Where To Eat
It’s a well-known fact that New York has the best food in the galaxy. We have it all: soul food, tasting menus, designer chocolates, and even competing cupcakeries! With 26,400 licensed food and beverage establishments (more than in 43 of the US states), there’s something for everyone.
Chef Debroah Stanton wows the crowds at Deborah (43 Carmine St btwn Bedford & Bleecker Sts, 212-242-2606, deborahlifelovefood.com). From calamari to pulled pork enchiladas to decadent red velvet cake, she takes “life, love and food” to a new level.
It’s hidden, but it’s a treasure. Superfine (126 Front St btwn Jay & Pearl Sts, DUMBO, 718-243-9005) in up-and-coming DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) serves great cocktails and entrées based on a Mediterranean-inspired new American menu. Its bi-level bar is super hot and Sunday brunch is even hotter with New Mexican green chiles.
Right in the heart of Pride festivities, Andavi (91 Christopher St @ Bleecker St, 212-604-9696, andavi.net) is the perfect choice for wining and dining that special lady with some great Italian food and a romantic garden.
Contemporary bistro East of Eighth (254 W 23rd St btwn 7th & 8th Aves, 212-352-0075, eastofeighth.com), is a Chelsea-gay eatery: artsy and fabulous. Take in their delicious tapas with some live jazz on Thursday nights or a drag show by Hedda Lettuce the last Sunday of the month.
If you venture out to Prospect Heights, grab some great Spanish grub at Beast (638 Bergen St @ Vanderbilt Ave, Prospect Heights, 718-399-6855). Their super-sized tapas is sure to please. Olé!
For all-ages cruising and standard American fare, Rubyfruit (531 Hudson St btwn Charles & 10th St, 212-929-3343) attracts women both day and night. Piano music and cocktails add to the ambiance and their great weekend brunch is popular with tourists and suburbanites. Get there early—this hotspot is one of the most jam-packed in the city.
Lisa Cannistraci (Henrietta Hudson’s, The Chick Inn, Disco Lemonade) has undertaken her latest venture, Setacci (420 Hudson St @ Leroy St, 212-675-0810), a modern Italian restaurant in the former Chick Inn space. Before filling up on the delicious dishes, be sure to check out the bar with nightly specials and organic fresh sangria.
Heralded as one of the best neighborhood restaurants in New York, al di la (248 5th Ave @ Carroll St, Park Slope, 718-783-4565, aldilatrattoria.com) is definitely a GO favorite. The food is amazing and the Park Slope crowd probably couldn’t be any gayer. Just be warned—they don’t take reservations, so you’ll probably have to wait for a table.
No place beats Pink Tea Cup (42 Grove St btwn Bedford & Bleeker Sts, 212-807-6755, thepinkteacup.com) for midnight pancakes after a night of bar hopping and booty shaking. Featured in a dozen gay movies, the Pink Tea Cup is one of the many restaurants in the Village where you can dyke-watch for hours.
CLASSIC NEW YORK
Peter Luger Steak House (178 Broadway @ Driggs Ave, Williamsburg, 718-387-7400, peterluger.com) may not be fancy. It may not be run by drag kings. Their appetizers may leave something to be desired. But there’s a reason it’s been Zagat’s number one chophouse for 22 years straight: Their. Beef. Is. Amazing. Bring cash (steak for two: $65; three: $97.50; four: $130).
No trip to New York is complete without lying, begging and cheating to try and score a table at the most popular Union Square-area restaurant, Gramercy Tavern (42 E 20th St btwn Broadway & Park Ave S, 212-477-0777, gramercytavern.com) If you’re one of the few lucky ones to make it in, definitely partake in the tasting menus: $80 for the eight-course vegetable tasting menu and $95 for the eight-course seasonal tasting menu. Otherwise, try your luck in the no-reservations Tavern Room, which offers the fine fare à la carte.
Watch gondolas and rowboats float by as you dine in style at the Central Park Boathouse (E 72nd St @ Park Dr N, 212-517-2233, thecentralparkboathouse.com), Manhattan’s only lakeside restaurant. The Boathouse offers several dining options: Lakeside dining, the priciest and most decadent choice, the Bar & Grill, where cocktails and light fare such as grilled shrimp and fried calamari are served; or the Express Café, for quicker (and cheaper) eats.
Katz’s Delicatessen (205 E Houston St @ Ludlow St, 212-254-2246, katzdeli.com) is the oldest in New York and the only one that still slices its pastrami by hand. Find the right table, and you can fake an orgasm where Meg Ryan did in When Harry Met Sally, but believe us, you won’t be the first.
GO staffers’ favorite bagels, Murray’s Bagels (500 6th Ave btwn 12th & 13th Sts/242 8th Ave @ 22nd St, 212-462-2830/646-638-1335, murraysbagels.com) has a great selection of hand-made bagels, fresh-cut meats and other delicious delights to please your palate in the morning, NYC-style.
