What makes New York City a fantastic gay destination? Just about everything. It is composed of five boroughs covering 300 square miles, but with so much to see and do within the 23 square miles called Manhattan, most visitors sadly don’t have time to walk or cycle across the Brooklyn Bridge or visit the outer boroughs. (You could make a terrific vacation out of Brooklyn and Queens alone!) What are you looking for when you visit NYC? Art? Cultural diversity? Restaurants? Architecture? Street life? History? Theater? Nightlife? Bars? Parks? Waterfront? Gayborhood(s)? A hot date? NYC wants to place first in every event, offering visitors the best of everything from bagels to bars.
Gay NYC has expanded from its epicenter, the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village where gay liberation was born with the riots of 1969. Currently, there are large gayborhoods in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, but it is becoming more common to see same-sex couples holding hands everywhere, including the sidewalks of the fashionable Upper West Side Lincoln Center neighborhood. Washington Heights, Harlem, Jackson Heights, Park Slope and Bushwick have growing gayborhoods that are well worth researching and visiting. Keep in mind that assimilation – the by-product of legalizing same-sex marriage – means that gay New Yorkers are comfortably and openly living in a variety of neighborhoods beyond that very gay stretch of the West Side between Greenwich Village and Columbus Circle.
The result of assimilation is that all of New York City is gay!
Traditional gay ghettoes such as Greenwich Village are now home to an influx of straight residents. This transition to healthy assimilation involves some growing pains. For example, on the north side of West 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, complete demolition gave way to a massive complex of high-end condos. Across the street is the venerable leather bar, The Eagle, with its open-air and boisterous roof top terrace. Also, that block is home to the annual Folsom Street East festival in which a huge crowd of folks in fetish gear and various stages of undress celebrate their life style. The condo developers protested the bar and the festival, trying to get rid of them in order to make their condos more appealing. They were very surprised to hear from their buyers that both The Eagle and Folsom Street East ought to be allowed to remain. Real New Yorkers don’t have the kind of sexual hang-ups assumed by those developers. That said, soaring New York City real estate prices have meant the closure of a number of gay businesses that could not remain solvent while managing the escalating rents.
How has the prevalence of social apps like Grindr and Scruff impacted NYC as a gay destination? Just ask the undisputed crown of downtown, Michael Musto, who tells me, “There are more gays than ever in NYC, and there’s more queer theater than ever. Only the nightlife is hurting, mainly because no one goes out to get laid anymore. They do it via their phones, so the clubs have lost their sexual urgency. The result is a couple of dozen small bars, but they’re valuable for schmooze time and fun drag shows. Occasionally the patrons will even look away from their phones.” When I asked Musto if he thought gay NYC would vanish, he said, “Vanish? With throngs of gays everywhere in NYC, and dozens of bars, and tons of gay culture? Chicken Little much?”
Every New Yorker has their own short list of special places they want to share with visiting friends and family. My list includes
- the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, the nearby Shakespeare Garden, the Ramble and the Bow Bridge, all in Central Park.
- The Leslie-Lohman gay art museum,
- The Christopher Street Pier, for the eye candy in summer
- the bike/running promenade along the Hudson River from the 79th Street boat basin up to the George Washington Bridge,
- the Highline, a beautifully transformed stretch of abandoned elevated steel train bed that snakes through midtown-west and is now lush with flowers, trees and benches,
- the ferry from Wall Street’s Pier 11 to Redhook in Brooklyn (free if you make a $10 purchase at the IKEA store where the ferry deposits you!) This ferry ride gives you an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty, the bridges and skyline of Manhattan, and Governor’s Island. You’ll also get to tour the shops and galleries of trendy Redhook.
- the 9/11 Memorial
- a few moments in front of the Stonewall Inn.
- I often walk my guests north from Columbus Circle to the Lincoln Center Fountain and then through the trendy shops of Columbus Avenue to the famous Dakota building on 72nd Street, and into Central Park’s Strawberry Fields to see the John Lennon memorial where someone is always playing guitar and leading an impromptu Beatles sing-along.
- Combine a tour of The Cloisters with lunch at Bette Midler’s New Leaf restaurant, both in Fort Tryon Park. The restaurant is a 1930 Rockefeller building designed by the Olmsted brothers.
Mentioning Lincoln Center reminds me that you should always check their calendar while planning your trip. Throughout the warmer months there are many free performances, concerts and events in the plazas of Lincoln Center. Afterwards, walk across the street to Boulud for alfresco or indoor dining. There’s a café, bar, restaurant and Épicerie all named Boulud at that location. Examine the menus or the gourmet take-outs before making your choice. Not cheap but worth it.
