NYC City Trip: Explore New York City with The Bernic Hotel
Tips and highlights for a gay city weekend in New York City during World Pride 2019, the biggest gay pride event ever to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in 1969. A Weekend in New York City – We must admit that this has been on our gay travel to-do list for a long time. But there is hardly a better year 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, lesbian and gay bars and transform our city break New York into a small exploration trip on the eve of the World Pride event on the last weekend of June 2019.
Together with Hilton NYC, we show you our favorite moments of our Big Apple city trip in April, where a Broadway musical visit, the exciting 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 your trip early enough, because who wants to miss the biggest LGBTQ + event in recent LGBTQ+ and Gay Pride history!? Enjoy our New York video, tips and photos and we’re sure you can plan your perfect trip to New York City World Pride 2019 with Couple of Men and our Weekend Like A Local Hilton Gay Travel Tips New York City.
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Three Days in New York City
Overwhelmed by the unique skyline of Manhattan, the deep street canyons and the bustling anonymity of New Yorkers, there was something magical in the air for us from the first moment on, besides the constant honking of the taxis and the odors of the food trucks, of course. We looked up in amazement at seemingly endless glass facades to discover the cloud-shrouded tops of New York City‘s skyscrapers. But wait, let’s start at the beginning. After only a 7.5 hour flight from Amsterdam in the Delta One Business Class, we landed relaxed and super excited at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. The passport control was surprisingly fast, also because we previously entered the US with our ESTA Form, which allowed us to switch to a much shorter line, the “ESTA Revisit / Reentry” queue. After we got our luggage off the luggage belt, the adventure Gay Travel New York could begin.
Gay-friendly Hotel The Bernic in New York City
Day 1 – We spent the four nights of our trip to the East Coast of the United States in Manhattan, the beating heart of 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 The Bernic Hotel New York City Midtown East. 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 Crysler 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 the traveling, we enjoyed an Italian inspired dinner in the Hotel-Restaurant Allora with Italian dishes and a typical Italian atmosphere. Just a quick hot rainfall shower later, we cuddled together in our comfortable bed and started dreaming about our coming New York adventure.
Hudson Yards, the Vessel and a walk
Day 2 – After a hearty breakfast at The Bernic New York City, 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 right next to the Hudson River. 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 really popular with tourists.
While patience is needed for ticket sales and the ascent to the highest level, the view of the river, the parked subway trains and the rest of New York’s newest neighborhood is truly spectacular. But that was not all, because from here we walked along the High Line, the 2.3 kilometers long, green, former freight train route that today runs once through the New York district of Chelsea. We loved the contrast between design buildings, graffiti and the plants growing on the former tracks. Just be aware that on sunny days or during weekends it can get very crowded.
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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 at the rooftop restaurant Gallow Green. The restaurant is lavishly and comfortably decorated as an abandoned Scottish railway station with all sorts of overflowing green plants and flowers between wooden benches. We could even sit in a half-dismantled train car, giving us a wonderful 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 us, the choice fell 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, should have been 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 very popular place during the weekends for brunch, so making a reservation is therefore warmly recommended!
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‘Sleep No More’ Theater – only in New York
Only a door away from the Gallow Green, we entered a spectacular, immersive 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 in the theater venue. We, the visitors of the theater experience, had to wear ghostly-looking, white-grey masks and had to decide upon entering the floors and stages ourselves where we want to go and to experience what 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? This is a play that inspired us and at the same time frustrated us as well: even though the performances were repeated three times in the three hours we were inside, we did not manage to experience all the interesting parts we would have liked to. Yes, that is the whole idea of Sleep No More but it did leave a weird feeling of missing out on wonderful mysterious things. So now we are hooked and we will definitely come back and explore more next time… Reviews on TripAdvisor here >
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Love&Resistance: Public Library & Stonewall Inn
Day 3 – New York City has not only the well-known modern but also an exciting, well-preserved historic site. Examples of it can be found in several public New York libraries. Bryant Park is located just a 15 minutes walk away from The Bernic Hotel, just around the corner from the famous Grand Central Station. The park is home to one of the best-known libraries embedded in the middle of a forest of huge skyscrapers. The public library on 5th Ave is currently hosting the free exhibit Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 where you can learn about the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The exhibition shows the photographs of the two groundbreaking photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies whose 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, including ephemera, magazines and more. A perfect tip for World Pride since the exhibit is open until the end of July 2019. The Stonewall Inn is still open and is located on Christopher Street in the West Village in the gay Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. In June 2016, President Obama dedicated the Stonewall National Monument in Christopher Park just across the street from the gay bar, which is the first US National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ + Rights Movement.
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Must-Do: Broadway Musical ‘Kiss Me, Kate’
After exploring the beautiful historic section of the library, we headed west through Bryant Park strolling along 42nd Street towards Broadway over Times Square, which undoubtedly is one of the weirdest and 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 come true since the performances on Broadway 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 2019 (ideal for your World Pride trip by the way) with new productions coming up regularly. If you stay with Hilton check their musical ticket offer and if your favorite show is eligible for their 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!
NYC Nightlife: New York’s Gay & Lesbian Bars
Our Broadway show ended around 10 pm, which gave us a perfect excuse to try out some drinks and some bars, before our party night in New York City. For our first drink, we decided to go to 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 move on. With the subway, we went back to Chelsea to the so-called REBAR, where we spent the rest of the night. Great music, bearded men and sexy gogo dancers – those are the right ingredients for a perfect 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 where you can pay in cash or by card. For all the girls who love girls (and their friends) who are looking for a good bar in New York, we strongly recommend the lesbian bar, Henrietta Hudson. Together with some of our favorite influencers from New York and from all over the world, we spent a great time there shooting pool and getting down and dirty on some bubbling.
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Gay Travel Tips for New York City after World Pride
Time is flying by in New York and there is so much to see and do! Brooklyn, Central Park, Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building – one thing is certain after our first gay trip to New York: we’ll be back, for sure. The first 10 days were just the beginning of a long love affair between Couple of Men and New York City!
You can find out more about the Big Apple in our Gay Guide New York, including an overview of the history of Gay Pride and the CSD (Christopher Street Day) Parades, our trip to the Dutchess County of New York State and other important information for your Gay Travels to this amazing city.
>> Plan your Weekend like a Local – Package together with Hilton!