Apple of My Eye: New York City

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I stepped out of the swirling snow into a dimly lit bar pulsing with the familiar bass of a country song. A bit jarring coming off of the busy New York City street, but guys (and ladies) of all shapes and sizes were pressed together throughout the space making it a welcoming quest to order a drink. 

Looking around I noticed the red velvet wallpaper and several sets of steer horns adorned the walls. I spotted a handful of patrons wearing cowboy hats. 

After getting a beer, I took a place in the back to fully enjoy the scenery. Before long, Shania Twain’s “Party For Two” came on the jukebox and the bartenders jumped onto the bar, dancing Coyote Ugly style—complete with a gay twist as they broke into a quick tap dance during the instrumental break.

New York City’s one and only gay country bar Flaming Saddles 

(FlamingSaddles.com/NYC) is a city favorite. It’s only one bar on a long list of fabulous places to visit while in the city, but a must-do to add to your itinerary. As spring approaches, now is the perfect time to make your plans to visit the Big Apple.

 

Stay

Even as one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is possible to do NYC on a budget. For one, accommodations in Brooklyn are more affordable than staying in Manhattan, and you still have easy access to the city via the Subway. Pod Brooklyn (ThePodHotel.com/pod-brooklyn/) in the hipster haven of Williamsburg is a practical option for a short stay, 3 subway stops from downtown Manhattan. It has all the comforts needed to have a relaxing stay without all the extras that might cost you—don’t worry, you will still feel like you’re in a hotel! 

Opening in fall 2017, the hotel’s 249 rooms are modular pods, each constructed in Poland with a simple, modern decor. Pods come with either the choice of a queen-size or bunk-style bed, depending if you’re plotting to make this a romantic getaway or an amicable trip for friends. 

The hotel’s four buildings are connected with courtyards lined with organic gardens. The rooftop bar and ground floor restaurant with sidewalk and outdoor seating are set to open later this spring. In the meantime before the restaurant opens, guests can enjoy morning pastries and coffee in the lobby. The next door Woodhul Wine Bar (WoodHulWineBar.com) is a lovely spot for hotel guests to enjoy a free glass of wine and 20 percent off tapas. There is no shortage of surrounding restaurants to suit a wide variety of tastebuds. Pod partners with local gyms and yoga options for fit-minded visitors.

 

Do

The easiest way to experience New York City is to get a MetroCard for the Subway, pack a backpack with essentials (don’t forget your camera!) and get yourself a CityPASS (Citypass.com). The CityPASS gives you the option to see 6 major attractions around the city for 40 percent off regular combined admission costs with the added benefit of using VIP lines. If it’s your first time to NYC, be sure to use the pass to check out sites like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Top of the Rock, and the American Museum of Natural History (aka nerd heaven). If you’re a repeat visitor, take a different perspective and check out the sparkling view from the landmark Empire State Building after hours (open till 2 a.m.), a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise around the harbor, or the latest exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

For even more novel options, there’s the Tenement Museum (Tenement.org). Take a tour back through time to mid 20th century Lower East Side of Manhattan to explore the apartments of early immigrants to the city. It is an eye-opening look at what life was like. Or block out an afternoon to enter Gulliver’s Gate (GulliversGate.com), a newly opened museum with 3D-printed miniature models built to scale (1/87th to be exact) of cities around the world, each constructed in the city it depicts. Get lost seeing the sites here and you’ll feel like you spent the day wandering the globe, before stepping back into the reality of neon lit marquees on Broadway.

 

See

Be sure to leave a little time in your itinerary to do what people come from all over the world to see—a show on Broadway! The lineup of earth-shattering, gay favorites with tickets available is always longer than there is time to see—Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, Hello Dolly!, to name a few (BroadwayCollection.com)—even if some are a bit difficult to get. Book in advance, or if tickets are already sold out or out of your price range, you can try entering the lottery for tickets the following day, stand in the cancelation line before performances or check out discount sites like StubHub.com. After all, if there’s a will, there’s a way!

For tried-and-true show tune lovers, the ultimate night out is Feinstein’s/54 Below (54Below.com). This underground cabaret-style show welcomes legendary Broadway performers who give you an intimate show of Broadway songs. Enjoy dinner and dessert or just cocktails while these crooners make you feel right at home in this world-class city. 


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