Bars and restaurants? The choices are endless. Tell your host or concierge what you like and be assured you won’t be disappointed. Some of the restaurants I often recommend require a reservation while others do not. My favorites are often too crowded to receive me. Not to worry. I have discovered some of my favorite restaurants by looking around for a nearby alternative when the place I had targeted told me the wait for a table might be an hour or more. Being adventurous often earns you a memorable dining experience. I’ll also confess that in NYC, when I am exploring parts of the city that are unfamiliar to me, I’ll often check out Google maps, Yelp! or Trip Advisor for nearby recommendations. I take those ratings with a grain of salt, but I like the fact that they allow me to review menus and photos while deciding which to try.
When you are deciding how to get around, do not be afraid to ride the subway. It can be confusing, but a very helpful app, “itrans NYC,” will let you know when your train will arrive and which lines might be experiencing delays or rerouting. If you need info while in a subway car, do not hesitate to ask any rider. Ask one, and five others are sure to chime in. New Yorkers love to give directions and assistance. There is always someone who speaks your language, and it’s a great way to make friends with the locals.
If you choose to rent a bicycle – and I think you should – be sure you follow the rules of the road. Stop for traffic lights and watch out for pedestrians who very often step into designated bike lanes. Did you know that in Manhattan a cyclist has the right to use a full traffic lane? Cars cannot demand that you pull over to the side. That said, be careful when you are on a bicycle. The number of cyclists in Manhattan is growing rapidly, but so is the number of injuries. And no, you can’t ride that bike on the sidewalk. You can ride your bike on the roadways in Central Park where a six-mile loop will allow you to see the whole of it. You’ll dismount frequently to walk your bike onto paths that lead to gardens, lakes, meadows and promenades.
New York is the city that never sleeps, and no matter how long or short your visit, you probably won’t either.
Element by Westin Times Square West
311 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
Westin NY Grand Central
212 E. 42ndStreet
New York, NY 10017
Paramount Hotel New York
New York, NY 10036
New York, NY 10036
Algonquin Hotel — 59 W. 44thStreet, NY, NY 10036 // 212-840-6800
Americana Hotel — 69 W. 38thStreet, NY, NY 10018 // 212-840-6700
Chelsea Inn — 46 W. 17thStreet, NY, NY 10011 // 212-645-8989
Chelsea Mews GH — 344 W. 15thStreet, NY, NY 10014 // 212-255-9174
Chelsea Pines Inn — 317 W. 14thStreet, NY, NY 10014 // 212-929-1023
Chelsea Savoy Hotel — 204 W. 23rdStreet, NY, NY 10011 // 866-929-9353
Colonial House Inn — 318 W. 22ndStreet, NY, NY 10011 // 212-243-9669
Courtyard by Marriott—1033 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10018 // 212-768-0007
Dylan NYC, The — 51East 41st Street, NY, NY 10017 // 212-338-0500
Evelyn Hotel, The — 7 E. 27thStreet, NY, NY 10017 // 212-545-8000
Fairfield Inn by Marriott New York Times Square — 330 West 40th Street, NY, NY 10018 // 212-967-9494
Four Points by Sheraton Midtown Times Square — 326 West 40th Street, NY, NY 10018 // 212-967-8585
Hilton Manhattan East — 304 E. 42ndStreet, NY, NY 10017 // 212-0986-8800
Hotel James No-Mad — 22 East 29th Street (at Madison Ave.) NY, NY 10016 // 212-532-4100
Hotel at Times Square — 59 W. 46th Street, NY, NY 10036 // 212-739-2300
Hotel Pennsylvania — Seventh Avenue, NY, NY 10001 // 212-736-6000
Kimberly Hotel & Suites — 145 E. 50thStreet, NY, NY 10022 // 212-702-1600
Skyline Hotel — 725 10thAvenue, NY, NY 10019 // 212-586-3400
Travel Inn, The—515 W. 42ndStreet, NY, NY 10036 // 212-695-7171
Tryp by Wyndham Times Square South — 345 W. 35th Street, NY, NY 10018 // 212-600-2440
Washington Jefferson — 218 W. 51stStreet, NY, NY 10019 // 212-246-7550
Wyndham Garden Inn — 37 W. 24thSt. NY, NY 10010 // 212-243-0800
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art
26Wooster St, NYC
Put this at the top of your list. Created by its founders to preserve LGBTQ identity and build community, the Leslie-Lohman delivers artistic achievement from a queer perspective. The exhibits are always provocative. Their newly expanded space is an LGBTQ cultural hub.
Check their calendar for events at their second location, PROJECT SPACE, 127-B Prince Street, NYC..
9/11 Memorial & Museum
180 Greenwich St, Manhattan
Remembering and honoring the 2,983 people killed in the attacks of 9/11/2011 and 2/26/1993, and those who risked their lives to save others. The Memorial is free. The museum is ticketed.
