Monday, June 20, 2011

Folsom Under High Line

*Warning: Images containing bare asses may not be safe for work.

In the 15 years that the Folsom Street East fair has been going, this is the first year it has had a High Line full of tourists directly above it. The newly extended High Line now stretches over 28th Street, where yesterday folks in leather and other fetish gear strutted their stuff--and did some damage with whips and chains.

As the fair raged below, High Liners gathered to gawk up above, craning their necks, pointing fingers, and aiming cameras over the edge. Grandmothers exclaimed, "Oh no, their behinds are hanging out!" Fathers said, "Don't let the kid look--that's too much explaining I don't want to do." Some young ladies squealed with delight and whipped out their iPhones. Others uttered the time-honored statement, "Only in New York."

High Line staff directed everyone exiting at the 28th Street stairs, "Once you go down, you can't come back up." It was an ominous warning.

Down below, boys were shackled to the St. Andrew's Cross and flogged until their backsides were bright red, blindfolded men got to their knees and licked the boots of leather daddies, and girls in fishnets arranged themselves into spanking daisy chains.

There was absolutely nothing "artisanal" at this street fair. There were corn dogs and fries. There was Budweiser. There were pina coladas served in big, plastic, penis-shaped sippy cups.

Couples dressed in leather dog masks enjoyed the fried sausages where a man knelt on the sidewalk with a sign around his neck that said, "Spit on me." Several of the fairgoers obliged.

On the main stage, the pie-eating contest was about to begin. The emcees called to the High Liners and waved, shouting into their microphones, "Do you out-of-towners want to see some men eat ass? How about you? Yeah, you, the tourist girl trying to look like Jackie O. in the sunglasses! You ready for some ass-eating?"

The queer crowd howled up at the High Line, waving and taunting. A few of the High Line tourists waved back. Others just shielded their eyes from the sun and gazed downward.

Then the men in jockstraps took their places on bales of hay and bent over, spreading their cheeks. Other men positioned themselves behind, slapped cream pies onto their partner's buttocks, and commenced to lick the platters clean.

Folsom Street East used to exist in the no-man's land that was 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. To see it, you had to know about it. You had to want to be there. Today, that area is rapidly changing--luxury condos already share the block with the gay leather Eagle bar and Scores strip joint, and a huge swath has just been bulldozed for a new development.

As the High Line spreads its luxurious seed across upper Chelsea, replacing every rough thing in its path with glass and glamor, how long, really, do you think Folsom will be allowed to party here?

Further reading:
Eagle's Nest
Pleasure Chest 1972
Men in Leather
Lenny & Leather


Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

This is not San Francisco, New York's days are numbered, 10...9...8...
The tourists have taken over. Say "Goodnight, Gracie..."

JAZ said...

Forcing the tourists to confront the spectacle that is Folsom Street Fair is pretty damn awesome. Can't imagine how many 'well, I NEVER!'s were gasped from above.

Unfortunately, speaking to what Mick says, how long until Bloomberg the World's Wealthiest Tourguide decides to snuff this out - in a few years, this will be sterilized, declawed and placed next to the peep show booth in the Times Square Visitor Center; that way the tourists can get a taste of 'gritty NYC', in the same way a visitor to the Bronx Zoo gets a taste of authentic jungle life.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i give it two more years. i'm surprised the condo owners haven't started complaining, like they did when they moved in next to the San Gennaro feast and that chicken slaughterhouse in Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Much of the New York culture that is actually celebrated (disco, house, art world, and to a minor extent, hip hop) from the 70s to the 90s had seeds in the gay community.

As a straight man who misses the cauldron of creativity that this city once possessed, I welcome the mayhem and confrontation that the Folosm Street Fair brings. Not personally my cup o tea, but more power to 'em.

Uncle Waltie said...

For as long as I can remember, members of the GLBT community were on the leading edge of cultural events down here. Both on the East and West side of the Village. Here's a clip of one of my favorites. Blog owner, I hope this is permissible.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Uncle Waltie--permissable indeed.

Anonymous said...


I've been following your blog for over a year despite not living in NYC and I look forward to each new post. Here in Philly we're experiencing the same thing. Theme restaurants and $6 cupcakes are replacing city institutions as Yunnies spread their tentacles from Center City to other parts of the city, there's yunnie dog shit everywhere, and the Gayborhood has been renamed "Midtown Village." Know your neighbors to the south feel your pain.

I'll leave you with this gem from someone's Facebook status the other day: "It's surreal being back in NYC again. This is a tough place with kids. I can't believe how rude people are! Running and trampling over the kids, me, slamming doors in our faces as we try to walk thru w/ a stroller, etc. NYC wasn't like this when I lived here in the '90's. I don't know how parents do this . . . !"


Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Ryan. sorry to hear it's happening in Philly, which has always been a poor man's town, in my memory. you'd be amazed how often i hear "it's happening in Toronto, it's happening in San Francisco, it's happening in __________." apparently, it's taking over the entire Western world.

sr said...

never heard of the folsom fair. is it this cheesy leather thing from the meat-pack? has it moved?? anyway, theres something very trailer trash about it. maybe its the big fat slobs who are naked? i mean this IS new york, right? (not some gay motor cycle gang in tennessee). shame on new york, where are the beautiful boys?