Gay bars and dance clubs in New York City

Yes, this is a democratic blog that supports the LGBT cause. New York is a city rich in diversity: there is an incredible mix of cultures, languages, colors and also sexual genres and options. Prejudice has no place here: you will see men holding hands and women holding hands. And this is completely normal, because the other’s option is not our problem, right? Taking all that into account, I think it’s fair to talk about the options that the city offers to the LGBT audience. For this, I invited my great friend Leandro Veneziani, who selected dance clubs and bars not to be missed for those who are traveling to the Big Apple! Leandro has been  lived here for three years. His criteria: popularity, history and, of course, experiences he had living for three years in New York.

1 – Industry Bar – There is no way to talk about LGBT dance clubs without mentioning Industry. Located in Hell’s Kitchen, one of New York’s gayest neighborhoods (and very close to the Times Square), Industry is a bar / dance club that opens every day and is also home to many famous drags that started doing shows there , as the winner of RuPaul eighth season, Bob The Drag Queen. The music includes everything, everything gay haha. Admission is free and the price of drinks are “ok” – about $8 for a Vodka drink with Cranberry. And it is also cool that, because of the location (near many hotels), the place receives many tourists besides the New Yorkers. Without doubt one of the best places in New York.

Address:  355 W 52nd St.

2 – The Stonewall Inn  – O lugar onde “tudo aconteceu”. Stonewall não é só um bar/balada legal que recebe shows drags, é também um marco na história da Queer Culture. Em 1969, uma manifestação deu início ao movimento LGBT, que enfrentou as autoridades e a polícia na conhecida “Revolta de Stonewall”. Grandes nomes como RuPaul, Lady Bunny, dentre outros já deixaram sua marca lá. Além disso, o bar se situa em outro bairro gay da cidade, o Village, um bairro “cool” de Nova York cercado de lojas, bares e baladas incríveis. O preço pra entrar varia por conta do evento, mas geralmente a entrada é free. Confira mais no site.

The place where “everything happened”. Stonewall is not just a cool bar that hosts drag shows, it’s also a milestone in Queer Culture’s history. In 1969, a demonstration kicked off the LGBT movement, which faced authorities and police in the well-known “Stonewall Revolt”. Big names like RuPaul, Lady Bunny, among others have already left their mark there. In addition, the bar is located in another gay district of the city, the Village, a “cool” neighborhood of New York surrounded by shops, bars and incredible dance clubs. Admission varies for the event, but usually, is free. Check out more on the website.

PS: It’s worth remembering that Stonewall is close to the Big Gay Ice Cream (61 Grove St) an ice cream shop that is essential for everyone who wants to take a close-up in New York and take some outrageous photos.

Address: 53 Christopher St. 

3 – Cubby Hole – Also in the Village, Cubby Hole is a great choice for a drink with your friends. Full of good, different, affordable drinks, it’s one of New York’s most famous gay bars and known as a “lesbian bar”. The bar is beautiful, with incredible decor and full of beautiful people to flirt. Admission is also free. Check out more on the website.

PS: there is a super cool jukebox that gives a special effect to the place, and still, with some coins you can make “your music” play.

Address:  281 W 12th St A.

4 – Fire Island – If you want to get to know and enjoy Queer Culture in New York, Fire Island is the best place for it. This will cost you a little more money and availability, since the island is not in New York. But nothing that a train, a car and a ferry does not solve. On average, this tour costs about $ 50 per person. The island is the “gayest place” in the world. Full of bars, restaurants, pool parties, drag queens and beautiful people. And do not fool yourself into believing it to be a place of sin and perdition! Many families are there with their kids and it is a super friendly place. A lot of fun from morning till night when the parties come to a climax! Click here and check out how to get there. Check out the most famous parties at the island.

PS: there is even a reality show that calls “Fire Island” and shows the vacation of a group of gay friends.