And what’s more “New York” than hot dogs? You can always score a frank at one of the zillion food carts peppering the city streets, but if you’re in the Village or midtown, grab one at Gray’s Papaya (6th Ave @ 8th St, 539 8th Ave). The favorite of frugal New Yorkers, these dogs snap when you bite ‘em, and they cost a whopping 95 cents a pop. Try the special: two franks and a fruit drink for $2.75.
Thomas Keller’s French-American Per Se (Time Warner Ctr, 10 Columbus Cir @ 59th & Broadway, 4th Fl, 212-823-9335, perseny.com) is a super-swank selection for those times you need to really impress. Zagat Survey rated it number one for service, but the food is the main event. The three prix fixe menus at $210 vary between a seven-course menu, a nine-course tasting menu of seasonal vegetables or the signature nine-course chef’s tasting menu.
If the night calls for elegance, reserve a table at The River Café (1 Water St, DUMBO, 718-522-5200, rivercafe.com). Nestled on the Brooklyn waterfront, The River Café offers breathtaking views of the downtown Manhattan skyline coupled with exceptional American cuisine. Indulge in a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $85 or a prix-fixe brunch for $40. Or, if you really want to amaze your girl, go all-out with the six-course chef’s signature tasting menu.
Babbo (110 Waverly Pl btwn MacDougal St & 6th Ave, 212-777-0303, babbonyc.com), Zagat’s number-one Italian is a haven for rock stars, Food Network fans and addicts in search of their next food orgasm. Mario Batali’s flagship den of modern Italian goodness boasts an à la carte menu with entrées in the $25 range, a pasta tasting menu at $64 per person and a traditional tasting menu at $70 per person.
Diners in the know at Mr. Chow (324 E 57th St btwn 1st & 2nd Aves, 212-751-9030, mrchow.com) let the waiters order for them, so it’s said. On an average night you might see two or three major celebrities dining at this hip establishment.
There’s some great BBQ in the city, including fancy-schmancy Blue Smoke (116 East 27th St, 212-447-7733). The acclaimed Danny Meyer establishment will set you back an arm and a leg (and a few ribs!), but at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (646 W 131st St @ 12th Ave, 212-694-1777, dinosaurbarbque.com), $15 gets you a whole heaping platter. As lip-smacking as their BBQ is finger-licking, check out their root beer on tap.
You know you’re in New York when you’re in Veselka (144 2nd Ave @ 9th St, 212-228-9682, veselka.com), a 24-hour Ukrainian soul food restaurant. Get your midnight nosh of blintzes and kielbasa, and wash it down with an imported Ukrainian beer.
For real soul food, head on up to Sylvia’s (328 Lenox Ave btwn 128th & 127th Sts, 212-996-0660, sylviassoulfood.com). It’s touristy but worth the indulgence for some classic Harlem cooking and a live jazz brunch.
For a Far East feast for the body and soul, head over to Hangawi (12 E 32nd St, 212-213-0077, hangawirestaurant.com). Praised by celebs such as Nicole Kidman and Barbara Walters, Hangawi maintains a tranquil, Zen-like environment while preparing healthy, completely vegan meals just like the ones served in Korean Buddhist temples. Most entrees range $15-$20, or splurge on the pricier four-course Chef Special Emperor’s Meal.
Spice things up in Brooklyn with pan-Latin food at Beso (210 5th Ave, Park Slope, 718-783-4902). Summer is a great time to enjoy Beso’s nuevo Latino cuisine and zesty décor—a glass-paned garage door serves as the front of the restaurant, and in balmy weather, they raise it to create that “sidewalk café” ambiance. Locals love Beso’s unique (but slow-paced) brunch, which features popular signature dishes like Latin Eggs Benedict and Cuban egg sandwiches.
Beware all vegetarians, Hacienda de Argentina (339 E 75th St btwn 1st & 2nd Aves, 212-472-5300) is not your kind of restaurant. It screams steak, right down to the menus made of hide. Dark, candlelit and intimate, Hacienda serves grass-fed Uruguayan beef (Argentinean is banned in the US)—so tender, it melts in your mouth.
Two Boots Pizza (multiple locations, 212-505-2276, twoboots.com) gets its name from the matching shapes of the two regions from which it derives its signature recipe: Italy/pizza and Louisiana/Cajun spices. A favorite of so many Downtown New Yorkers, Two Boots has become a staple over the last two decades and has expanded into six restaurants, two movie theatres and a video store.
Revolutionizing the food-cart lunch break, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack (Madison Sq Park, Madison Ave @ E 23rd St, 212-889-6600, shakeshacknyc.com) brings lunchers LA-style burgers, Chicago-style hot dogs and killer lines. But for an all-fresh al fresco lunch in which you actually know what meat went into your burger, it’s so worth the wait.
Mayor Bloomberg may have attempted to ban the Mister Softee (mistersoftee.com) trucks from the streets of New York, but nothing can keep us from our frozen custard! The famed trucks, which play that oh-so-familiar tinkling music, provide a happy treats on your way to…well, everywhere.
