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Some say that if Washington DC is that capitol of the United States then New York must be the capitol of the rest of the world. As a hub of Finance, Communications, Publishing, Art, Fashion, Music, Advertising, Dining and Theater, no city in the world offers New York's diversity of experience, opportunity and sheer, raw power. And we know a good thing when we see it; in fact, since the 1940s New York City has been the nation's number one destination for gay Americans.

As the center of popular culture New York has long been dominated by gay men and women. The Stonewall riots of June '69 were the watershed events in gay liberation, for both the city and the country, and can be seen as the starting point in a gay movement timeline that culminated in June 1994, when New York, from all appearances, was the official Gay Capital of the World.

Today, Chelsea is still the most solidly gay neighborhood, but there is a strong gay presence in other neighborhoods including the East Village, Greenwich Village (or the West Village, as New Yorkers call it), the Upper West Side, Hell's Kitchen, and Park Slope in Brooklyn.

Don't even think of driving around in a car in Manhattan. Traffic is horrendous and parking is even worse. If you're not familiar with New York, it's a challenge to navigate the subway but it's worth learning: subway fare is only $2 and if you plan on staying in New York more than three days, a $21 pass good for unlimited rides for a week is your best bet. You can also get a one-day pass for $7 - so figure out your best option before buying your ticket. For quick trips, it's easiest to put on your sensible shoes and take a walk or grab a cab. Taxis are ubiquitous day or night - so split a ride with a friend, save a little money and enjoy everything that the Big Apple has to offer.

If you prefer a more organized approach to sightseeing (rather than tackling the subway) take the Gray Line bus loop tour. For $49, you can choose from four different bus loops over two days. Hop on and off the open-roof double-decker bus wherever you want, check out the sites, and hop on the next bus whenever you're ready to move on.


Gay Friendly Hotels in New York City

New York City has a gay friendly hotel or inn to meet anyone's taste. Real estate is limited so many hotels have very small rooms, but size doesn't matter (did we say that?) - with so much to do in NYC you'll spend very little time in your room. Although some hotel rooms may be small in size they are big in amenities, services and sophistication. New York City is one of the trend- setting cities in the US when it comes to hotels - particularly with the boutique market segment. Though you'll want to do your research first - as any small hotel may call itself a boutique - we certainly encourage you to check out some of these hot properties.

Travelers looking to visit the heart of gay New York can find many options in unique, independently owned boutique properties in SoHo, Chelsea or the Village. If you'd prefer to stay in a larger, more luxurious hotel, you can find many selections in Manhattan which would also have you located conveniently for the standard tourist attractions while still just a short taxi or subway from the gay-friendly neighborhoods.

If you're in town for work or a convention, you may find it more beneficial to stay at one of New York's larger convention-friendly chain hotels, many of which are located in the Midtown neighborhood. Midtown - divided into Midtown East or Midtown West - offers luxury properties that are just steps away from corporate businesses, Broadway theaters and some of the best shopping in Manhattan.

But beware, for those not traveling on the company dime, New York City's hotel rates are as high as Lady Liberty's torch! If you are traveling for pleasure, try to visit NYC during off peak seasons which include January through March and July through August. The spring and summer months tend to be peak season (along with the Thanksgiving through Christmas holiday season)- but with enough planning ahead - you should be able to find a good deal (relatively speaking) no matter when you plan to visit.


Where to Go? What to Do?

The best advice for a satisfying trip to NYC is to plan, plan, plan! Typical tourists will have to hit the mandatory attractions: the observation deck of the Empire State Building, Times Square, Lady Liberty and of course if you are gay, a Broadway show should be at the top of your list.


The Arts

If planning to go to one of New York's Broadway Shows, decide which shows you want to see and if at all possible, purchase your tickets before you go. It will cost you more, but save you time.

Music-related attractions include:
* Carnegie Hall (W. 57th St, at Seventh Ave; 212/247-7800; www.carnegiehall.org)
* Lincoln Center (140 W. 65th Street; 212/875-5456; www.lincolncenter.org)
* Radio City Music Hall (1260 Avenue of the Americas, at W. 50th St; 212/247-4777; www.radiocity.com)
* Madison Square Garden (212/465-6741; www.thegarden.com)

NYC is home to a staggering array of museums. In fact, it's possible to spend an entire day perusing Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue, between 70th and 105th Streets. The most well-known is the Metropolitan Museum of Art with more than 100,000 works from artists such as Picasso, Monet, Matisse, and Warhol.