5 – “Bar Hopping” – it seems silly but it’s THE BEST way to get to know and experience cool places in New York. But to give the right hint, I’d recommend doing this at Hell’s Kitchen, as it’s a more touristy neighborhood, close to known places / hotels and for being a big concentration of gay bars and dance clubs in the city. Since most of the dance clubs and bars in the city offer free admission, there is nothing better than going from bar to bar and enjoying the best of each!  In the Hell’s Kitchen area, I recommend Posh (405 W. 51st St), Therapy (348 W 52nd St), Boxers (742 9th Ave), Ritz (369 W 46th St) and Industry. Then there is nothing better than drinking one in each place (be careful not to drink outside, because is not allowed) and enjoy and dancing in all these places.

While We Were Young – a super cute restaurant in New York City

I’m a “trend’s victim”, I confess. If a restaurant is cute and instagrammable, is enough for me to go there and check out. Joking aside, I appreciate good food, but if the atmosphere of the restaurant is cool, the place earns points. But you can not be cute, but ordinary – no matter how Instagram shows us the opposite. Well, these cute restaurants are so New York! There’s always a new spot here. While We Were Young is one of them. Raquel and I were there some weeks ago to have lunch and I’ve decided to share our experience with you here.

While We Were Young is located in the West Village, a super charming area of the city. The owner, Bradford Dunigan, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida, grew up in a home where details have always been important. His mother, a former model, covered the house with flowers. This explains why the bar is covered in petals. The atmosphere is intimate and small, and the restaurant was planned to provide an experience to customers. While We Were Young usually gets busy late in the afternoon when it becomes a perfect Happy Hour spot. Incidentally, the drinks are house specialty – especially the While We Were Young, made with vodka, vanilla, and sparkling wine.

Although the place stands out for the bar, its food menu is very neat. The kitchen offers contemporary American cuisine. Appetizers include burrata, tuna tartar, and salads. On the main dishes, the options range from avocado toast to burger (with vegan version), fish, pasta, lobster, and chicken. Raquel and I ordered a burrata and a burger, to share. Burrata ($18) was one of the most delicious I have ever eaten – served with pears, cherries and hazelnuts (I love the mix of sweet and savory). The burger ($22), came with fries and was great. Very, very tasty, with a chipotle aioli, along with crispy onions. Yes, the prices are a little high, but everything was so well prepared and yummy that it was worth every penny.

And when we were leaving, the waiter surprises us with a courtesy: a dessert. A carrot cake served as a sandwich, with delicious icing filling and topping, plus walnuts, which gave a perfect taste. Seriously, this dessert was delicious! We left there happy and satisfied (with food and service).

While We Were Young is open every day from 11 am – and serves brunch on weekends. You can click here to see the full menu. The place does not accept reservations and is perfect for groups of up to 4 people.

Address: 183 W 10th St

Visiting the New York Transit Museum

One of the most “local” experiences for anyone visiting New York is subway riding. I always say it’s on the subway that the real New York routine happens. Subway always offers funny stories, interesting performances, and eccentric figures. But in addition to the entertainment factor, there is no denying the practicality: the subway has incredible coverage and works 24 hours a day. And I love it! I love being able to go everywhere using the subway, I think it’s incredible. Obviously, it would need a lot of improvement, but I try to focus on what’s good, especially after learning more about the history of the subway through our visit to the New York Transit Museum.

Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Through artifacts, pics, videos, and texts, the museum tells the story of the New York transportation system. One of the exhibits tells how the stations were built in the 1920s when the subway began to be developed. Precarious working conditions and accidents marked the period. My favorite exhibit is the one that shows how the MTA managed the transportation system in the face of various crises – such as September 11, Hurricane Sandy and a blackout. With photos and videos and testimonials of company employees, you can learn a little of what each of these episodes caused to the city.

At the platform, you can travel through time, visiting the trains from several decades, and see how everything has been modernizing. Loved seeing the vintage trains! The interior preserves advertisements and maps of each decade. Speaking of advertising, if you’ve come to New York, you know there is always some campaign on good manners and etiquette on the subway. And the New York Transit Museum has a room that brings together several posters from old campaigns. I loved it! And besides the trains, there is also a smaller area, dedicated to the bus system. You can get in and pretend that you are a driver.

