Monday, January 09, 2006


Gradually over the past few years, I've managed to extricate myself from the ho ho holidays' major buzz kill elements; my deranged family and the potlatch/consumer consumption orgy of proscribed gift giving This deliverance has freed me to better focus on warmth and merriment.

This past holiday season was an especially pleasant one for me. I loaded up the sleek black leopard (which guzzles costly premium fuel, but sails effortlessly down the highway in exchange) and wandered the northeast corridor, spending only two days in Philadelphia between December23rd and January 3rd.

My Christmas destination found me amongst convivial company, treated to heartfelt hospitality and well watered and grazed by the most generous of hosts. I hardly broke anything. Reflections on the year past and anticipations of an even better one ahead were shared, and friendships strengthened. Good gifts.

Part two of my week (or so) off was just as much fun, though in a completely different way. A dear friend went to Florida, leaving me the keys to his upper east side apartment. I met my primary hangout buddy at Nowhere in the east village for Wednesday's Runt Nite, talking him in the last few blocks by cell phone "now look for a short man under a black awning, waving to you." Good beer and good music and a room full of vaguely alt, Brooklyn-y queers, mostly boys but girls too. We looked out onto a sea of FACES , rather than the necks and shoulder blades to which we're accustomed. I could touch the ceiling.

Jackson heights is all of 13 minutes and 44 seconds from Midtown, and has the energy and vitality of a 1950's film version of the Lower East Side, by way of Bollywood. I spent Friday there, hanging out in the vibrant colorful diverse neighborhood with a couple recently relocated to their own pre war 2br co-op with a Manhattan view.

The two crowded clamorous blocks from the station were lined with produce markets overflowing with vivid fruits and mysterious vegetables,
a rainbow of sari merchants, and jewelers showing insanely elaborate gold filigree and gem ornaments under dazzling white halogen lights.

Missed one out of town buddy, but collided with three others at The Dugout later that evening. I introduced them to The Phoenix, then we headed back west for a few beers at The Eagle. A hard bargain was hammered for street meat (the kind from a steel cart, silly) before cab rides home.

Saturday brought wandering, the fruitless quest for an off the rack sport coat which will fit both my chest and shoulders(one size is always too small, the next too big, and I'm particular anyway). Met T and C on the upper west side, and cabbed to meet friends of theirs for a dinner of spirited conversation and unremarkable Greek cuisine.

Then to Nowhere again to witness the calendar change with T and C. and the previous night's companions. Fun was had and Re acquaintances were made to a score of disco classics; champagne for everyone! A nightcap at Phoenix, and off to bed.
The evening of January 1st. started at The Dugout with T and C, Super Daddy and a roomful of furry friendly men, and ended at The Eagle, with me being flattered and charmed by Mark and Tim's attention.
Monday was spent wandering, and Tuesday I packed up the car and headed back to Philly.

All and all one of the best holidays I can recall, capping one of the better years I can remember. Thanks to all the friends, new and old, who made it so special.
Who Links Here