Lesser know museums include the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (www.moca-nyc.org) in the heart of bustling Chinatown, the New York City Fire Museum (www.nycfiremuseum.org) or a branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. It is tucked in the northernmost Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan where few New Yorkers schlep since it seems so remote, but it is served by the A subway line, an express train that will whisk you from the heart of Chelsea to 190th Street in just a few minutes.

If you are in the mood for a film, try these options:
* Film Forum (www.filmforum.com) is a fantastic revival and first-run independent film cinema, a sort of only-in-NYC institution, proven when you see the line wrapped around the block for a festival of '70s disaster films or flicks such as Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.
* Very gay friendly, Angelika Film Centre (www.angelikafilmcenter.com) also premieres foreign and domestic independent films, and can get very cruisy when showing a first-run gay-themed flick. It has a lobby espresso bar with sandwiches, muffins and the like.
* Anthology Film Archives (www.anthologyfilmarchives.com) programs screenings of selected directors'; films, and also hosts the New York Underground Film Festival every year.

Greenwich Village is home to a moving tribute to 9/11 victims. "Tiles for America," on 7th Avenue and 11th Street, is the site of a chain-link fence decorated with hundreds of tiles dedicated to 9/11 victims. It's across the street from St. Vincent's Hospital, where many of the 9/11 injured were taken.


Recreation and Exercise:

Manhattan may be a concrete jungle, but it's residents are still some of the leanest and meanest in the U.S. In addition to the marathon walking required to navigate the city, you'll see rollerbladers, joggers, street hockey players, cyclists - just about every urban athlete you can imagine. Depending on the season you'll also find all sorts of activities in Central Park: ice-skating, rowing, rollerdancing to recorded house and disco music, jogging around the Reservoir, volleyball or just hanging-out listening to the musicians at the gorgeous Bethesda Fountain.

The west side's Hudson River Park (www.hudsonriverpark.org) is now a stretch of green from Battery Place to 59th St and home to a skate park, batting cages, outdoor movie festivals, a trapeze school and the super queer-popular Christopher Street pier, attracting gay and lesbian sunbathers of all stripes right through September and sometimes October.

Manhattan seems to have a new health club opening on every corner these days, which is good news for those eager to stay in shape while on vacation or business travel. Many managers at city health clubs will allow you to buy a week's pass at a discounted price if you ask. And predictably, clientele, if that's important to you while working out, is characteristic of neighborhood, so choose the gym where you think you might feel most comfortable working-out. You can visit our list of gay friendly gyms under the City Directory on the left of this page.


Retail Therapy in New York City

New York is a shopper's paradise - especially for gay travelers. Whether you're interested in spending a lot or saving even more, New York has many options. From high-end boutiques to vibrant street markets and funky stores, the city is world-renowned for its diverse and trend-setting shopping opportunities. There is more merchandise here at better prices than any other city in the world.

Shopping in New York is a lesson in geography as well. New York's department stores have migrated uptown throughout their history, in order to remain where big business and prime residential districts meet. Designer boutiques are primarily found in the refined Upper East Side, along Fifth Avenue, from 50th to 57th Streets, 57th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues, and Madison Avenue, from 59th to 86th Streets.

SoHo also contains many top designer boutiques, catering to a younger, trendier "downtown" clientele. The Lower East Side retains its "Crossing Delancey" atmosphere of bargain coats and handbag retailers; and Greenwich Village, home to the greatest concentration of gay men and lesbians, is also home to the greatest concentration of stores catering specifically to gays. The East Village is the most cutting-edge and avant-garde, and rarely pricey.

Uptown, the three B's are: Bloomingdales (59th St, at Lexington Ave; 212/705-2000; www.bloomingdales.com), Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave, at 58th St; 212/753-7300; www.bergdorfgoodman.com) and Barneys (660 Madison Ave, at 61st St; 212/826-8900; www.barneys.com), where you'll find the latest looks at prices best absorbed by your credit card.

* SoHo boasts the more downtown, funky designer boutiques: Anna Sui (113 Greene St; 212/941-8406; www.annasui.com/stores/); and for the most original shoes you're ever likely to see: John Fluevog (104 Prince St; 212/431-4484; www.fluevog.com).

