Publisher’s Perspective: New York Stories

By : Tom Dyer
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TomDyerHeadshotWhile they’re still fresh, I want to share some vignettes from my recent trip to New York:

* I’m a nervous flyer, even with a pocketful of Xanax. So it didn’t help that airport televisions were broadcasting credible reports of a terrorist attack as I prepared to board my flight to New York City on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

* It ended up being a great flight. Instead of sitting next to a terrorist, I shared an armrest with huge, hunky and friendly Aaron Taylor, a former All-American at Notre Dame and now CBS Sports football broadcaster. He’d been in Orlando for the UCF-Boston College game.

* I stayed with my friends, Matt and Greg, in their Harlem apartment, and as soon as I got settled Matt took me to his huge artist’s loft just over the Harlem River in the Bronx. Matt’s a ceramic sculptor and it was like a scene from Basquiat or Pollock; a huge industrial space bursting with color and talent.

* We had a late lunch at the Bruckner Bar & Grill, nestled beneath gritty overpasses covered with graffiti. I became a Jet, snapping my fingers and chanting, Boy, Boy, Crazy Boy. Matt rolled his eyes. Inside, the restaurant was so atmospheric so filled with urban characters that I expected to find a gun taped inside the toilet.

* The next morning I made my way to Central Park and ran around the Reservoir a couple times, drinking in the familiar but still awe-inspiring skyline from every angle. Welcome to New York, Tom.

* Subway, shower, subway and I was on the other side of the park, at the Museum of Natural History. Filled with dinosaur bones and dioramas, the museum didn’t disappoint. At the magnificent Hayden Planetarium I watched the formation of the universe… narrated by Whoopi Goldberg.

* Matt joined me for dinner and a walk on the High Line, a park built on abandoned above-ground rail lines in the trendy Meatpacking District. Models sipped espresso and posed silhouetted against the sunset. Media types with iPads looked busy and important. Gay boys in skinny jeans and fedoras gossiped as they watched Basia do a sound check for an outdoor concert. We’d have to bathe in fabulousness to get in, Matt said with a sigh.

* The next day I took the subway to the Bronx, where I interviewed transgender actress Harmony Santana star of the TIGLFF opening night film at her fourth floor walkup. Her neighborhood is an explosion of languages, cultures, sounds and smells. Harmony was a delight, and her story on last issue’s cover was touching and inspiring.

* I made plans to meet up with someone on Bear411 that night and decided to head down to Lincoln Center to pass the time in between. It was Fashion Week, and I hoped I’d see Heidi Klum or Christian Siriano or at least Austin Scarlet. Instead there were lots of people in black acting like they weren’t looking at each other. But I noticed a line forming for War Horse, the 2011 Tony Award winner for Best Play. I knew it was sold out, but I got in the cancellation line and soon I was in the eighth row wearing Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. I fell in love with the astonishing life-sized puppet horse like he was my own dog. When it was over I went into an ugly sob. Wearing flip-flops, it hardly mattered.

* I was still a wreck walking over to Hell’s Kitchen, but when NYC Nick opened the door to his 250 sq. ft. claustro-habitat Just roll the clothes out of the way if you need to use the bathroom it was clear he didn’t want to cuddle. Nick took my mind off the play, but soon thereafter he was ready to reclaim his small slice of Manhattan. At least tell me a little about yourself, I said, looking for my flip-flops. Singing and tears followed, including an extended diatribe against an agent who just doesn’t get that I’m a character actor now. I tried to help by suggesting some roles, like Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls. You think I’m Stubby Kaye!!! he screamed. Date over. When I described it to my friend, Ken, he summed it up for me: Typical gay New Yorker. “I’m needy. Go away.’

* After that I walked over to Times Square, where a.60-something woman with osteoporosis approached me. You look healthy. I bet you’re from out of town, she said, invading my space. I told her I’m from Florida. I should’ve guessed. I bet you’d be fun. You want to party? When I told her I’m gay, she said, I should’ve guessed that, too. Have a nice night, honey.

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