top of page

LNC’s Ultimate NYC Gay Cruisin’ Guide for Tourists

Back in 2014, I did a post about cruising tips for gay guys visiting New York City, it was a stream-of-consciousness that wasn’t very useful. Thus, I decided to create a new Cruising Guide that may or may not answer all of your questions about cruising for men and fun in New York City.

Let’s start with the planning, where do you stay in New York City. It’s such a huge town and there’s so many neighborhoods and boroughs, it’s too confusing to know where to stay and have the most gay experience New York has to offer.

WELCOME TO NEW YORK CITY (NYC)

Visiting to New York City can seem like a daunting task with all of the bars, clubs, tourist attractions and many men to see and do. so i decided to compile a list of things to know before arrive, during your stay and best times to visit.

BOOKING A HOTEL OR AN AIRBNB (WHERE TO STAY)

When staying in New York City, picking the hotel or renting a place off of AirBnB is crucial to being in the mix of the gay scene. The gay neighborhoods, GAYBORHOODS, are West Village aka The Village, and Chelsea in their heyday and the latest one is Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West. Now finding a hotel in or near those neighborhoods can improve your chances of having a good time or a REALLY BAD time during your stay. Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are also great places to stay for gays who want an alternative to Manhattan gay club scene. Brooklyn gay scene is blowing up and continues to grow without letting up.

PLACES TO AVOID WHILE  STAYING IN NEW YORK CITY

MANHATTAN

Upper East Side Midtown East Murray Hill/Turtle Bay Lower East Side East Harlem Below 14th Street (can be tricky because most of this area does not have many options below the Villages – East Village and West Village)

QUEENS

​(especially by the La Guardia and John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport) Jackson Heights has a gay scene however, it’s quite a distance to the city jamaica queens, forest hills, kew gardens,

BRONX

no gay bar scene

FAR BROOKLYN

bay ridge, red hook, coney island, canarsie, flatbush, 

STATEN ISLAND

The reason I suggest not staying in these places is due to the cost and time of commuting back and forth to these places. I spoken to guys who feel out of touch of being in the city and not getting the full gay experience because they’re too far away and the locals don’t want to hookup with visitors who are staying in far away places.

TRAVELING AROUND THE CITY

Now that you’ve gotten your hotel or room, now you need to how to navigate through the city. Having a map of the city is one thing, understanding the subway system is another.

TIP # 1 – DOWNLOAD THE NYC SUBWAY MAP APP There are several FREE apps you can download to have the map in a convenient accessible way without lugging a massive paper. (NOW MTA HAS AN APP – MYMTA APP)

TIP #2 – PURCHASE AN UNLIMITED 7-DAY PASS METROCARD FOR $33 This the MOST COST-EFFECTIVE METHOD of travel in New York on subway trains and buses, which is operated by The Metro Train Authority also known as The MTA. It’s an 24-hour subway and bus system that runs the subway line in the 4 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens) and buses in all boroughs along with a FREE ferry line to Staten Island. 

The unlimited card allows you to swipe ONE TIME going into a subway station. if for some reason you do NOT go through the turnstile then you must wait at least 25 minutes in order for the system will allow you to pass through unless you can notify a subway station attendant, most stations do not have one. The other alternative is to walk to another station and swipe your card. Buy your pass at the kiosk and NEVER from someone claiming its a brand new. If you’re only going to be doing much sightseeing or partying too much then don’t buy a MetroCard. Otherwise if it’s a weekend or a week-long stay, then you’re better off getting an unlimited 7-day pass.

TIP #3 – UNDERSTANDING THE SUBWAY LINGO You got your subway map app and your Metrocard now, how do you get on the train? Let’s start with the terminology

SUBWAY SYSTEM – Is the entire subway that runs the 22 subway lines throughout New York City with connections lines to Port Authority (41st/42nd St between 8th Avenue & 9th) New Jersey Bus Lines and Greyhound Buses, Penn Station (31st/33rd St between 7th & 8th Avenue) New Jersey Transit & Long Island Railroad (lirr), Grand Central Terminal (42nd/44th St between Madison and Lexington Avenue) Long Island Railroad, MetroNorth.

