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NEW YORK -- Anytime you go to New York City, there never seems to be enough time to do everything you want to do or see all the people you intend to see.
This trip was particularly hectic because the GT team was helping to promote the first-ever Gay Travel Guru search.
NYC was the second city – after San Diego - where we held launch parties to find Guru applicants. Whomever is chosen to become the Gay Travel Guru will get paid $30,000 to travel around North America for six months, plus all expenses paid. It’s a dream gig, and New York City did not disappoint when we came looking for candidates.
The suite life
While in NYC, we stayed at the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street.
More than a hotel, the Algonquin in an important part of the city’s history. The location of the Algonquin Round Table, famous writers including Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Robert E. Sherwood would lunch here on a regular basis.
Some of these writers contributed to Vanity Fair. So it was fitting, and an amazing opportunity to stay in the Vanity Fair suite.
Covers of past issues were the perfect accent to the heavenly king bed and other comforts that were offered. At first I was puzzled by the stuffed animal sitting near the couch. I asked the reservation manager about the cat. He told me her name was Matilda. She was a toy replica of the real Matilda, the Algonquin’s “resident feline” that roams the lobby. Not only are there stuffed animals made in her likeness, she also has business cards and an e-mail address.
Most of the accommodations and amenities at the hotel are top notch. They could use a bigger gym. They have the essential equipment but a bigger space would be great.
A 10-minute cab ride later, we were in Chelsea, New York’s most prominent gayborhood.
We met friends at Cafeteria. Open 24 hours a day, Cafeteria is a great place to grab a drink or a great meal. From seared yellow fin tuna to chicken and waffles, there’s something for every taste. Most of the waiters and patrons are gay, so it’s also a great place to check out the Chelsea boys.
Next came G Lounge. I remember going there years ago, but I forgot how crowded it is. It’s a popular spot that offers great drinks, hot dancers and dance music, but it’s a small venue. If you’re looking for a quiet place to catch up with friends, this isn’t it.
On Thursday, after window shopping on Fifth Avenue and strolling through Central Park, it was time to head to our first launch party at Splash. We got there around 7, so the crowd wasn’t that big, but it gets busier later in the evening.
For the amount of people that were there, we got a great selection of applicants for our Gay Travel Guru job search. Many of the applicants had blogs, were published writers or were well-connected in the New York City gay scene.
“Today” wasn’t our day
We only stayed at Splash until about 10, because Friday was an early day.
At about 3 in the morning, we grabbed our “Get Paid To Sleep Around” banner and headed to Rockefeller Center for a chance to be seen on “The Today Show.”
For anyone planning on doing this, don’t get there at 3! Nobody shows up until 5:30. Luckily, three older ladies from Long Island kept us company in line. They saw our gaytravel.com banner and promptly showed us photos they had taken with a drag queen after seeing “La Cage Aux Folles.”
We got through the barrier to get on “The Today Show,” but didn’t get much air time. The camera crews avoided us at every turn, but we did sneak our way on air in back of a cooking segment in the last hour.
From the mixed results of “The Today Show,” it was time to rest up for our second launch party at Boxers NYC.
For only being open for a week, the sports bar seems to already be a popular spot with locals and out-of-towners like us.
Needless to say, New York City was a crucial stop on our Guru launch junket. The applicants here were sophisticated, social media savvy and well-connected. With so much to experience, the second you leave you start thinking about what you’ll do when you come back!
Our next stop, Chicago! We’ll be living it up in Boystown and I’m sure will have some interesting stories to tell. Hopefully, we’ll have such a good time that we’ll have to omit some of the less family-friendly details.