Monday, June 18, 2012

Folsom Fights On

After getting opposition from the newly arrived condo people, and agreeing to take measures to protect their delicate sensibilities, this weekend's Folsom Street East festival was a big success, with one of the largest crowds I've ever seen in attendance.

click here for more Folsom photos

Packed extra tight into a street narrowed by massive construction plywood, bodies pushed and jostled in the beer-soaked scrum, but the energy was joyful. It felt like everyone was keyed up in defiance of the recent anti-Folsom sentiment.

Some of that sentiment was expressed by anti-sex, anti-gay Christians waving a banner on the High Line that said "Jesus Saves from Hell."

Down below, a kinky couple held up their own sign in response, saying only "LOVE."

There never used to be Christian protesters here--but now the High Line is bringing the mainstream in to what was once a relatively protected, unknown piece of New York City. Folsom is suddenly very visible.

Up above, groups of High Line tourists crammed the stairwell (many more than last year), staring down and taking pictures of the scene below, some of them smiling, but most of them looking very serious. They were not amused, but couldn't look away.

When one of the event organizers took the stage, he psyched up the revelers, shouting into the microphone, "Some people are saying we are inappropriate...but New York City is not a sanitized place to go mall-shopping with your children!"

He waved to the gawking High Line tourists and thanked the Folsom crowd for "coming out on the streets of New York City, in the daylight, and saying: We are here, we are queer, we are straight, we are kinky--we're gonna be here as long as you are, so put down your 50 Shades of Gray and get your fuck on!"

And they did get their fuck on. While the +Art condo dwellers were given a barricaded corridor for entering and exiting their building, the spankings and whippings went on just as they do every year. The leathermen and women continued to pour in and out of the Eagle. Adults of all ages strutted their stuff without shame. It felt like "New York Fucking City" for once, after all.

Of course, next year will be another story. Current complaints are coming from the +Art condo building, the only condo on West 28th. It brought 91 residential units to a block that used to have practically zero. But soon those 91 won't be alone here anymore. The massive Avalon West Chelsea is rising fast, bringing another 700 units. And a third giant tower at the eastern end of the block will bring an additional 312 units.

That's going to be a lot of new whiners and complainers.

Folsom East and The Eagle
Folsom East Responds
Folsom Under High Line
Eagle Under Siege

See all my Folsom East photos here


Anonymous said...

I am glad everyone had a good time. These people are survivors.

JAZ said...

Congrats to everyone who participated - and thank you. I feel like in light of all the damage the forced re-shaping of the city's culture and demographics has done, this particular battle is extremely important in attempting to prevent the avalanche from whitewashing the town completely. Nothing caretaker Bloomy and the administration would love more than to face no resistance in Chelsea, and this is one of those rare occasions where a line in the sand was drawn, and the mallification boulder was pushed back.

Like Mingusal said in the previous Folsom comment section, why can't there be parts of the city that aren't family friendly and G rated? The next good answer I hear to this question will be the first.

Filmatix said...

WTF! Jeremiah, the second you mentioned the "Christian" (aka Christian Fascist) protestors, my blood started boiling. You see fuckers like this so rarely--even staunchly religious NY Christians have had too much civic pride to go and try to shame their fellow NY'ers (correct me if I'm wrong). What a disgrace, and congrats to Bloomberg for the city he hath wrought.

On a positive note, bless the Folsom attendees and supporters, and the rest of our LGBT friends. Keep it real. Why not at least a weekly outing in skimpy gear this summer? Keep the tourists and the touristy condo-buyers inside in their own uptight, lace-curtain prison.

marjorie said...

For whatever it's worth, I was on the High Line yesterday with my daughters (7 and 10) and family members -- including a toddler -- visiting from CA. All of us (except the kids) have lived in SF. When we saw the Jesus Saves guy, my 10-year-old asked what he was doing. I said, "There are gay people having a party down there, and this guy wants everyone to know that he thinks gay people are bad and everybody should be straight." The 7-year-old said, "That's stupid" and the 10-year-old rolled her eyes (in training for teenagerdom) and the 2-year-old ignored him -- all of which are fine responses. These are kids with gay uncles, kids who have a far more diverse and world-view-expanding experience of childhood and school than we who grew up outside of NYC did. Not all families here want to stamp out the quirk and individualism of the city.