SUBWAY LINES – Are the alpha-numeric named system for the subway trains. The lines are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J, L, M, N, Q, R, S (Shuttle), W, & Z trains

SUBWAY STATIONS – Are the spots where to enter and exit to subway trains. Each station has a map of its location relative to the city and it’s surrounding streets inside the station as well as an overall view of the entire subway system in case you’re unsure of where you are.

SUBWAY TRAINS – are 10-cars connected with an subway conductor in the first car (front) car and the announcement attendant in the 5th subway car. Speak to the Subway attendant if you’re unsure if you’re getting on the right train or not.

SUBWAY SIGNS – are hanging up above the the platform and guides you to connecting subway trains and lines as well as where to exit. These signs are VERY IMPORTANT because they inform you of where a train is going, when it’s come and going and when it is not.

TIP # 4 – ALWAYS READ THE SUBWAY UPDATE SIGNS. Especially on the weekends. Things change, construction happens, make sure you are not waiting for the train that is NEVER coming and/or missing the train you REALLY need. READ THE SIGNS

SUBWAY DIRECTIONS – are based on the direction the train is headed. North (Uptown) or South (Downtown) Most trains in New York run through Manhattan and labeled based on its direction in the city. Uptown trains run up on the EAST SIDE of the city (right side if you’re looking north) and Downtown trains run on the WEST SIDE of the city (left side if you’re looking north). The lines that run perpendicular to that are the 7 train and the L train. The name of the last destination on each train is the name you will see next to the respective Subway Line Name or Number. If the Last Stop is in Brooklyn then it’s headed South, if the last stop is in the Bronx or Queens then it’s headed most likely North.

LOCAL OR EXPRESS TRAINS – are the type of speed that the trains operate at on each line.

For Example, 2 & 3 trains are express trains and they only stop at the White Dots (dots on the Subway Map) while the Local 1 train stops at every stop White (Express) and Black (Local) on each line of its respective line. The subway lines are color coordinated and the the color that the letter or number is surrounded by represents what lines are connected to each other. The major stations (42nd St, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn) connect to multiple stations and you walk underground to connect to the other ones.

PLATFORMS – are the where you stand to enter or exit the subway trains. The platforms are outlined by yellow paint to warn where the platform ends.

SUBWAY TRACKS – are electrical metal beams the trains run along on.

fun fact: You will see rats on these tracks but they’re not to be feared there it’s when they’re on the platform that you stomp your feet at them to scare them and make them go away.

GOING EAST TO WEST AND VICE VERSA are hard to achieve if you’re not by 7 train or the L train and that’s where the crosstown buses come into play or when you’re in the outer boroughs which are not closed to a subway line.

​Going to a Gay Beach (Jacob Riis Beach)

A gay beach located in Queens southeast side,  just south of Rockaway Beach. The gay section is located on the far left end of the beach.

How does one get there from the city?

There are several ways you can use to get there One, a really expensive Uber. Two, A ferry from downtown Manhattan and Three, the most common cost-efficient method is public transportation. You can either take the A train from anywhere on the A line to the last stop to Rockaway Beach and take the Q35 or Q22 or take the 2 or 5 train to the last stop (Flatbush Avenue) and take the Q35 stop in front of Target and the bus will take you all the way to the beach.

GOING TO FIRE ISLAND FROM THE CITY

Fire Island is an island off the coast of Long Island. The town to get to Fire Island is Sayville, New York. Take the Long Island RailRoad (LIRR) to Sayville, New York, you might need to transfer at Jamaica Station before reaching your destination at Sayville, New York. Once you reach the station, then you take one of the local shuttle buses or taxis waiting at the station for a short drive to the Fire Island Ferry. The Ferry leaves every 30 minutes during Peak times and an hour during NON-Peak hours.

Fun Fact: NO CARS, NO BICYCLES ARE ALLOWED ON THE ISLAND. If you have large amounts of items to carry then I suggest bringing a wagon or a cooler to transport your items. Once you reach Fire Island, there are two ports one by Fire Island Pines and the other Cherry Grove. The Pines are on the left of the island and Cherry Grove is on the right side of the island. In between the two gay neighborhoods are the wooded area known as the Meat Rack. The meat rack is an infamous section known in its heydays as a cruising spot for gay men. The beaches are unsupervised which means no lifeguards.

