Alright so this article is not entirely dedicated to the gay cruising places in New York City. With that disclaimer I’d tell you how screwed a trip can get if that’s not planned the proper way including the choosing of not-so-creepy snobs to stay with.
I started off the first day with high hopes of covering the maximum possible places listed in the NY city pass. The city pass is indeed a very lucrative way of moving around the city, covering the entire Manhattan on a hop in hop off bus at $125. You could also take a day’s pass on the subway and get a map handy. The streets and avenues are pretty straight forward, you can never get lost. And if you are, there’s the yellow NYC taxi that stops when you wave your hand at it (similar to India! That doesn’t quite happen at the place I stay in southern Arizona. Here, you have to call and book a cab every time)
I reached the NY Penn Station by taking the NJ Transit from New Brunswick station, near which my friend stayed. The Times Square was about few blocks away from the Penn Station (near Madison Square garden). Manhattan is divided into two sections – the Downtown and the uptown. Times Square is somewhere in between this. The city of New York is divided into many small villages. You can find the China town (As always), Little Italy, and of course our dear-ol India in different parts. After collecting my NY City pass from Planet Hollywood, I decided to visit the Central Park, American Museum of Natural History (to see the Dum Dum from Easter island J), And then I thought I’d rather take an almost aerial panoramic view of the city from the top of Rockefeller center followed by the Empire State Building. The day ended quite eventfully with me covering the places I desired, but still I couldn’t visit Madame Tussauds. Lack of time you see!
The fun started the next day when I had to shift place from New Jersey (i.e New Brunswick) to Long Island near Stony Brook. The journey from NY Penn Station to Stony Brook would take two and half hours one way, which meant wastage of about five hours for just placing my luggage there. So, I decided to carry it with me while seeing places. I wished to visit the Museum of Sex, but never could manage time (Use Wiki to know moreJ, save me the effort of CTRL-V CTRL C). On the way to the financial district, from where you have to board the ferry to the statue of Liberty, I went past the Wall Street, NY stock exchange, the Federal Hall and the Bull. Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island became a pain in the arse! Why? Well, they told me that they wouldn’t allow taking the bag with me even if there was no bomb in it. Rules are rules and there are no exceptions. Luckily, Google helped me find a luggage storage and this further cost a lot for the to-fro journey. I’d regard it as unnecessary wastage of time, money and energy. Anyhow, I came back only to find that the tour to Ellis was closed – it was time! And the ferry to Liberty Island was still open. The lady at the luggage store had told me to take my bag back by 5, otherwise she’d close and then I’d have to collect it the next morning. I hurried through the visit, had a date with the lady of the harbor, clicked quite a lot of pictures with the green rusted copper lady and finally missed collecting the bag.
The next day, I was so lazy to get up. The lady, Maria, at the luggage store, had asked me to collect the bag by 8:30 am and she’d not charge for the 2nd day. There was no way I could reach the place by that time, because, if I had to do that, I’d need to get up at 5 am, get ready and take the 5:30 am train to NY Penn station and then run from there in order to get to the store that was located 10 streets and 4 avenues North east of Madison Square Garden. I called Maria and she said that she’d be waiting till about 2. Else she’d close and then I could collect it the next Monday. I had a hard time convincing her about the distance between Stony Brook and NYC, and then telling her that I’d take a flight back to India the same day. We finally reached after the train stopped quite a while before entering Penn station. Google showed that by walking it would take about 20 minutes to reach the luggage store from Penn Station. I beat that, ran wherever I could without making people suspicious (Quite obvious if you are running all through, people and the NYPD can get hold of you!!) and reached within 10 minutes! A pat on my back!! Maria apologized for being so persistent about closing down because even she had to board a flight to Colombia. Told you earlier, didn’t I? Planning is a "necessary" part of travelling.
The last time I had written about the Paris visit and gays kissing and holding hands together. I couldn’t spot such things happening in NYC, maybe that’s because I escaped going to places. However, the next day my snobbish, finicky Bengali friend from Kolkata, (for whom the world revolved around Kolkata, and he’d compare the Hudson River with Ganges, who’d still regard a $ as “taka”, who’d get all crazy about not eating in restaurants because they could make the chicken in the same frying pan that they had used for beef and what not! Give me a break, god!) did one good thing. He took me to a street that was kind of tagged as a gay one. Thanks to Google, yet again! We entered the Gay Street (Yes! There is a street in NYC with that name). The name has nothing to do with gays. The street is located in the Greenwich Village, named after Sydney Howard Gay. It extends from Christopher Street to one block south to Waverly Place, between and roughly parallel to Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Christopher Street is the point of interest. There are lots of gay fetish shops on this street. I entered one of the shops just to take a look around. The shopkeeper was an Indian, and he thought I was taking pictures (which I was LOL) and strictly prohibited me to do that. There was a huge collection of gay porn cds and dvds in the shop. Ask whatever you need and you get that there – dildos, bdsm and sadomachism stuff, bondage equipment, cock rings, fucking machines, flesh jacks, vibrators etc. When my learned friend and I were walking down the street, I found many gays hitherto. The gay pubs were the places of visit along the way. They had rainbow flags everywhere. I could notice quite a few feminine gays, holding hands of their partners and dressed in pink. Then, there were those muscular straight acting African American gays, and we kind of, felt unsafe and uncomfortable with them around. We took a walk down to the east river and back. We saw many gays near the river; you’d get the feel just by looking at them. We dropped the plans of visiting a gay pub, as I didn’t like that earlier when I visited the one in Tucson, Arizona named IBT’s. I had seen a muscular guy standing in jocks and people coming to him, putting few dollars in his jock and smelling and feeling his dick from the outside. The dance and the music were good, but I kind of got turned off, due to the ambiance.
Anyway, back to NY – we walked the rest of the distance from Christopher street to Times Square; it should have been easily about 3- 4 miles of walk.
Amidst various problems, the NY trip was done and dusted, finally!!