*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?
Pleasure Chest 1972
Men in Leather
Lenny & Leather