With every publication in New York saying it’s found the cupcake shop in NYC, Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleeker St @ 11th St, 212-462-2572) usually comes out on top. Here are GO’s picks for the best five-bite cakes in the city. Cupcake Café (18 W 18th St btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-465-1530, cupcakecafe.com) and Billy’s Bakery (184 9th Ave btwn 21st & 22nd Sts, 212-647-9956, billysbakerynyc.com) are great for their super-sweet frosting and yummy cake. With no gluten, no refined sugar, no wheat, no eggs, no nuts and no dairy, Baby Cakes’ (248 Broome St btwn Orchard & Ludlow Sts, 212-667-5047, babycakesnyc.com) hypo-allergenic vegan desserts are actually good for you and not too sweet. Baby Cakes also sells frosting shots for a dollar!
From lollipops as big as your head to M&Ms in every color you can think of, the world famous Dylan’s Candy Bar (1011 3rd Ave @ 60th St, 888-DYLANS-NY, dylanscandybar.com) truly is a sweet-tooth’s paradise. If there’d been a gift shop at the end of Charlie’s tour of the Chocolate Factory, Dylan’s would surely rival it.
Jacques Torres (66 Water St, DUMBO/350 Hudson St, 718-875-9772/212-414-2462, mrchocolate.com) is our pick for designer chocolates to die for. Recommendation: It may be out of season, but their hot chocolate is way cool.
GOURMET FOOD MARKETS
Zabar’s (2245 Broadway @ 80th St, 212-787-2000, zabars.com) is classic Upper West Side at its very best. Essentially a grocery store, Zabar’s sells everything from rugelach to caviar, smoked fish to dried nuts, and their gift packages are perfect when you just can’t figure out what to give Aunt Sadie.
Gourmet shops come and go, but Jefferson Market (450 6th Ave btwn 10th & 11th Sts, 212-533-3377) has been a Village institution since 1929. Not as fancy-schmancy as Citarella down the street, it’s got hard-to-find items like shredded coconut, gorgeous fruit and some of the best cuts of meat in New York—not to mention, a wonderfully lesbionic staff.
Where To Drink
NYC boasts more lesbian watering holes than any city we can name. For all the dish, see the Nightlife Listings and Editor’s Picks for Pride.
Where To Shop
It’s just not Pride without the perfect outfit, jewelry and sex toys. So read up, then shop ‘til you drop!
Androgyny is hard to manufacture, but the chicks at Dykes in the City (607-280-8385, ditc.net) have made a winning attempt. Their gear, which is now recognizable to lezzies all over, is iconic and, in a word, dykey. They sell both femme and butch gear, from hats to socks, tanks to work shirts and briefs to hand-crafted belts.
To get Shane’s rough and ready look, try Rigged Out/fitters (182 18th St, Brooklyn, 718-788-8559, riggedoutfit.com), whose threads can be seen on The L Word time and again. The out designer, Parisa Parnian, creates garments from vintage menswear by “rigging” pieces with humorous graphics and patches.
The custom bra-fitters at Bra Smyth (905 Madison Ave btwn 72nd & 73rd Sts, 800-BRA-9466, brasmyth.com), a tiny boutique on the Upper East Side, will fit you for your bra in a hands-on sort of way. These lovely ladies will even make alterations on your bra to make it better fit you if you aren’t quite a B or a C, because there’s no such thing as a bad booby.
The ladies at TownShop (2273 Broadway btwn 81st & 82nd Sts, 212-787–2762, townshop.com) also specialize in personal-fit bras, and have been doing so since 1888. They carry sizes A-JJ and can find a bra to go with any outfit and one that will do (almost) anything you want. They feature eight fitting rooms and a cozy atmosphere where you can feel comfortable when they lay their hands on your cans.
Barney’s (660 Madison Avenue btwn 60th & 61st Sts, 212-826-8900, barneys.com) is one of those New York stores that can go bankrupt (it did) and not really close. Selling high-end clothing, accessories and limited home products, there’s also Barney’s Co-op, which is the less exclusive, slightly cheaper, more “bohemian” version of their store. Check their website for Co-op locations.
With all the trappings of daily life (cell phone, wallet, keys, and feminine care product of choice), carrying a bag is pretty much a necessity. For those of you who hate the handbag, Eena Maria (available at Cowgirl Hall of Fame, 519 Hudson St, eenamaria.com) has solved your toting woes with super-hot hipbags (not fannypacks in any sense).
Shopping vegan used to require a whole lot of resourcefulness, but thanks to stores like MooShoes (152 Allen St, 212-254-6512, mooshoes.com) even your kicks can be “cruelty-free.” MooShoes aims to achieve “fashion with compassion”—no animals were harmed to make any of the footwear or accessories on the shop’s shelves. And if the store’s LES location is too far from your neck of the woods, score their stuff online.
The Love + Pride (available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Ave, 1-866-808-LOVE, loveandpride.com) Love + L collection, inspired by The L Word is breath-taking. With so few corporate jewelry collections designed for the gay community and almost all of them with men in mind, Love + L is unique and features something for every lezzie taste.
