OutUK for more than 20 Years
Sights, lights, nights! OutUK correspondent Adrian Gillan goes to the big apple for the big ball drop! It's New York, New York - so good, they named it twice! This former Native American homeland and Dutch colony is the most sung-about place on Earth - from Porter, Bernstein and Sinatra to Pet Shop Boys, U2 and Madge!

WHEN TO GO

As soon as you can for a tad chilly shopping spree! Or - if you can wait, and seek extreme heat - for New York Pride Week held in late June to commemorate the famous Stonewall Riots. Or, frankly, you can't beat spring or autumn in NYC for the best weather. If you can get there just before the New Year you might just see the famous ball drop in Times Square for the New Year Celebrations - it's not to be missed!

WHERE TO STAY

Think first class air travel meets NASA meets Tokyo! Affordably luxurious YOTEL New York is not only ultra-modern but conveniently located on Tenth Avenue and it's funky and fun.

Its Midtown West address near Times Square, mere blocks from gay bars and clubs in Hell's Kitchen and a nice stroll from gay Chelsea, make it an ideal base for scene and sights. The fun lasts from automated check-in right through to automated check-out and robotic baggage-storage, with 24/7 Mission Control on hand throughout your stay!


Affordable luxury. Photos: YOTEL New York

The YOTEL boasts bars, the Dojo restaurant, lounge areas, a LEGO wall and the largest hotel terrace in New York City! Cabins of all classes boast stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and push-of-a-button fold-away beds and minimalist design. Sleep on hand-made organic mattresses; watch the flat screen on your techno wall; work at, or make free US calls from, your desk; or take a monsoon shower, to relax or invigorate. Super-strength Wi-Fi operates throughout the hotel; complimentary hot drinks, purified water and ice are found at each floor and you can enjoy free muffins, coffee and tea at Dojo each morning.

WHAT TO DO

9/11 Memorial - They have taken two holes in the ground and transformed the whole area into vast fountains and lists of names, that now leave a big hole in your heart. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a memorial and museum in New York City commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 people, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six. Reserve your visitor passes in advance at: www.911memorial.org.
Empire State Building - This iconic 102-story Art Deco skyscraper was and completed in 1931. The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet and stands a total of 1,454 feet tall, including its antenna. The lift journey up is almost as amazing as the all-round sky-high Midtown vista from the viewing deck itself.
Empire State Building at NYC pride week. Photo: motimeiri
Brooklyn Bridge - Take the subway to Brooklyn High Street, then stroll back across towards indomitable Manhattan via the mighty old wood-planked cable-and-brick bridge. It's awe-inspiring day or night; and the best way to view that world-famous Downtown skyline.
Statue of Liberty - Take the ferry from Battery Park across to great Lady Liberty, the French people's iconic gift to the Americans; and welcoming beacon to many millions of early immigrants.
Top of the Rock - Close to Central Park, the viewing platform atop the Rockefeller Centre is now an established part of New York's best sightseeing. Great elevator ride up and down too! The NBC Today Show is filmed on the 1st and 2nd floor of NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center. Occasional concerts and interactive events are held outside for audiences to see. You can be on television by being in the crowd behind the glass of the NBC Today Show recording studio or screaming your head off standing in the crowd.
Central Park - Just north of Midtown, the city's green lungs stretch high up into Harlem. Haunting in all seasons the park is dominated by the high-rise jungle that borders on all sides. Check out the 6.5-acre zoo; and the nocturnally cruisy Rambles - a warren of boulders, bushes, boys and undulating paths.
View from Top of the Rock. Photo: NYC & Co
The High Line - public park on a disused elevated rail line, running from the Meatpacking District up to Chelsea. A pleasant, scenic 20-minute stroll without having to cross a single road!
Grand Central Station & Fifth Avenue - The Big Apple's heart and spine. The station's Art Deco bedazzles; and the Fifth's big name style brands entice and beguile.
Broadway, 42nd Street & Times Square - For shows and concerts galore. As Pet Shop Boys sing, neon-lit Times Square is "where seventh avenue meets Broadway"... and 42nd Street 'n all.
Museum of Modern Art - One of the world's greatest modern and contemporary art galleries.
American Museum of Natural History - this is a vast museum, which also has an awesome planetarium too!
Metropolitan Museum of Art - 5th Avenue, on Central Park, opposite East 81st and 82nd Streets. This is the largest art museum in the United States and houses Planet Earth's manmade treasures, from Egypt to today.
Guggenheim Museum - This amazing snail's-whorl of a building, near the Met Museum of Art, is brimming with modern masterpieces and exciting exhibitions around its main spiral ramp.
Lincoln Centre - world-class performing arts complex comprised of the David H. Koch Theater (home to the stunning New York City Ballet); the Avery Fisher Hall (home to the amazing New York Philharmonic); and the Metropolitan Opera House, a.k.a. 'The Met' which is home to the glorious Metropolitan Opera.
Carnegie Hall - the city's premiere historic performance venue, showcasing sublime seasons of concerts by top soloists and ensembles, including the award-winning and unique Orpheus Chamber Orchestra who appear to do quite well indeed, thank you, without resorting to a conductor!
Beyond Manhattan - For completely different feels, get beyond Manhattan to Brooklyn or one of the other outer districts using NYC - The Official Guide.


