There's Nothing Like New York City
By Ed Salvato
New York is the nerve center of the world. Finance, communications, publishing, art, fashion, music, advertising, dining, theater -- all the buzz begins here in Manhattan. No city in the world offers New York's diversity of experience, opportunity and sheer, raw power.
Since World War II, New York has served as the nation's number-one destination for gay Americans, lured to Greenwich Village, then Chelsea from the towns large and small all over the country. The nation?s capital of the arts, New York's cultural scene has been dominated by gay men and women for decades.
So sharpen your wits, get ready to walk ? alot, keep your eyes wide open and be open to anything, because it's all here.
The center of New York City's gay-life has spread both north and eastward from its historic Greenwich Village roots, to Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen and the East Village.
Many first-time visitors to Greenwich Village (or the West Village, as locals know it) are surprised by how large and diverse this chunk of the city is. The Village comprises many different communities, faces and lives. The gay West Village is centered around Sheridan Square and Christopher Street (beginning at Sheridan Square and running west), perhaps the first gay ghetto in the country.
With its epicenter at 18th Street and Eighth Avenue, Chelsea is New York's visibly gayest neighborhood, typified by its legions of young muscle boys. Along the western part of Chelsea, you'll find the city's largest concentration of art galleries, between 20th and 26th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues.
Much funkier than the West Village the East Village is typified by former tenement housing (now very expensive), inexpensive ethnic restaurants, the best offbeat shopping in the city and dozens of bars. Despite soaring rents, the area still retains a rough, defiant edge. The queer scene of the East Village is in keeping with the area's individualistic spirit.
Hell's Kitchen is the most recently settled of the city's gay enclaves. Running roughly from 34th to 57th streets and from Eighth Avenue west to the Hudson River, Hell's Kitchen's proximity to Broadway and the theater district has drawn stray gays for decades, attracted by the formerly cheap rents of its tenement-style housing. It's only in the past few years that gay people have settled here en masse, bringing with them the requisite bars and restaurants that now make it arguably the city's hottest queer playground.
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