Tips and highlights for a gay city weekend in New York City during World Pride 2019, the biggest gay pride event since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. We must admit, a trip to NYC has been on our gay travel bucket list already for a long time. And there is hardly a better time to plan a visit to New York than the anniversary year of the LGBTQ+ community’s first uprisings at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. And so we follow in the footsteps of LGBTQ+ activists around the city of New York, visiting various gayborhoods, lesbians and gay bars and transform our New York city break into a small three days exploration trip on the eve of the World Pride event on the last weekend of June 2019.
Together with Hilton we show you some of our favorite moments of our New York City trip in April, where a Broadway musical visit, the theater experience Sleep No More, the gay neighborhoods of Manhattan and a visit to the Stonewall Inn should not be missed, of course. Do not forget to plan and book your trip early enough, because, who wants to miss the biggest LGBTQ+ event in recent history!? Enjoy our video and photos and we’re sure you can plan your perfect Gay Travel itinerary to New York City with Couple of Men and our Weekend Like A Local Travel Tips for New York City.
Gay-friendly Hotel The Bernic in New York City
We spent the four nights of our trip to the East Coast of the United States in Manhattan, the beating heart of the Big Apple, New York City. Surrounded by the waters of the Hudson and the East River, breathtakingly high skyscrapers shoot up in the air making it difficult for the sun to reach the streets. And here, in the middle of the Midtown East skyscrapers, we checked in at our modern hotel of the The Bernic Hotel New York City. Our suite on the 10th floor had not only one but actually two balconies from where we could spot one of New York’s main landmarks: the iconic silver-shining Chrysler Building. The view got even better from the hotel’s rooftop bar, which is a top address for a drink in New York’s Midtown East, especially in summer. After our first hotel and suite inspection and hungry from traveling, we enjoyed an Italian inspired dinner in the Hotel-Restaurant Allora.
Hudson Yards, the Vessel and a walk
Every morning we started with a hearty breakfast at The Bernic Hotel New York City. On our second day, we set out to explore a brand new part of Manhattan, the Hudson Yards with the so-called Vessel. All we had to do was to take the subway once across Manhattan to the west side of the island to the 34th Street Hudson Yards stop. In the midst of modern skyscrapers, The Vessel, also known as New York’s staircase, features nearly 2,500 steps, 80 observation decks and dazzling glass and copper-colored design panels. Really impressive and very popular with tourists and native New Yorkers at the same time. While patience is needed for ticket sales and the ascent to the highest level, the ensuing view of the river, the parked subway trains and the rooftops of New York is truly spectacular. But there was more to see! Starting at the Shed, we walked the High Line, a 2.3 kilometer long, green, former freight train route that runs as a walking path once through the New York district of Chelsea. We fell in love with the contrast between design buildings, graffiti and the plants growing on the former tracks.
Gallow Green: Dinner-Experience with a view
About halfway on the tracks, we turned right off the High Line, hungry and with one eye always squinting on our theater tickets. It was time for an early dinner on the rooftop restaurant Gallow Green. The restaurant is lavishly and comfortably decorated with all sorts of green plants, wooden benches and flowers, and we were seated in an open train car with a view over the rooftops of New York. We could hardly get any closer to nature in New York, at least not on a roof terrace. For the beginning, the choice falls on the cocktail Sleep No More (suitable for our following theater evening) to toast with a view of the setting sun. As the main course, Karl, of course, choose the McKittrick Burger and Daan went for a wonderful Pizza Margarita. The highlight of the epicurean evening, however, were the desserts. We shared a Nutella Calzone (!), a Chocolate Budino and, yes, there is another one, a Key Lime Pie with a Palm tree Cookie on top. Glorious. The friendly staff also told us that the Gallow Green has become a popular place for dinner and cocktails. Reservations, especially for the weekend brunch, are therefore recommended!