* In Chelsea, the sophisticated dresser shops Camouflage (139 Eighth Ave; 212/691-1750). When in Chelsea, stop by the brand new flagship shop of Commes des Gar�ons (520 W. 22nd St; 212/604-9200). Pick up a sheer black shirt for a few hundred bucks, or save your money and just enjoy the ultra-cool, cusp-of-the-millennium architecture. The entry way is an aluminum tunnel inserted into an old brick warehouse, and the interior is full of curved lacquered walls reminiscent of Frank Gehry's Bilbao Museum. Tres, tres chic.

* The East Village's best shopping for clothes is found along E. Seventh and E. Ninth Streets, between Second Avenue and Avenue A.

If you like to window shop and browse the streets - 5th Avenue is a sure bet - particularly from 34th to 55th Streets. For the gay man who doesn't like to browse (is there such an animal?) and just wants to strategically hit a few targeted stores for necessities, 34th street is very efficient: within a block you can pick up shoes at Aldo, dress to impress at Banana Republic and find some stylish club clothes at H&M.


Gay Dining and Nightlife in New York City

Nothing in New York is more debated than dining: what's in, what's out, what's overpriced, what's overrated, Where to find the best steak, the freshest sushi, the perfect Tiramisu, and which Ray's Pizza is really the original, famous one. There is a countless variety of price ranges and selection of gay and gay-friendly restaurants in New York. You can easily spend well into three figures at some of the city's high-end restaurants. But you can also eat well on the cheap. As you explore the plethora of choices, one of the chief joys is the wide range of nationalities represented. Many are clustered in certain areas, such as the row of Indian restaurants on East Sixth Street between First and Second Avenues, but a global assortment of eateries is scattered throughout the city.

New York has no shortage of great restaurants so be sure to call ahead for reservations at these places as soon as you know when you'll be in town, and check the dress code - many of New York's finer restaurants require jackets and ties. Also, it's becoming increasingly popular for some strange reason not to accept credit cards at smaller restaurants, so be sure to ask before you stuff yourself.

NYC has every type of guy: Wall Street suit and ties, design district artist types, University kids and hipsters - and every type of club. New York City is home to the world's most exciting gay club scene, bar none. A combination of the best DJs, most imaginative lighting and spaces, and - more than anything -- fascinating, sexy crowds make it a night crawler's dream. The only requirements are an open mind and the ability to stay up late. Picking the right dance club depends on your desired crowd/scene, and the night of the week. See PBG for details.

The club scene is also a late night affair. Clubs generally open at 11 p.m., with discount admission until midnight, growing crowds until 3 a.m. and dancing 'til dawn and beyond. Bars are scattered thickly throughout downtown (with some good uptown options) - and we suggest you use a taxi after nightfall.

No matter what you decided to do, when you're in New York City, expect the unexpected. You could be walking up Broadway and see Uma Thurman having tea in a cafe, pass Parker Posey walking her dog or run into Dianne Sawyer at Starbucks. You can see a top-rated show such as "The Producers" with Nathan Lane, plus shop at the incredible H&M. The possibilities are endless.

Therapy

348 W 52nd Street - New York, NY - 212-397-1700

Midtown; After a few days in New York City, every gay man needs a little Therapy. Opened in May of 2003 in a renovated carriage house, wharehouse and whorehouse (did someone say whorehouse?), Therapy is a modern restaurant, lounge and nighttime dan...
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Hotel Giraffe

365 Park Avenue South - New York, NY - 212-685-7500

Residing on trendy Park Avenue South is Hotel Giraffe, a hotel that fuses comfort, service and retro-glamorous style in a way that attracts the most discriminating travelers, worldwide.
Reader Reviews (90)
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Cattyshack

249 4th Avenue - New York, NY - 718-230-5740

Brooklyn; The Brooklyn girls get it on at Cattyshack - a big dance club with hot Go-Go Girls, hot bartenders - and much much more.
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B Bar

40 E Fourth Street - New York, NY - 212-475-2220

East Village... B Bar serves a great weekend brunch along with week day lunch and dinner with late night drinks, DJs and more! B Bar also features an outdoor patio - great for dining al fresco!
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Reader Reviews
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Lucky Cheng's


I had an epic time at this place!
By: John on November 24, 2009

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I go to NYC to see friends about once a month or once every two months. I've gone to Splash for years - but now Therapy is one of my new faves. Hot crowd, fierce shows and always a good time.
By: Jose on March 26, 2008
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Hotel Giraffe


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