For simple yet elegant pride gear, check out Pride Crystals (888-PRIDE-18, pridecrystals.com). Made of Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and high grade hematite, this jewelry does rainbows with class.
FUN IN THE SACK
The quintessential toyshop, Babeland (43 Mercer St/94 Rivington St, 212-966-2120/212-375-1701, babeland.com) is woman-owned and -operated, making it a healthy and happy place to buy your first vibe or take a class on oral pleasure. The salespeople are more than happy to give you a helping hand!
Besides the great toys and advice Eve’s Garden (119 W 57th St @ 6th Ave, 212-757-8651, evesgarden.com) offers, they also hold workshops and (if you’re adventurous) offer Pleasureware parties you can host in your home. Similar to the Tupperware parties of yore, it’s more intimate and personal than testing out your toys in the store.
Featured on Sex and the City, the Pleasure Chest (156 7th Ave S @ Waverly Pl, 212-242-2158, thepleasurechestny.com) is the quintessential sex boutique. They sell, among other things, Sliquid (800-SLIQUID, sliquid.com), a great lubricant for all your unsticking needs.
TOYS OF ANOTHER SORT
Barbie’s lesbian friend, Bobbie, is a boybeater-wearing, strap-on-wielding Dyke Doll (“baby dykes” available at Alphabets, 115 Ave A, 212-673-7141, dykedolls.com). Bobbie and friends come in varied dykey outfits (and they are dykey), but you can also accessorize them with strap-ons, a vibrator and briefs.
HOME GAY HOME
A store whose manifesto proclaims “minimalism is a bummer,” Jonathan Adler (47 Greene St/1097 Madison Ave @ 83rd St, 212-941-8950/212-772-2410, jonathanadler.com) creates gorgeous conversation pieces, favored by Queer Eyes everywhere. Find great bargains in their “scandalously well priced” sale selection.
For the eco-conscious, 3R Living (276L 5th Ave btwn Garfield Pl & 1st St, Bklyn, 718-832-0951, 3rliving.com) offers “future friendly products” like bike chain bracelets, recycled glass vases and solar power pockets to a largely lezzie contingent at their Park Slope store.
Where To Primp and Pamper
The parade’s got your feet aching? Head to one of these dens of pleasure for some rejuvenation.
After a full day of parading the streets, march those tired feet over to BuffSpa (at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 5th Ave @ 57th St, 212-872-8624, buffspa.com) for a relaxing and rejuvenating pedicure. Guinot Paris and BuffSpa recently introduced the Pieds d’Été (“summer feet”) pedicure, which utilizes some of Guinot’s most invigorating products to give your toes that well-deserved pampering. Pieds d’Été is available only at BuffSpa at Bergdorf Goodman for $90.
Take your towels off, ladies, because Juvenex Spa (25 W 32nd St, 5th Fl, 646-733-1330, juvenexspa.com) is women-only from 6am-7pm daily. Juvenex features couples packages, including the Basic and Enhanced Romantic Couples Getaways at $395/150 min and $555/210 min, respectively. GO NYC readers get 10% off all spa treatments!
Avalon Salon and Day Spa (271 W 4th St btwn Perry & 11th Sts, 212-337-1966) is not only a spa, but also a hair salon favored by local lezzies. Upstairs is the hair salon and personal care area, and downstairs offers a range of massages. Most of the masseuses are men, so if you prefer a woman, make sure to specify when you make your appointment.
NOBODY TOUCHES MY ’DO
For the ultimate hip haircut, ULTRA NYC (123 Essex St btwn Rivington & Delancey Sts, 212-677-4380, ultra-nyc.com) will hook you up. Their stylists specialize in funky dos, so dykey haircuts need apply!
So now you have the perfect cut but you don’t have the gunk to maintain or style it? The folks at Ricky’s NYC (multiple locations, 212-226-5552, rickys-nyc.com) can hold your hand through the whole product-buying process, helping find the perfect product for your style and hair type.
MIDTOWN PIDDLE POTS
We’ve all been there: You’ve got to tinkle, but everywhere you turn, there’s a sign proclaiming “For Customers Only.” Do you buy the slice of pizza you don’t want, just to use the grimy loo? Dilemma extraordinaire—no more! Go straight to the gorgeous Bryant Park Public Restrooms (40th–42nd Sts btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org). With fresh flowers and pristine tiles, you’ll think you have just stepped into a five-star hotel. They’re completely hygenic, too, with a security guard outside and a cleaning staff member inside.
Another stop you could try is the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (301 Park Ave, 212-355-3000, waldorf-astoria.com). With its private bathrooms, you even have our own sink. And don’t worry about being underdressed—unless you’re dressed for the beach, the Waldorf welcomes just about anyone.
Last but not least is the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel (80 Columbus Circle @ 60th St, 212-805-8800, mandarinoriental.com), with its Dale Chihuly (chihuly.com) glass sculpture-decorated lobbies and high-ceilinged modern bathrooms. These floor-to-ceiling doors are private and intimately lit. Beautifully decorated with mahogany accents and mirrors, these bathrooms aim to please.