FINDING BARS AND GAY-FRIENDLY PLACES

Most google searches will list all the gay bars in New York City especially Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn. Depending on what scene you are looking for will determine where you will spend most of your time during your visit. If you want young, new and hip you should frequent the bars in Hell’s Kitchen (View the map above), Chelsea neighborhood for variety of gay local bars, sports bars and cruise bars. The Village caters to a much older laid-back crowd from piano bars, dive bars and dance clubs; the historical Stonewall Inn is located there. East Village is the hipster/underground gay neighborhood of Manhattan.

There are more gay bars in Brooklyn & Queens, however, very few are nearby each other to consider it to have any particular gayborhoods.

GAY BARS/CLUBS VS GAY PARTIES/EVENTS

Gay bars & clubs are listed on most gay sites and magazine however; many gay parties and events however are not and will require some research to discover underground parties. We, at Late Night Cruisin’, promote gay alternative parties from sex, underwear, dance and play parties; however, we don’t promote all events so I suggest you do a little bit of research 15-30 days before you visit the city.

CRUISING SAFETY PRACTICES

Cruising Safety Practices are imperative to having a good time in the city. Here are few safety tips to use when cruising

1. Don’t keep large sums of cash or cards on you when going out 2. If you are hosting, keep your personal belongings in a locked safe place. Keep an eye on all your guests. Don’t be afraid to end a night if you don’t feel safe. 3. Don’t disclose all of your personal information, be weary of men who ask many personal information right away. In New York City, the culture is you’re a stranger first and then a friend after they get to know you 4. Travel with a group of friends if you’re not familiar with a location 5. When playing in parks and outdoor spaces, keep a small drawstring bag on your back that can only be open by taking it off of your shoulders 6. When in clubs or at an underwear party, if you want to play either check your bag/personal belongings at coat check or place your wallet and cell phone in your socks. 7. Be careful when buying party favors from strangers especially large sums, chance are you can get robbed not just money but other personal belongings 8. If you hookup with someone and you’re not 100% sure it’s safe then err on the side of caution 9. If you are not feeling well, go to one of the FREE STD Clinics for any sick or health issues 10. If English is not your first language, then network and make friends with local who are bilingual BEFORE you arrive or get a referral from a trusted friend who has been to New York City already. 11. Don’t talk to random strangers in the street especially if they are trying to sell you something unless they have a photo id or a company badge. Make connections at gay bars/clubs, gay retail workers, and gay friendly establishments

In closing, be safe and cruising responsibly.

BEST TIMES TO VISIT

Depending on what you are looking for when coming to New York, whether it’s the bars/clubs, meeting men or attending a special event. Here are a few big gay events happening in New York. American Holidays are the most common times that big events occur in the city aside from Gay Pride in late June. Now the two biggest gay events unique to New York are Saint at Large’s The Black Party held in Early Spring and The Pines Party (late July) on Fire Island. In 2019, New York will be hosting World Pride in celebration of Stonewall 50th Anniversary

JANUARY

NEW YEARS DAY (JANUARY 1ST) MARTIN LUTHER KING JR (MLK) MID-JANUARY

FEBRUARY

PRESIDENT’S DAY VALENTINE’S DAY

MARCH

ST. PATRICK’S DAY (MARCH 17TH)

APRIL

EASTER (VARIOUS DATES) SAINT AT LARGE’S BLACK PARTY (EARLY SPRING)

MAY

CINCO DE MAYO (MAY 5TH) MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND (LAST MONDAY OF MAY) (FIRST DAY THE BEACHES ARE OPEN) FIRE ISLAND SEASONING OPENS

JUNE

BROOKLYN PRIDE QUEENS PRIDE GAY PRIDE (3RD WEEK OF THE MONTH) WORLD PRIDE 2019 WILL BE THE HELD THE LAST WEEK OF JUNE

JULY

FOURTH OF JULY (INDEPENDENCE DAY) AMERICAN HOLIDAY FIRE ISLAND PINES PARTY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

LABOR DAY (FIRST MONDAY OF SEPTEMBER) (LAST DAY THE BEACHES ARE OPEN) FIRE ISLAND SEASONING CLOSES

OCTOBER

COLUMBUS DAY  HALLOWEEN

NOVEMBER

THANKSGIVING’S DAY/BLACK FRIDAY

DECEMBER

CHRISTMAS DAY NEW YEAR’S EVE

1 view0 comments

Comentarii


bottom of page