NOT~IN THE SUN

Brooklyn’s Royal Palms Shuffleboard ClubPhoto by Royal Palms

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club {Play A Game}
514 Union St., Brooklyn, royalpalmsbrooklyn.com. If the oppressive city heat isn’t your thing, step inside the Royal Palms. This club is a huge bar modeled to look like a 1960s pool with cabanas that surround shuffleboard courts. Sampling from an array of tasty cocktails, play giant Jenga, Connect Four, and other classic games in the comfort of air conditioning.

Syndicated Bar Theater Kitchen {Movie Time}
40 Bogart St., Brooklyn, syndicatedbk.com. Venture into Bushwick to see recent releases and classics like Spice World while eating and drinking gastropub offerings. Syndicated is an art deco-style theater with waiter service during the flicks and big bar space that plays popular shows, movies, and sports events. Do it on the cheap: Tickets are usually under ten bucks!

Chillhouse {Nails Did}
149 Essex St., Manhattan, chillhouse.com. Find a Zen moment at this ultra- hip nail salon, spa, and cafe. With artistic nail designs and gel that lasts for weeks, Chillhouse is a piece of femme heaven. And, if nail art or massages aren’t your thing, sip on a matcha or coffee in the cafe area of this Lower East Side spot.

SIT BACK AND RELAX

Studio Square Beer Garden {Beer Garden In The City}
35-33 36th St., Queens, studiosquarebeergarden.com. Chill out with a pint in this oversized outdoor space and industrial interior at this Astoria beer garden. With sangria and German beers and eats, the Studio Square is just a few subway stops from Manhattan and a fab option if you don’t mind a high-energy crowd.

Morningside Park {Uptown Nature}
Morningside Dr., Manhattan, nycgovparks.org. Enjoy the green of this 30-acre park in the shade of Columbia University. This graded-elevation outdoor haven features a pond, weeping willows that flow in the wind, and other fauna that make it a needed break from further downtown. With summer concerts and programming for families, this park is a fit if you’re overwhelmed by the size and traffic of Central Park.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden {Green Paradise}
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, bbg.org. Spend a romantic day traipsing through the lush greens of Brooklyn. Take a free tour to learn about the myriad of plants sprawling across the stunning 52-acre garden. Indulge in an Instagram photoshoot in front of all the beautiful, blooming flowers. Check out the website to learn about upcoming events, tours, and what plants are in season.

If you’re looking for the best in nightlife, entertainment and special events, check out all our picks in the NYC listings sections!