Where To Play Inside
If you can’t take the heat, stay inside! There’s plenty to do in NYC this summer that won’t cause tan lines. Here are our picks.
The Lesbian Herstory Archives (484 14th St btwn 8th Ave & Prospect Park W, Park Slope, 718-768-DYKE, lesbianherstoryarchives.org) is one of the few major research facilities in the country where you don’t need credentials to get your foot in the door. Where else can you find everything from original Stonewall Riots memorabilia to the oral history of lesbians all over the country?
Assuming you’re 18, head to the Museum of Sex (233 5th Ave @ 27th St, 212-689-6337, $14.50/$13.50 students, museumofsex.com), where the sign out front says it all: “Please do not touch, lick, stroke or mount the exhibits.” Their current exhibits, one on porn and another on sex in Japan through the ages, are titillating, to say the least. Check the website for a $5-off coupon.
If you’re looking to get in shape, check your diet at the door—Pure Power Boot Camp (35 W 21st St bet 5th and 6th Aves, 2nd Fl, 212-414-1886, purepowerbootcamp.com) has a “no fail” policy. The city’s only indoor obstacle course offers a six-week “Tours of Duty,” where they use techniques borrowed from all four departments of the US Military to transform you into an “elite athlete.”
The people who brought you Our Name is Mud (Grand Central Station, 877-MUD-STORE, ournameismud.com) have reopened their oh-so-fun paint-your-own-pottery stores under a new name: Make (multiple locations, 212-579-5575, makemeaning.com). These crafty folks offer adult nights on Thursdays and Fridays from 6 to 10pm with free red wine, and you can BYO if you prefer something else.
Native New Yorkers may remember the time when going to the batting cages or driving range meant traveling to Long Island, Jersey or Connecticut. The solution for lazy athletes was found with Chelsea Piers (Piers 29-62, 23rd St & Hudson River, 212-336-6666, chelseapiers.com), right here in the city. Chelsea Piers has all your sport-needs under (and on) one roof: batting cages, ice hockey, ice and roller skating, rock climbing, gymnastics, indoor soccer, basketball, the most expensive bowling alley in the country, and lessons in all their varied sports.
Where To Get Wet
Living in the center of the world, we New Yorkers sometimes forget that our city is actually a tiny island of the coast of Europe. Take advantage of all that water, with these aqua-friendly suggestions.
The historic South Street Seaport (Fulton & South Sts, Pier 17 212 748 8600, southstreetseaport.com) offers all the many faces of a New York day: dawn fish deliveries, early morning school sailing trips, midday Wall Street lunch breaks, nighttime pub crawls, and all-day sightseeing, shopping and river-gazing. A tip to the wise: if you’re trying to find Broadway tickets, skip Times Square and head down to the TKTS (corner of Front and John Sts, open every day at 11am, matinees only available the day before, tdf.org) booth in the Seaport—find tickets for 25%-, 35%- and 50%-off full price.
Nothing beats seeing the Manhattan skyline when visiting the city. But if you’re in Manhattan, that’s difficult to do. The Circle Line (Pier 83, W 42nd St @ Hudson Rvr, 212-563-3200, tickets range $11-$65, circleline42.com) takes you on a 3-hour trip around the island ($29 adults/$16 children)..
Another way to get in your skyline photo quota is to head out to Governor’s Island (Free ferry departs from Battery Maritime Building, Slip 7, 10 South St @ Whitehall St, next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, nps.gov/gois). Trips to the island are now free for the first time since the island reopened for public visitation in 2004. Once there, walk along the mansions of Colonel’s Row, take in the dramatic view of New York Harbor and relax on the western Esplanade. The well-preserved remnants of colonial history provide a haunting and intriguing backdrop to a summer picnic.
The enromous aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid (Pier 86, W 46th St @ 12th Ave, 212-245-0072, intrepidmuseum.org), is truly a sight to behold. A Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Intrepid hosts a huge collection of flight crafts from over the years, along with the USS Growler, the only intact strategic nuclear submarine.
If you’re looking to escape the scorching city, hop a train and lounge on Long Beach (longbeachny.org, LIRR Long Branch line). The Long Beach train station is only a 4-minute walk from the boardwalk and Beach Park, both of which offer a variety of summer recreational and cultural activities. From June 26th through Labor Day, the Beach Park is open 7 days a week from 9am–6pm ($7 adults and children over 13).
For an inexpensive beach adventure, take the “A” train all the way to the last stop (and enjoy a scenic view of Jamaica Bay) to explore Rockaway Beach, Queens (www.geocities.com/~rockaway/index.html). Former home of the Rockaway Playland amusement park, Rockaway’s 5-mile beach still draws tourists from the NYC area who want to unwind summer-style without spending an entire paycheck.
Home to the NY Aquarium (Surf Ave & W 8th St, $12 adults/$8 children and seniors, nyaquarium.org) and the world-famous Mermaid Parade and Ball each Pride, Coney Island (coneyisland.com) is a favorite retreat for millions of New Yorkers and tourists. Astroland (1000 Surf Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718-372-0275, astroland.com), home of the Cyclone (the world’s largest roller coaster) is the main reason Coney Island has been an American institution for over a century.
