Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Folsom Street East X report

This past Sunday I spent the day up in New York City for Folsom Street East, a leather/S&M block party that is held in NYC on the Sunday before New York's Gay Pride (which BTW is the last Sunday in June). This year is the tenth year this street fair has been running; this is the fifth one I've been to.

That morning I took a three hour plus train ride, taking the local lines from Paoli to 30th Street Station in Philly to Trenton NJ to NYC. The train got into Penn Station at 12:45pm. Since Folsom didn't start until 2pm, I took a walk down 8th Avenue to Chelsea, which maybe took ten minutes and killed some time there browsing in a few shops. I stopped at the View Bar, got an iced tea from their coffee bar, and sat in a nice chair and just watched the people walk by for a while; it was kind of a nice substitute for the Big Cup coffeshop, which had closed last August. The city was still buzzing about Kevin Aviance getting gay-bashed the prior weekend; there was a big anti-gay violence rally the day before, which Kevin spoke at.

I then walked over to FSE, which was held on 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. And I had a lot of fun for the next four hours. It was very hot that afternoon, highs in the sun-beating-down-on-you 90s, but there was some shade to duck into. Drank a lot of water. I also kept cool by going into the Eagle, New York's prime leather bar, and I got a great view of the street from their rooftop deck. Ran into several people from Philly. Also spotted a few leather titleholders in the crowd as well. Dozens of booths to stop at. I bought a couple of things, including a pair of leather shorts from the Leather Man booth for only fifty bucks (they usually go higher than that). They look really good, I'll have to take a picture of me wearing them some day.

I left the street festival a little before 6pm so I could catch the train back. But first I went back to Chelsea and had dinner at Better Burger, which featured fast-food-styled hamburgers made of organic meat. I then walked back to Penn Station and got on the 7:13 out of the city. I would get back to the Paoli station a little bit after 10:30pm, and I would arrive home fifteen minutes later.

I wish that I would have been able to stay there longer, since the crowd was still going strong when I left. The Eagle was very crowded by then. Another bar on the same block, Scores, a notorious strip bar that usually caters to straight guys, was holding a benefit for Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project featuring a bunch of male strippers. Hopefully the next time I come into New York for FSE I'll stay at a hotel and I'll be able to take a more bigger part of the festivities. Three and plus hour train rides each way can really cut into that time.

I was thinking about taking pictures at Folsom, but I didn't feel like dragging a camera around. Fortuneately, other people were taking photos. Click here and see what went down that day.

One more thing--here's an account of Kevin Aviance performing at one of the first FSE's, which sounded like a definite hoot indeed.

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