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Jack Mackenroth's Gay Guide to NYC

Jack Mackenroth's Gay Guide to NYC

The fashion designer and TV personality talks about a few of his favorite places, events and things in the Big Apple.


Originally published on

Name: Jack Mackenroth
Age: 40
Profession: Fashion Designer, TV Producer and Host
City: New York
Relationship Status: Dating
Sexuality: Super Gay

What is the best date you ever had in this town? Why?
A guy took me on a midnight helicopter ride around Manhattan. We got pretty close to the buildings. It was pretty amazing to fly around the Statue of Liberty. I wonder what happened to him. He probably crashed.

What are some of the things you love most about your city/town?
I love that you can get anything you want delivered to your door at anytime. I can get a hooker, a bamboo plant and a diet coke all at 2 AM. Then I can make that hooker water the bamboo while I drink my diet coke. Good times. I also love the subway. Manhattan is so compact that you can get anywhere in the city on the subway in less than an hour. Plus you can sit next to a crack whore and a supermodel in the same ride. It's a great equalizer.

What are some of your least favorite things about it?
It's expensive as hell and in the summer it's crazy hot--but you get used to the smell. Tourists can be annoying. I avoid Times Square like Elizabeth Hasselback. It's lookie-loo central.

What gym do you like most? Why?
David Barton on 23rd street. It has the prettiest boys. Anderson Cooper goes there if you're into silver foxes.

What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends there?
Well almost all restaurants in New York are gay friendly. If they are not they are stupid. I like Buddakan in Chelsea and all the BLT restaurants. BLT Prime is my fave. I also LOVE Freeman's in a little alley way downtown. Cool scene and morbid decor. For a big gay scene Elmo and Cafeteria are hot messes for Sunday Brunch. Bring your healthy liver and some sunglasses.

Is there a particular best place to "people watch" that most people not familiar with your town would find helpful?
Well I like the Christopher street pier at the west end of Christopher street in the summer. Lots of hunky men with their shirts off. If you want to see "characters" then go to Astor place in the east village. Freaks and geeks galore!

Are there any famous people from your town?
Um...Yeah. Tons. It's not quite LA but you see famous people all the time. There are a ton of Broadway stars, news people, some actors, models galore, politicians and hack reality stars.


What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs? What do you like about them?
There are so many bars here its hard to pick a favorite. For a tourist I would suggest picking up a Next or HX magazine that lists every thing going on each night and lists all the bars and clubs. There really aren't any big dance clubs anymore since the Roxy closed. I like a more intimate bar like the Phoenix in the east village. No pretense or attitude.

What are your favorite gay parties or events, if any? What is the crowd or scene like at those places?
Well I used to do the whole gay circuit for DAYS!!! But that part of me is long gone. The only event I still participate in religiously is the gay pride parade and the pier dance after the parade. The energy is amazing and usually the weather is flawless because God loves the gays.

Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out?
In front of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Make a statement while getting a chubb. I always like to multitask.

What is the gay community like in your city? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
The gay community is very diverse and MASSIVE. Twinks, punks, dykes, bears, leather queens, femmes, trannies, drag queens, gym bunnies, muscle daddies--we have them all. I used to be kind of a Chelsea queen artist type. Then I moved to Harlem. I have tattoos but I'm not butch. I'm not into any particular 'scene'. I'm just a 40 year old white dude with tattoos and muscles who like to make pretty clothes and lip-synch at the gym. You tell me.

Do gay men and lesbians hang out in the same places in your town, or is that just a ridiculous notion?!
I've heard of that phenomenon in smaller cities where there are only a handful of gay bars but we don't really mix in New York. We love our gay sisters but we have are own watering holes and they have their hardware stores.

Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations there? Which ones? What do you like about those groups?
I swim on Team New York Aquatics which is the gay swim team which keeps me in shape physically and mentally. I go to events with Strength in Numbers which puts on social events for HIV+ men. SIN is great for meeting other HIV+ men. I also have my own HIV education campaign, Living Positive by Design, which is based out of New York. It aims to combat the stigma of HIV through discussion and visibility. There are a bunch more amazing groups in New York. There is something for everyone.

Does your town have a LGBT pride celebration? Do you usually attend? What are the highlights for you? What do you like least about it?
Yes and its AMAZING!!! It's my favorite day of the year. The parade is mahem but fabulous. Everybody comes out from all the surrounding burroughs. The best part is the pier dance from 4pm to midnight. They always get a really big name performer as entertainment. Last year it was Jennifer Hudson. She was fierce! The guys have all timed thier botox, tanning, diets and steroids just perfectly so everyone looks fabulous. The only bring down is that sometimes it's too crowded and you need to huck a couple twinks off the pier tomake room.


Do you have a particular fashion style? Where do you shop for clothes?
Ironically I am a fashion designer that lives in jeans and t-shirts. I only wear Levis which I buy at the Levi's store on 14th street. I buy most of my t-shirts online at Cool stores are Jerry's on 8th avenue, Jeffrey in the meat packing district and Barney's co-op in Chelsea. I am a sneaker freak so I also love the skate shops along Lafeyette street in SOHO and Alife on Rivington in the east village.

Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
I am a huge fan of the Leslie Lohman art gallery in SOHO. They have great gay themed art by local artists and great exhibitions. I like alternative theater like Justin Bond or crazy cabaret shows. You can see amazing drag queens any night of the week as well.

If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "musts" that you'd recommend they see or do?
Skip the tourist sites and just buy the postcards. If you absolutely have to do one touristy thing I suggest the top of the Empire State building. On a clear day the view is redic. Also if you can splurge a little bit the helicopter ride around the city is incredible during the day oor night. They charter them from both sides of the island and they are not outrageously expensive. Definitely see a broadway show or two. I would reccomend going to see Central Park. It's beautiful in the spring. And you can trick in the bushes.

What city (or cities) in America would you most like to visit next, and why? Are there any specific spots there (theaters, nightclubs, historic sites, etc.) that you'd really like to see?
Honestly I've been to almost every city in the US that I care to visit. I have no desire to set foot in any of the red states although there are some cute Mormon boys in Utah. And I think you are allowed to have multiple boyfriends there. It's the law.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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