I’ve told you a few times that I’m not a fan of museums, but I loved getting to know the city’s transportation system through the New York Transit Museum. It’s a different and incredible program! But you need to have a good understanding of English because there is so much content to be read and heard. Tickets cost $10 (adults) and $5 (children over 2 and seniors over 62). The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm.

Oh, and I could not stop talking about the museum’s souvenir shop, full of subway and New York City themed products, with options for all ages!

Address: Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St.

Grand Banks: drinks on a boat in New York

Summer in New York is not perfect: there are days that are too hot and our beaches (far from Manhattan) are not like Miami. However, as summer is short – and the winter is sooo long – I do not even complain. There are things to do here all year long – but it is certainly during the summer that the offer of activities is more intense, you can not deny. A few weeks ago, we were at the Grand Banks: a bar and restaurant that sits on a … boat!

Hand-built and christened in 1942, the F/V Sherman Zwicker is the last original saltbank fishing vessel in existence.  It is always moored – more precisely at the Hudson River Park, at Pier 25 – but it tends to shake a little. As it is an open boat, the place only works for a period of the year – from mid-April to mid-October. You can either get a drink and hang out, near the bar, or see the host to get a table. We were there on a Saturday, at the end of the day, and got a table with a prime location. The views that the Grand Banks provides is something that needs to be mentioned: nothing is more enjoyable than having a drink seeing the One Wolrd Trade Center, the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty in the background and Jersey City.

On the menu, the highlight is the oysters. In addition, there are also several choices of fish and seafood dishes such as ceviche and losbter roll, as well as french fries and burrata. These options are served all day. At weekends, the place features a special brunch menu, which includes classic egg dishes and French toast. Prices range from $ 9 to $ 27 and you can check out the full menu here. Grand Banks drinks include cocktails ($15), beers ($10) and wines ($15).

The place is very lively and full of young people. We love our experience! I had a drink and Thiago had a beer and we also ordered some french fries. Grand Banks is a definite choice for a happy hour in the summer – after all, the view from there is sensational. I also think it’s a cool option for a couple to go in the evenings and having a more romantic date! According to information from the website, the less busy hours are before 5 pm (on weekdays) and before 3 pm (on weekends). It is possible to make reservations through the site, but there are few places, so it is recommended to go even without a reservation.

Address: Hudson River Park, Pier 25. Monday: 3pm –12am; Tuesday: 3pm –12am; Wednesday: 12pm –12am; Thursday: 12pm –12am; Friday: 12pm –12am; Saturday: 11am –12am; Sunday: 11am –12am.

Trapeze class in New York City (+ video)

I was very excited to write this post for you! Last week, more precisely on Friday, I faced one of the most “radical” experiences of my life: I took a trapeze class. This activity had been on my to-do list for some time, but I never prioritized it. Anyone who has watched Sex and the City will remember that in one of the episodes Carrie appears practicing trapeze. The place is the New York Trapeze School, with locations at Pier 40 (Manhattan) and Brooklyn.

I booked my class through the school site, with two days in advance, for a Monday, at the end of the day. As it began to rain before I left my house, I wondered if the lesson would happen. I called and they gave me the option to reschedule. I thought it would be better because since class at Pier 40 is outdoors, I wanted the day to be beautiful. I confess that there was afraid in the previous days, with a desire to give up, you know? Good thing I did not let the discouragement win.

I got there about 20 minutes before class, that was scheduled for 6pm. You enter Pier 40, walk to the soccer field and walk up the stairs on the left to the top floor. Needless to say that the fact of the lesson happening on the Pier already makes the experience much more cool right? The view from there is amazing and as the pier is on the west side, the colors of the sunset are amazing. Our class had 10 students, 8 beginners . Three instructors led our class. One was at the top of the trapeze and prepares you for the jump, another is below, releasing the commands and another shows what we should do. All the students jump bound to cables..