If you’re interested in competitive swimming, check out NY Swim (nycswim.org), an organization that sets up and organizes swimming events in the waters around Manhattan. For a friendly match with like-minded folks, join Team NY Aquatics (tnya.org), an LGBT-friendly swim/water polo/synchro team.
Where To Get Some Cultcha
Admit it—everything you know about art you learned in The DaVinci Code. Just your luck, NYC is home to some of the biggest and best collections this side of the Seine. There’s no better time than now to learn the difference between Renoir, Rembrandt and the Renaissance at these famed establishments.
The beautifully redesigned MoMA (11 W 53 St btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-708-9400, moma.org), or Museum of Modern Art, is so spacious and full that it’s difficult to see it all in one day. From photography to pottery, Dadaism to Contemporary painting, to the design of the iPod and New York City subway signs, the MoMA covers it all.
Blimey! The mammoth Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Ave @ 82nd St, 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org) currently features Anglo Mania, an exhibit on tradition and transgression in British fashion. Also of note, an exhibit on Hatshepsut, the great female pharaoh. Up on the roof, check out Chinese sculptor Cai Guo-Quiang’s thought-provoking works.
Continue your art tour with the Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave @ 89th St, 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org). Definitely don’t miss the first Friday of every month, when visitors are treated to a drink and a soundtrack—world-renowned DJs mix beats that complement the current exhibits.
If you’re leaning more towards a gallery tour, Chelsea is the first part of town you should check out. Featuring absolutely amazing artwork from some truly innovative artists, ClampArt (531 W 25th St, Ground Fl, 646-230-0020, clampart.com) specializes in modern and contemporary paintings, prints and photographs, especially early 20th Century art, though they have a large selection of contemporary artwork as well. While you’re gallery-hopping, check out the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation (26 Wooster St @ Grand St/127B Prince St @ Wooster St, 212-431-2609/212-673-7007, leslielohman.org), a gallery that features work by gay artists and on gay subjects. A useful resource for all your art browsing needs is Gallery Guide Magazine (galleryguide.org), which provides listings of openings, exhibits and galleries, and offers maps to help you navigate your way all over Chelsea, SoHo and TriBeCa.
See the Summer Fun article for more on museums, theatre, and music throughout the summer and the Arts and Entertainment section for events this month.
Where To Take Heather and Her Two Mommies
Load up the station wagon! NYC has all the necessary distractions to make your Pride visit a family affair.
At Sony Wonder Technology Lab (56th St & Madison Ave, 212-833-8100, closed Mondays, sonywondertechlab.com) you and your little ones can spend a whole day exploring the featured technology and exhibits, which include an interactive movie theatre (where the audience decides what should happen during the movie), a timeline of technology over the last 150 years and a music video post-production studio.
Ellis Island (from Battery Park, NY or Liberty State Park, NJ, $11.50 rt ferry service, nps.gov/elis) is one of the many historic treasures of New York. Combine it with a visit to Liberty Island, where you’ll pay an arm and a leg to go up that lady’s dress (and trust us, there’s not that much to see under there). If you can take it (do not attempt with small children), climb to the top of the crown for an amazing view.
Central Park (59th St–110th St btwn 5th Ave and CPW, centralpark.org) has always been a mainstay of outdoor and family activity. Be sure to check out the Carousel (mid-park @ 64th St by the Heckscher Ballfields, 212-879-0244, $1.25), a 3-and-a-half-minute ride. The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre (W side of park at 79th St, SW of the Great Lawn, 212-988-9093, $6 Adults/$5 Children) has been a favorite for over 50 years. Showings are Tuesday–Friday at 10:30am and noon and Saturday at 1pm, but you must have reservations. Victorian Gardens (E side btwn 62nd & 63rd Sts, just SW of the Zoo, 212-982-2229, victoriangardensnyc.com), brought to you by The Donald, is basically a county fair that lasts for the whole summer. Admission is $6 (under 36” free with an adult) and going on a ride or playing a game costs you a dollar. Go for the wristband option: $12 gets you unlimited rides for the day.
The American Museum of Natural History (CPW btwn 77th & 81st Sts, 212-769-5100, amnh.org) is the perfect destination for the science geek that lives deep inside all of us. The newly redesigned Hayden Planetarium, at the Rose Center for Earth and Science (amnh.org/rose/hayden), has the coolest space exhibits on this planet, including The Big Bang—a show you watch looking down into a 36-by-eight-foot-deep bowl.
Dedicated to your morals about fair labor and the environment and dissatisfied about having to sacrifice them for Junior’s Tickle-Me-Elmo? Specializing in Fair Trade and recycled toys, Sons and Daughters (35 Ave A @ E 3rd St, 212-253-7797) is crunchy, kid-friendly coolness.