Yuppers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thwany said...

Looks like a good time to me,

Nathan said...

I did not make it to this year's Folsom, but I am glad that it was a success.

I can understand both sides of this debate to a degree. The high line becoming a major attraction, and the general gentrifying of Chelsea create challenges like this. In a way, it is kind of ironic that the gays moving into the relatively dangerous area of Chelsea many years ago and slowly cleaning it up is ultimately leading to the same being kicked out as straight families move in, and it is happening around the country (and probably world).

That all said, I too am bothered by the Disneyfication™ of New York. Even as a relatively newer New Yorker, I miss a little grittiness to the city.

I'll just ask the same thing that the late Rodney King asked. "Can't we all just get along?"

MickeyMouse said...

Ahahaha I'm gonna be famous =PPP

I'm the guy holding the LOVE sign. The psycho Christians drive me just as crazy as we do them. They clearly never read the Book. And honestly, who has the time and energy to waste and ruin their entire day trying to hate on people? Especially in NYC!

I think they had the exact opposite effect - their stupidity only fired up our passions even more.

I had an **amazing** time yesterday as a volunteer - the crowd looks burly and perhaps intimidating... but when you see a leather-daddy smile, you can start to see what great people we are! Honestly, some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I didn't hear a single complaint, and everybody was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Definitely nicer people than the ones staring at us like a freak show and trying to tell us how to live our lives.

This was my 3rd year volunteering... my boyfriend and I met as volunteers last year - and we celebrate our 1 year anniversary tomorrow the 19th of June! We did the pie eating contest together yesterday =D

If you have any doubts, please, PLEASE come check out the fair! We honestly are great people!

Andrew L. said...

Thanks, Marjorie, for your common sense. I'm a former NYC parent (now in SF) who agrees with you, as do pretty much all the other NYC parents (quite a few) I know well. I think some people are using "the chillllldren") as an unfortunate red herring. Families are not the problem here.

esquared™ said...

Will somebody please think of the children?

Claribel said...

The Folsom festival is ironically podunk in today’s NYC in the sense that it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is and so is authentic and has integrity. It’s run by a nonprofit supported by volunteers, with the proceeds going to good causes. And it’s a cliquish but welcoming community celebrating their lifestyle choice, while not imposing it on anyone else. It was the High Line that brought the gawking and the anti-Folsom new residents could learn a thing or two unless they actually plan on teaching intolerance to their kids. But instead of being the major metropolitan and cosmopolitan destination for anyone to get lost in and find extended family, the city is now for sale at a luxury price and the anti-Folsom residents who can afford to pay are buying the NYC brand in order to delude themselves into believing that they’re sophisticated and not mainstream at all. It’s kind of sad, really.

But Folsom too is thinking too small. If they gave all of their funds to the High Line and got corporate sponsorship from the Standard Hotel, sold t-shirts, had artisanal fetish food trucks, and could justify how their festival increases sales at the local boutique shops and mega chains in the neighborhood today, then they’d have a more permanent footing in Chelsea and could cash in like everyone else is doing. In other words, they should sell out and need to rebrand because they need the right stamp of approval and the herd will follow (being cynical here, of course).

And I agree with Marjorie and Andrew. Congrats to Folsom on another year and wishing you many more! All you need is love. Duh.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

I'm so glad I went. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, I wish the rest of the city would take a page from the Folsom folks and be as expressive, tolerant and FUN.

marjorie said...

Tangentially now...I'm thinking about the Christian protesters and reflecting that most important Christian in the world right now is Stephen Colbert. He is a religious, devout person who knows scripture backwards and forwards and can go head-to-head with any fuckwit hater who uses theology to justify intolerance and bias. He's like a perfect cultural counterpoint to the awfulness so often associated with people of faith.

Jeremiah Moss said...

it was definitely weird to see the Christians there. the only place i ever saw them in NYC was in Times Square, back when there was sex in Times Square. but this made me think: where are we, Oklahoma?

and i also agree there are plenty of parents who teach their children to be open and accepting of diversity. we just don't often hear from them these days.