The first tips are about the position for the jump: we train on the ground and learn what each command means. That’s why is important to know English so that you can hear and understand what the instructor teaches. Each of us jumped about five times. The first time I climbed in I was pretty nervous: although it did not seem so high when you are looking down at the bottom, when you get up there it’s quite different, the first jump was enough to break the ice. When the instructor told us we should put our legs up and let hands off, I freaked out. But when you’re up there, you realize it’s easier than it looks. But every time you go up, the instructor adds another “task.” And it’s cool to go challenging yourself with every jump. Our last jump included loosening the trapeze and grabbing the trainer’s arms. It’s scary, right? But the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable.

It feels so good! I would repeat the experience and highly recommend it, both for people who live here and for those who are traveling and look for different things to do in the city! It is recommended to book your lesson online. Prices vary according to class. The one I booked – Flying Trapeze – costs $ 60 (+ $ 10 registration fee). Each lesson lasts two hours. It is worth remembering that the unit of Pier 40 opens from April to October and Brooklyn opens all year. Do not forget to wear gym clothes and socks.

Did you like the post? Although my video is in Portuguese, you can watch to have an idea about the class! 

Paris: the best restaurants of our trip

After talking about what we did in the French capital – click here to check the post with tips of not obvious things in Paris – it’s time to talk about the restaurants! We had great gastronomic experiences there – and a lot of it is due to the “curatorship” of my sister, who lives in the city and always had a nice tip for us! Next, you check out the best places to eat during our four days there.

Located in Montmartre, it is one of my sister’s favorite restaurants. She lives in the neighborhood and this is one of the places she and her husband always go to for lunch or dinner. The menu is very varied and has several dishes based on meat, fish and poultry. Thiago’s choice was Tartiflette, a dish with bacon, cheese and chips – tell me if this can be not good? My dish was a steak with potato and my sister got the salad – which comes with delicious potatoes on top. The dishes cost, on average, € 14.50. Worth remembering that all portions were very well served!

This was a tip from my friend Juliana, who loves Paris (and has lived there for a long time). Carl Marletti is a patisserie – so it’s a full plate for sweet lovers. The reason we went there was because of the lemon tart – Ju said it’s her boyfriend’s favorite. As a matter of fact, the tart is on the list of blogs and sites in Paris as one of the best in the city. It was delicious! We also got a giant chocolate macaron. Prices are around €4, on average. Oh, there are no tables to sit in, but there is a park in front the parisserie.

This restaurant is close to Montmartre, not far from Moulin Rouge. My sister booked for us because of the great reviews on the internet. The atmosphere is simple and it is a tapas style restaurant – that is, everything is for sharing. The staff were very friendly! We ordered guacamole, burrata, beet hummus, mac and cheese. All, of course, with bread, which is very common in Paris. Not extraordinary dishes, but everything was very well prepared and delicious. If you can, make a reservation! The price of each dish ranges from € 5 to € 10. We were in four people and ordered 6 tapas.

In Paris, there are several culinary classics, and the crepe is undoubtedly one of them. This restaurant is in the Saint Michel neighborhood and my sister warned that there are many restaurants in that neighborhood that are not good – which is not the case of this one. There are a lot of choices of crepes – plus salads and other dishes. I ordered one with blue cheese and nuts. It was great! Thiago ordered one with meat (and egg on top). I do not remember much of the prices, but I believe it was around € 12 on average.

This was, in my opinion, our best dining experience in Paris. La Bellevilloise is in the Belle Ville neighborhood – I talked about it on my post about things to do in Paris. The restaurant is beautiful, super charming, with rustic decor and real olive trees inside! We were there on a Friday and there was live music. The place was very lively and with lots of young people. Our group had 6 people and we ordered some starters, such as burrata and gratin cauliflower (average of € 8 each). Then each one ordered a plate. I choose the fish with rice – but as you can see, some people had pasta, steak tartar and veal. Everyone enjoyed the food and most dishes varied from € 14 to € 26.

Did you like the post? I hope the tips help if you are planning a trip to Paris!