If you’re a history buff (or aspire to be one), visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (108 Orchard St, 212-982-8420, www.tenement.org) for an in-depth look at the urban immigrant experience. Located in the most famous immigrant neighborhood in the country, the museum has preserved an authentic 19th-century tenement building and provides tours of unrestored apartments for a window into tenement life. The museum also offers the educational Confino Program, which is specifically designed for families and students of all ages (www.tenement.org/k12.html).
Where to Pet the Pooch
Countless studies in zoos worldwide have shown that our furry friends and companions can indeed be as homo-happy as we humans. Thank woman’s best friend for the show of solidarity, and treat your doggie-with-two-mommies to some Pride presents.
From a “Furrari” petbed to a sparkling tiara for your kitty, a set of martini-shaped dog biscuits (complete with pimento-filled, olive-shaped biscuits) to doggie formal wear, Trixie + Peanut (23 E 20th St btwn Broadway & Park Ave S, 212-358-0881, trixieandpeanut.com) has it all.
At East Yoga Center Doga Yoga (212 Ave B, enter on 13th St, 212-420-8411, $20, eastyogacenter.com/doga.html), instructor Kari Harendorf and her dog Charlie lead this unusual, but oh-so-New York session in which you and your pooch stretch your bodies and get a great workout. Kari teaches how to massage your pup and to use your best friend as a workout partner to help you with your stretching! For Chihuahua-owners worried about squishing their little friends, don’t worry—the yoga poses are modified for small breed dogs.
Hope Vet (390 Atlantic Ave, Beorum Hill, Brooklyn, 718-852-4219, hopevet.com) offers a variety of services beyond those of a typical veterinary clinic. Hope offers pet adoption, new pet parenting help and individual and group counseling for owners as well as rehabilitation, dental and hospice care for pets.
New Yorkers have a lot of dogs, but very few have backyards. Check out the Dog Run (136 9th Ave, 212-414-2500, email@example.com) for all your exercising needs. Of course, the Dog Run should not be confused with the city dog runs (nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/af_dog_runs.html). Check the website for locations, since not all parks offer dog runs and many (such as Central Park and Riverside Park) have multiple. Posted signs and laws should be observed in dog runs at all times.
Where To Sleep
We know not everyone has hundreds of dollars to drop each night on their hotel alone (that plus food plus drinks plus parties adds up), so we’ve picked these hotels not just for our babes who like a little indulgence, but also for the frugally minded.
The newly renovated, designer Shoreham Hotel (33 W 55th St, 800-553-3347, shorehamhotel.com, from $329/night, pets under 40lbs, see website for promotions) is one of GO NYC’s favorite spots to cuddle down. With a fabulous bar, cool gadgets in the rooms and a location that’s second to none, the Shoreham puts the “hot” back in “hotel.” When booking, mention GO NYC for a great Pride discount.
Do you dream of a hotel with sweeping views, where you can lounge on the deck in your Adirondack chair, sipping drinks brought to you by a tall, sexy…Ok, maybe that’s our dream. But it can be your reality at On the Ave (2178 Broadway @ 77th St, 212-362-1100, ontheave-nyc.com, from $225/night, pets under 30lbs), which has a wrap-around guest-access balcony on the 16th floor with a stunning view of the midtown, the Hudson River and Central Park. Mention GO NYC when booking your room and receive a discount!
Location, location, location! Chic and sophisticated, W Hotels (multiple locations, 877-946-8357, whotels.com, rates based on availability, pets under 85lbs in a cage) are a mecca for celebrities drawn to the sleek design and visitors drawn to the not-bad-for-New-York price tag. Their Broadway Times Square location is convenient to all things touristy, and their Union Square location is convenient to all things Pride. Check their website for details on select discount packages.
If you’re looking to escape the Times Square mayhem or the Christopher Street antics, head out to Long Island City’s Holiday Inn Express (3805 Hunters Point Ave, 718-706-6700, hiexpress.com, $120-149/night). It’s economical and easily accessible, and the dancing in the streets won’t keep you up half the night. Unless it’s you who’s dancing…
If you’re really strapped for cash, try Hostelling International New York (891 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd St, 212-932-2300, hinewyork.org, rooms with 1, 4 or 6+ beds, from $29/night), situated in the DMZ (that’s the Demilitarized Zone) between the students at Columbia and the families on the Upper West Side.
Where To Find Your Way
You can’t enjoy all the wonderful recommendations we’ve labored to provide you if you don’t get here in the first place! Don’t be thwarted by all the colors and letters–getting around is not as hard as you think.
Urban legend claims that the Chinatown Bus (chinatown-bus.org) has played host to everything from chicken beheadings to gang bangs, and your mom says that it’s where Amy Fisher shot Mrs. Buttafuoco, but it’s still a $35 roundtrip from DC. It may be a bit smelly, really cramped, and the guy next to you might fall asleep on your shoulder around Princeton, but you get what you pay for (which almost always includes a bad movie!).
If your mom’s still not sure about the Chinatown bus, Greyhound (Port Authority Bus Terminal, 40th–42nd Sts btwn 8th & 9th Aves, greyhound.com), though questionably more reputable, is still be an acceptable form of transportation. Make sure you book your trip through their New York e-savers and that you get a Peter Pan bus if you want a movie.