One World Observatory
One World Trade Center,
285 Fulton St, Manhattan
On levels 100, 101, and 102 of the 1,776 foot One World Trade Center building, One World Observatory™ provides unique, panoramic views of New York City, its most iconic sites, and surrounding waters.
Discovery Times Square
226 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
Discovery Times Square (DTS) is New York City’s first large-scale exhibition center presenting visitors with limited-run, educational and immersive exhibit experiences while exploring the world’s defining cultures, art, history, and events. More than a museum, Discovery Times Square is the destination for discovery through unique and immersive exhibits in New York. Here, events epic and rare come to life by connecting you to the greatest human stories ever told. Intelligent, exciting, and moving – it’s the experience that counts. DTS has featured a renowned line-up of exhibitions including Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop, King Tut, Pompeii: The Exhibit, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition, Terracotta Warriors: Defenders of China’s First Emperor, The Art of the Brick, Marvel’s AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N. The Exhibition, The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, Body Worlds, The Viking Exhibition and most recently, Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume.
Staten Island Ferry
Whitehall Street, Manhattan
This free half-hour ride gives you great views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
MoMA is the largest platform for contemporary art in the USA. Admission is free on Friday evenings! Seen it all? Want more? Visit their second location in Queens:
22-25 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY
1071 5th Ave
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this is the round museum with the iconic coiled ramp. Committed to innovation, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation collects, preserves, and interprets modern and contemporary art, and explores ideas across cultures. Also located in Venice, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi.
Broadway/Columbus Ave between 62nd & 66th Streets
Dance, music, film, opera, theater, and festivals! A dazzling complex of performance spaces and exhibits. Year-round indoor and outdoor events. You must consult their calendar when planning your trip. Stroll the plaza and its gorgeous fountain, or get take-out across the street at Boulud for your picnic in the Barclay Grove by the Henri Moore and Alexander Calder sculptures.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St
Real New Yorkers may lose their driver’s license but never their Met membership card! It gets you express entrance, previews, special hours, discounts and guest passes. Tourists who do the math often find membership worth the cost. The Met Fifth Avenue presents over 5,000 years of art spanning all cultures and time periods. Since 1880, its footprint in Central Park has grown to more than two million square feet. You’ll never see it all, and don’t miss its two other locations: the MET Breuer on Madison Ave at 75th St, and, The MET Cloisters in Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park. (See why that membership is a bargain?)
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Liberty Island, NY
One ferry excursion gets you to both. Research your family history at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Ferries Depart from NYC’s Battery Park or Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ
Take a moment to stand where the courageous rioted and marched to make you free.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St, NYC
Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney’s new building increases its exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.
Top of the Rock
50th St between 5th & 6th Ave
Best elevator ride in NYC! The multi-level observation decks have stunning panoramic views. Timed or unscheduled ticketing.
Times Square/Theatre District
Times Square Visitors Center
1560 Broadway, between 46th & 47th St
New Yorkers may say “No, thanks” to its crushing crowds, but it’s on your bucket list, so be careful with your valuables, and spend a few minutes at the center of it all where the lights are always bright. Plan your visit to Times Square to include a Broadway show.
The High Line
Rusty tracks have become a lush urban paradise. The brainchild of a gay NYC couple, the High Line is a public park built on an abandoned freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
New York Water Taxi runs a daily shuttle from Wall Street’s Pier 11 in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s IKEA! Free on weekends. On the water, you’ll have fantastic views of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, The Statue of Liberty and Governor’s Island. During the week, if you spend at least $10 at IKEA, you get $5 off your bill, covering your ferry trip ticket! Take some time to explore swiftly gentrifying Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal while you are there.
Branded Saloon -603 Vanderbilt Ave
Club Langston – 1073Atlantic Ave
Ginger’s Bar- 363Fifth Ave
Metropolitan – 559boomer St
Barracuda -275 West22ndSt
Boxers NYC 37 West 20th St 212-255-5082
Eagle NYC, The – 554 West 28th St
GymSportsbar-167 Eighth Ave
Eastern Bloc-505East 6thSt
Nowhere 322East 14th St
Phoenix Bar -447East 13th St
The Boiler Room -86East4thSt
The Cock -29 2nd Ave
The Toolbox NYC -1742 Second Ave
The Townhouse Bar -236 East 58th St
Uncle Charlie’s Piano Bar & Lounge-139 East 45thSt
9th Avenue Saloon -656 9thAve
Barrage – 401 West 47th St
Boxers HK 742 9th Ave 212-951-1518
Escuelita-301 West 39th St
Flaming Saddles Saloon – 793 9th Ave
Industry -355 West 52nd St
Posh- 405 West 51stSt
The Ritz -369 West 46thSt
Therapy-348 West 52nd St
Cubbyhole 281 West 12th St
Julius -159 West 10th St
Marie’s Crisis -59GroveSt
Monster, The- 80 Grove St
Pieces – 8 Christopher St
Rockbar NYC -185 Christopher St
Stonewall Inn -53 Christopher St
The Duplex -61 Christopher St
Cards & Gifts
Custom Picture Framing
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
323-860-5200 / aidshealth.org
The Center, The LGBT Community Center
208 W 13th St
New York, NY 10011
212-620-7310 / www.gaycenter.org
Where everyone is celebrated for who they are. The Center is the heart and home NYC’s LGBT community, providing programs for health, wellness and community connection.