Stonewall National Monument area in 360°. Photo: Warren Eisenberg

WHERE TO EAT, BOP, BOOZE 'N CRUISE

There are four main queer quarters in New York, each with their own distinct character and clientele.

HELL'S KITCHEN & MIDTOWN: 'THE NEW CHELSEA', YOUNG MUSCLE AND TWINKS
Therapy (348 W 52nd St) - Stylish minimalist hot spot.
The Ritz (369 W 46th St) - Cheeky stylish dance and chill-out joint.
VIVA! (605 West 48th St) - Saturday night gay club of fine repute.

CHELSEA: YOUNG, AND LESS YOUNG, MUSCLE
REBAR (225 W 19th St) - Energetic gay bar offering DJs, drag shows and more in an industrial-chic atmosphere.
Barracuda (275 W 22nd St) - Friendly, no-attitude gay lounge-bar.
Boxers NYC (37 West 20th St) - Buzzing LGBT sports bar.
Gym (167 8th Ave) - Another Chelsea sports bar.
West Side Club (27 West 20th St) - Sauna and sex cabin maze.

GREENWICH VILLAGE: TRADITIONAL AND CLONE
Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher St is the site of a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against violent police raids on the bar that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Inn was to become the birth-place of the modern gay rights movement as local Village residents organised into activist groups and established places to be open about sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

The Stonewall Inn is now fully revamped, but it's still packing 'em in! In June 2016, President Obama announced that the building and its surrounding streets, where Pride began, were to become a new USA National Historic Landmark. This special designation protects Christopher Park and adjacent areas totaling more than seven acres. The legendary Stonewall Inn. Photo: NYC & Co
The Village Den (225 West 12th St) - Friendly gay-frequented eatery offering excellent food at amazingly low prices.
The Monster (80 Grove St, Sheridan Sq) - Sheridan Square's pride and joy boasts a lounge, dance floor, piano bar and cabaret.
Ty's (114 Christopher St) - Friendly joint, on Village scene since early 70s.
The Duplex (61 Christopher St) - Sing along at the downstairs piano bar or enjoy a show upstairs.

EAST VILLAGE & ALPHABET CITY: ALTERNATIVE, EDGY

Boiler Room (86 East 4th St at 2nd Ave) - Notable and popular hub with a fab juke box.
The Cock (29 2nd Ave) - Self-acclaimed sleaze bar, absolutely fab.
Eastern Bloc (505 E 6th St) - Commie chic meets village boys.
Phoenix Bar (447 E 13th St) - Gay and Lesbian mainstay bar known for its jukebox & relaxed atmosphere.
Gay Pride in Manhattan. Photo: isogood
7B (108 Avenue B) - Long-running, no-nonsense bar featuring a jukebox loaded with punk and an old-school photobooth.
Nowhere (322 E 14th St) - Low-ceilinged gay bar with a subterranean feel, diverse beer menu and jukebox.
NO BAR (The Standard, 25 Cooper Sq) - Cocktail bar in The Standard East Village offering craft drinks & bar bites from Narcissa's chef.
Club Cumming (505 E 6th St) - Buzzy, celeb-owned bar with drag & cabaret shows, knitting nights and other diverse entertainment.

USEFUL WEBSITES

The New York CityPASS allows free entry to attractions such as the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum and Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: www.citypass.com/new-york

For further information, check out The NYC & Company website: www.nycgo.com/uk

GETTING THERE

Adrian went with Virgin Atlantic which flies between London Heathrow and New York (either JFK or Newark) six times a day. Economy fares depending when you travel start from about five hundred pounds return including taxes - or you can pay that bit extra to stretch your legs in Premium Economy for £1200-1500. If you really want to splash out you could upgrade yourself to their legendary Upper Class, for £3000-4000, and enjoy all their luxuries including a fruity 'Virgin Redhead' pre-boarding!

Revised December 2019.

 

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