Sunday was the perfect beach day on Fire Island and usually nothing short of a hurricane forces the housemates and I to abandon the Pines. Well unless it is New York City Pride! So it was that we donned our muscle tank tops, appropriate Pride jewelry, liberal sunscreen, not forgetting the designer sunglasses and caught an early ferry to get us back to the city. Back in the city we made a brief stop by East of Eighth in Chelsea to fortify ourselves with two Bloody Mary's before working our way to the West Village to join the festivities.
When you stand in the parade throngs at NY Pride you'll find yourself shoulder to shoulder with cute lesbians in vintage clothing, German tourists in sensible sandals with socks, shirtless muscle boys in cool Ray Bans, lesbians of a certain age wearing “Act Up” T-shirts and kids perched on their parents shoulders waving Pride Flags! And from every surrounding building gaggles of people lucky enough to have well connected friends waving flags and sloshing drinks from apartment windows, fire escapes and roof tops. In the grid locked traffic full of clueless motorists sits a Big Apple Tour Bus jammed with picture taking and waving tourists cheering on the mayhem!
We had only been standing in the hot sun briefly when I found myself overheating and it wasn't from watching the drag queens make up melting as the Imperial Court float passed by at that moment. No, it was the hot, shirtless, tattooed, African American guys who make up the calendar of citygymboys.com as they walked through the crowd selling calendars. After buying a few calendars and ogling over the tattoos of the owner Charles, we turned our attention back to the Parade and watched as The Ritz bar float passed by with our favorite bartender Giovanni in tow! An hour later after cheering the GLBT Center gaggle of guys and girls we were decidedly thirsty and turned our attention to the crowds at our Mexican favorite Maracas, primarily for the best frozen Margaritas and secondly where I had arranged to meet “518” who was the owner of the mysterious phone number that had landed in my phone after three Tanquery martinis at 1:45AM on Friday night.
Since Friday I had played a coy game of texting with the mystery man who refused to admit his name, although it's not likely I would have remembered it after the first martini anyway. But I did have the brilliant idea of Googling “518” and finding it listed as an Albany area code. That's when it came back to me that he was the cute, blonde, 20 something guy with the blue eyes that I had met at Therapy. And to everyone's delight and envy, not only was it his first Pride celebration but his first trip to New York City.
After two strawberry Margaritas, “518” offered up his name and he happily accompanied our little band as we made our way to the Heritage of Pride Pier Dance at Pier 54. In my years of attending this dance I have developed a survival plan to maximize the fun of this great celebration. Primarily that involves getting there early, staking out a claim to dance floor space somewhere in the back far reaches of the Pier, preferably near a bar where you can establish a rapport with a cute volunteer bartender and then dance the night away with 5000 of your closest friends.
Much later as I held the no longer mysterious but totally awed “518” from behind with his head resting against my chest watching the Fireworks I felt his excitement and was overcome with a sense of simple joy and pride for the Gay & Lesbian Heritage that brings us all together this moment!