One step up, the nation’s overpriced subsidized rail system, Amtrak (Penn Station, 31st–34th Sts btwn 7th & 8th Aves, amtrak.com), can deliver you directly into Manhattan, and in comfort, if you take the Acela.
If you’re flying into New York and don’t have the money for a taxi, Airtrain (panynj.gov/airtrain) offers a way to get to and from Newark and JFK airports for just $5 each way.
For all of your New Jersey needs, use NJTransit (Penn Station, 34th St entrance @ 7th Ave, njtransit.com) and the PATH (panynj.gov/path), for a cheaper, 24-hour alternative, at just $1.50 a ride. The MTA (718-330-1234, mta.info) gives us all our other lovely transportation in and around New York: the subway, the buses, the Long Island Railroad (Penn Station, 34th St entrance @ 7th Ave, mta.info/lirr) and MetroNorth (Grand Central Station, 42nd–45th Sts btwn Vanderbilt & Lexington Aves, mta.info/mnr). However, they also gave us the Strike, the Tram getting stranded over the river and endless weekend detours and closings, so be sure to check the website for updates.
Where To Park Your U-Haul
So now you love New York. You might even say you heart New York. You are so infatuated that you’re even thinking of moving here. Here are a few areas to consider.
The Village (East, West, and Greenwich Villages, Manhattan) may not be affordable anymore, with average prices on a 2-bedroom rental ranging around $5000/mth, but there’s one thing you can say for it: it sure is gay.
Your apartment might be cramped and leaky on the LES (Lower East Side, Manhattan), but you’re there. You’re in the middle of everything. Your building is pretty (in a way) and pre-war, you’re surrounded by artists and you’re walking distance from almost everything that you love about the city. What more could you want but lower rent (around $2100/2-bdrm)?
Beyond the allure of Prospect Park, Park Slope (Brooklyn) offers tons of lesbians. One of the greatest lesbian communities in New York (if not the greatest), “Dyke Slope” may be pricey for recent college grads (around $1750/2-bdrm), but for working professionals and young families, it is a beautiful community area with lots to do and a great nightlife.
One of the last neighborhoods on the East River to “give” to gentrification, Red Hook (Brooklyn), long-time home to longshoremen, is now home to the brand new Fairway, and thus, the artists that have been living there for half a century will become more visible in about three weeks.
One of the hottest neighborhoods right now, Williamsburg (Brooklyn), is also relatively affordable (you can get $1300/2-bdrm). The neighborhood is mostly filled with hipsters and Hassidim, a little bit of an eclectic mix that makes for a diverse neighborhood, great for young New Yorkers.
With 2-bedroom apartments starting around $2000/mth, DUMBO is an intriguing place to live, considering most of the apartments are actually industrial lofts. The parks are spacious, the neighbors are hip and the area is generally pretty quiet.
If you can bear to forfeit a trendy NYC zip code, stake your claim in up-and-coming Jersey City, NJ, where you’ll find the convenience of living in an outer borough, only for less dough. But hurry—with spectacular views of the city and a hip downtown area, this town’s on the upswing, and high rent is sure to follow!
For help finding the NYC-area apartment of your dreams, call Kristin Hurd at Weichert Realtors (201-860-4009, firstname.lastname@example.org) or the folks at The Gayborhood (732-744-0008, thegayborhood.com) for Jersey digs. If you’re determined to plant your roots within the five boroughs, Sybil Wilson at Halstead Property (212-317-7868, email@example.com) or Kristina Leonetti at the Corcoran Group (212-500-7028, firstname.lastname@example.org) will help you find the closet of your dreams.
Where To Do Some Good
Get political with the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) (prideagenda.org, 212-627-0305), the statewide organization fighting for the civil rights of LGBT New Yorkers and their families through advocacy, education and lobbying for policy advancement. Volunteer with Marriage Equality New York (MENY) (marriageequalityny.org, 877-772-0089), a grassroots organization devoted to securing the right of legally-recognized marriage to New York’s same-sex couples. America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) (hrc.org), recruits every year at Pride. Don’t just sport their stickers—sign up! Or join the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Agaisnt Defamation (GLAAD) (glaad.org, 212-629-3222), who work to ensure fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT representation in the media.
Always looking for volunteers, The Village’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Community Center (gaycenter.org, 212-620-7310) is the largest of its kind on the East Coast. The Center provides social services, education and cultural/recreational programs for LGBT people of all ages. If you’re passionate about helping the homeless, try the Ali Forney Center (aliforneycenter.org, 212-222-3427), where homeless LGBT youth find food and shelter along with a variety of health, housing and employment assistance services. Volunteer at Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE) (sageusa.org, 212-741-2247), where you’ll help create a quality aging experience for LGBT seniors through a unique, life-enriching program. Combat violence targeted at LGBT and HIV-infected persons with the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP) (avp.org, 212-714-1184), which provides free and confidential counseling and advocacy services to victims in the NYC area.
If health is your thing, help out a local center geared towards the LGBT community’s medical n