Jeremiah Moss said...

so, thank you Marjorie for being a cool parent with your kids. i wish i had grown up witnessing sexual diversity. i might be better off today.

Katrink said...

I don't see why Folsom is any more objectionable than Santacon or No Pants Subway ride, for chrissake. At least this is an organized event that charges admission and is not imposed on defenseless New Yorkers who are trying to mind their own business, like the aforementioned idiocies are.

Anonymous said...

With the economy in the basement, who is buying all the condos that are being thrown up? Wait until Ground Zero is finished; it will be the mother lode of theme parks! They will come from all over for a slice of WTC pizza, a T-shirt, a souvenir.

laura said...

1)in the beginning i wish "J" had posted a page of the condos web-sight. i had no idea they were using chelsea's rep as a sales pitch. that being said, the owners paid their $ & took their chances. unless they were lied too. i would love to also see a photo of that glass plate engraving which says "transgender". post it, its priceless. lets move on: 2) whats up w/the partition they built for the owners to be shielded from the fair? i think thats ok, why is that a problem for people? its called free choice. either look, dont look, & dont be "forced" to look. its democratic. 3 choices. dont forget JMVN regulars, demoncracy means options for ALL. as for the christian demonstrators, no ones forcing them to stand on the highline. they have a choice, & that is to turn the other way & walk.

Anonymous said...

MickeyMouse, I LOVE this photo of you with the sign - its message, and the smile on your face, are the perfect antidotes to the hatred and ignorance of such people. Reminds me of the time I participated in a counter-protest against the Westboro Baptist Church - across the street from their "God Hates Fags" posters were myself and about a hundred other folks, singing, laughing and showing support for the folks that WBC was there to offend. It was love vs. hate, divided by a street - much like the message of acceptance that Folsom promotes. I love you all for participating, and also helping to keep NYC's character intact. I wish I could have been there to cheer you all on!

John 3:16 said...

They should have pulled a Bruno and have a pretend Christian protester come down from the Highline to confront one of the revelers. They then have a face-to-face heated argument where they start ripping each other clothes off and then start making out. That'll show those bible and Fifty Shades of Gray thumpers.

When down in the mouth, remember Jonah, he came out all right.

Bart said...

I went to Folsom for the first time this year and honestly while I appreciated the sentiment and that it went to good causes, it was just way too crowded. It made the protests seem all the more ridiculous, since it was too crowded for me to see anything but the back of the guy's head in front of me. It took forever to get from 10th Ave to 11th Ave and it was too packed for me to get a good look at the booths (esp. since most of them were on the south side and people were walking from 10th to 11th on the north side) so my boyfriend and I just walked out. I hope they can extend it passed 11th Ave next year (there was no traffic around there!) or just find a bigger area.

laura said...

"J" i wonder what was going in the 1950s 1960s 1970s w/christopher street. there were families who lived near by (w/in 1/2 block of the non stop gay lifestyle, leather & otherwize). bedsides free thinkers, the village had a large italian population. i wonder what they told the children? that leather scene has been going on for decades. as i recall there was a small street called weehaken pl. one thing for sure, as i always said: those days people knew their place. no one was THAT interested to look @ these things. tourists would go to washington square on weekends, walk thru see the beatniks or the men w/boyfriends. other than that location everything was separate. everyone had their privacy. if a family was really conservative, they would not move where the word "transsexual" was engraved. those days we didnt have these words. the word would have been "homosexual". i went to fire island when i was around 10 yrs old w/my parents, cherry grove or pines. they decided against renting a house there. way over the top for them. those days if you told a child too much they had no idea what you even meant.

laura said...

wait a minute. i thought i read in one of the comments, that the fair was only FIVE hours. people are demonstrating for that short space of time? even if it i one day, so what? i am not clear. how long does this gay sex fair last? & gee, if i was a a gay man wearing s&m underwear, i would feel violated. id say..."mind your own straight business" !!! i guess nothings sacred anymore.

Crazy Eddie said...

Jeremiah, was there an ass eating contest this year? Please say yes. Inquiring minds want to know.

MickeyMouse said...

Eddie - sure there was. I was in it :-)

Crazy Eddie said...

@MickeyMouse-Thanks. I hope the rubes on the High Line got a good look.