More info coming soon
Coming Spring 2018…
Barracuda -275 IV 22nd St
Blue DVD, The -165 8th Ave
Blue Store -206 8th Ave
Boxer’s Bar -37 W. 20th St
Chelsea Savoy Hotel-204 West 23rd St
Chelsea Square Restaurant – 368 W 23rd St
Colonial House 378 W 22nd St
Eagle Bar- 554 W. 28th St
East of 8th Restaurant/Bar-254 W 23rd St
El Cid-1748th Avenue
Four Points by Sheraton- 160W.25thSt
Gym Bar 1678th Ave
Holiday Inn Mahattan 125 W. 26th St
Liberty Travel Chelsea 743 6th Ave
Rail Line Diner, The-400 West 23rd
Rainbow Station 207 8th Ave
Restivo ‘s Restaurant – 209 7th Ave
Starting Line, The-180 Eighth Ave
Steel Gym -146 West 23rd St
Universal Gear 715 9th Ave
West Side Club 27 W. 20th St
Wyndham Garden Hotel 37I W 24th St
BoilerRoom, The 86 East4th St
Carlton on Madison Avenue, 88 Madison Ave
Cock NYQ The -29SecondAve
East Side Club – 227E 56th St #402
Evolve 221E 58th St
Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel -687Lexington Avenue
Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel -141 East 44thSt
Gem Hotel -SoHo, The -135 East Houston St
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art-26 WoosterSt
Lips-227E 56th St
Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant-1503SecondAve
Nowhere -322 East 14 th St (First Ave)
Phoenix 447East 13th St
St Giles Hotel Tuscany New York-120 East 39th St
Thompson Chemists 8 Cosmetics ■137 Thompson St
Tool Box -1742Second Ave
Westin New York Grand Central –
9th Ave Saloon -656 9th Ave
Arrow Pharmacy -883 9th Ave
Atlas Social Club – 753 9th Ave
BPM-512 W 42nd St
Barrage -401W 47th St
Boxers HK 742 9th Ave
Comfort Inn Midtown West – 442 W. 36 St
DBL/Double Bar -667 10th Ave
Fairytail Lounge ■500 W. 48th St
Gem Hotel Midtown West 449 W. 36th
Gossip Bar & Restaurant ■733 9th Ave
Industry Bar 355 W 52nd St
New Yorker Hotel Ramada Plaza4818th Ave
Out NYC, The -51OW. 42nd St
Poulette-790 Ninth Ave
Vinyl Bar 754 9th Ave
Washington & Jefferson Hotel 318 W 51st St
Algonquin Hotel -59W. 44th St
Courtyard Times Square South ■114W.40thSt
Hotel Mela-120W. 44th St
The Hotel at Times Square – 59 W. 46th
Novotel-226 IV 52nd St
Shadow Boxers-275 W 40th St
Wingate Inn Manhattan Midtown byWyndham-235 W. 35th St
Boots/Saddle – 76 Christopher St
Cowgirl 519 Hudson St
Cubby Hole, The 281W 12th St
Hanger Bar, The-115 Christopher St
Henrietta Hudson ■438 Hudson St
Julius-7591V 10th Street
Lamore 113 Christopher St
Leatherman -111 Christopher St
London Boutique – 84 Christopher St
Marie’s Crisis – 59 Grove St
Monster Bar-80 Grove St
Pieces – 8 Christopher St
Rock Bar -185 Christopher St
Stonewall – 53 Christopher St
Ty’s-114 Christopher St
Village Apothecary – 346 Bleecker St
Village Den – 22 W. 12th St
Premier Transportation Services
214-351-7000 / premierdrivesglobal.com
4525 Production Drive
Dallas, TX 75235
For over 20 years, the dedicated and loyal staff at Premier Transportation Services has provided award winning services to our clients. Whether a wedding, sporting event, night on the town, corporate event or just a ride to the airport, Premier Transportation has you covered. Our fleet includes sedans, limousines, Vans, SUVs, as well and Mini, Limo, Executive or Coach buses… something for everyone. Reservations are easily made online, or download our app. Dispatchers are in our offices 24-7/365 to provide support for our clients, as well as chauffeurs. Premier Transportation is a proud member of IGLTA.