‘Sleep No More’ Theater – only in New York
Only a short distance to the east from the Gallow Green, we entered a spectacular, interactive theater experience. The British theater company Punchdrunk created the award-winning theater experience Sleep No More, which tells Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy Macbeth through a film noir lens spread across multiple stages on several walkable floors. The visitors of the theater experience are wearing ghostly-looking, white-grey masks and have to decide upon entering the floors where they want to go and what to experience and when. Should we have followed the bald-shaven witch to the techno-rave with the naked devil, or should we get lost in the corridors of a mysterious, abandoned hospital ward? We had a choice … but did we really? A play that really inspired us and at the same time frustrated us as well: even though the performances repeat three times in three hours, we did not manage to experience all the interesting parts we would have liked to.
Love & Resistance at the New York Public Library and Stonewall Inn
New York City has not only the well-known modern but also an exciting, well-preserved historic site. Examples of its history can be found in several public New York libraries. One of them is located at Bryant Park just a 15 minutes walk from The Bernic Hotel and just around the corner from the famous Grand Central Station. The public library on 5th Ave is currently hosting the free exhibit Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 where LGBTQ+ travelers can learn about the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The exhibition, open until the end of July 2019, shows the photographs taken by the two groundbreaking photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies who’s work captures some of the most important events of this time starting with the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which would change the perception of LGBTQ + people worldwide. In addition to these images, other works of the LGBTQ+ community from the library’s extensive archive collections are on display. The Stonewall Inn is still open today located on Christopher Street in the West Village in the gay neighborhood Greenwich Village. In June 2016, President Obama dedicated the Stonewall National Monument in Christopher Park just across the street from the gay bar, which became the first US National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ + Rights Movement.
Must-Do: Broadway Musical ‘Kiss me, Kate’
After exploring the beautiful historic section of the New York Public Library, we headed west through Bryant Park strolling along 42nd Street towards Broadway. While crossing Times Square, we experienced why it is supposed to be one of the busiest tourist attractions in New York! But our destination was the famous Studio 54. Why did we want to go to the legendary New Yorker night club located on 54th Street? Because seeing a musical performance on Broadway is an absolute must-do and should be on every New York bucket list. We were seeing Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “Kiss me, Kate” and for Daan, this was a dream came true since the performances in New York are considered to be the best in the world. The musical Kiss Me Kate is expected to play only until 30th of June (ideal for your World Pride trip by the way) and if you stay with Hilton you can receive 30% off tickets. If you want to catch another show, we recommend the musical PROM, a show about a lesbian schoolgirl who was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to prom. Enjoy Broadway!
New York Nightlife: Gay and Lesbian Bars at its best
Our musical night ended around 10 pm, the best time to start a night out in New York City with bar hopping. We decide to go for a first drink in the Flaming Saddles Saloon, a gay bar which is located in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen district. As the name implies, this bar is all about country music and cowboys. And indeed, after a few country songs, the bar boys jumped onto the bar and started dancing in their cowboy boots. The atmosphere got better and better and we got in the mood to see more of New York’s nightlife. With the subway, we went back to Chelsea to the so-called REBAR, where we spent the rest of the night. Great house music, bearded men and sexy gogo dancers – just the right party for a Saturday night in New York City. Important note: Do not forget your ID or driving license since you have to be older than 21 years to enter the strictly controlled bars. WiFi is also available at the REBAR while you can pay in cash or by card. For all lesbians looking for a good bar in New York, we strongly recommend the lesbian bar, Henrietta Hudson. Together with some friends from New York and all over the world, we had a fantastic time there.
We have never been to New York before and it was mind blowing. The atmosphere, the uncountables opportunities starting with an exciting cultural program, a unique food scene and, of course, the LGBTQ+ community making New York to one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world, especially in the year of World Pride 2019. The whole month of June will be packed with events, parties, and possibilities to experience the welcoming culture of the LGBTQ+ community. It will be the perfect time to plan your weekend like a local trip together with Hilton to the Big Apple. Happy World Pride New York everyone and get ready for an awesome time in NYC for World Pride 2019!