Melissa Etheridge, rock goddess
Henrietta’s bar: My friend Alan Cumming and the guys always want to go to girls bars, and I have to say, “You don’t understand. I’m Elvis in a girls bar.” But once we went to Henrietta’s and there was a band covering my songs, so I got up and sang. I remember some guy complaining loudly about the cover charge. He was like, “Five dollars! Who’s playing?” Then he shut up when he saw it was me.
Bob Mould, punk-rock legend, whose new record is Modulate
Rawhide. In the age of the pleather bar, it’s nice that there’s still a place like Rawhide. Once a guy was go-go dancing on the bar and he took a call on his cell phone! I loved that. Plus, they have Ms. Pac-Man.
Lea Delaria, Broadway sensation
The way gay people in New York eschew the constant need to be gay. Difficult carrying that rainbow flag when you’re just trying to make rent. Gaystraightbiblackwhitebrownwhatever. We all party together. Bonus points for me, as I adore cheap sex with straight chicks.
Murray Moss, owner of Moss, SoHo
The anti-folk duo Testosterone Kills. Because they describe themselves as “what Simon & Garfunkel might have been if they fucked each other and grew up on Nirvana and techno and had day jobs at Moss” – which they do.
Kimberly Peirce, director of Boys Don’t Cry
Meow Mix. I know Brooke, and I just think it’s amazing that with all the zoning laws and everything, she’s been able to keep it going. It’s so hard to keep a lesbian bar open in the city.
Michael Musto, Village Voice columnist
“Beige,” Tuesday nights at B Bar & Grill – still the best party at which to either meet the gay mafia or become a member.
Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America
That old standby lesbian bar Cubby Hole, where I can see everyone from my ex–high-school coach to my interns.
The children’s department at Barneys. Given the crowd that’s usually there when I visit, there might as well be a special sign: gay parents only.
John Bartlett, menswear designer
Radical Faerie drumming circles – yes, you can find them even in New York. Sweaty, pagan bear cubs thumping to their own beat. Body hair aplenty.
Black leather jeans from the Leather Man, my personal favorite New York designer. Discover the new meaning of an inseam fitting as you get them hand-tailored to order.
George Wayne, resident goddess at Vanity Fair
Moby’s not gay, but it’s hard to imagine gay music – or the city’s music scene in general – without him. To me, Moby epitomizes the Gotham post-millennial downtown sensibility – he is not only one of the most influential arbiters of pop culture but also one of the realest, coolest, sweetest downtown denizens. If Warhol were still with us, he would have been cozying up to Moby as his new best friend.
Tom Fontana, creator of HBO’s Oz
My gay friends David and Brian – because their marriage has lasted longer than mine did.
Larry Tee, promoter
Electroclash – perhaps the largest musical movement in gay history. Drag king Murray Hill. Her party with Le Tigre and a hundred drag kings was the most exciting event I went to last year. These dykes party hard! Brooklyn gays – they dress better in Brooklyn.
Sir Ian McKellen, the gay knight
Being in New York can be like being in a bewildering Woody Allen movie, but I love it for Joe’s Pub, where the liveliest acts (Lea DeLaria et al.) give out to a discerning crowd – and you can smoke there.
Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and the upcoming We Disappear
Other Music. The best CD-record shop in NYC, and the score of mopey nerd boys are always an added attraction.
Saints. A hideaway bar at 109th and Amsterdam – a nice long distance from Chelsea.
Kate Clinton, comedian
The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center Garden Party – and not just for the name. It kicks off Gay Pride Week, and it’s filled with power dykes, overpectoralized Cornish gay men, and gay politicos. This year, I’m emceeing and wearing donated Marc Jacobs.
Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director
Out of Our Closet, a consignment shop in Chelsea. Where else can the director of a nonprofit get a Versace suit for $200?
Murray Hill, king of drag kings
The way no matter what chichi gay hangout I stumble into, people never fail to greet me with a “Hiya doin’, Murray. Let me get you a Rheingold.”
Jill Sobule, singer-songwriter
People-watching on my block in Williamsburg: gay, artist, or rock musician?
Toys in Babeland – a great place to see or buy a Hello Kitty vibrator.
Brian Keith Jackson, whose new book is The Queen of Harlem
The Harlem Fairway: an excellent place to get your uptown flirt on. No matter what anyone tells you, freshness counts.
Margarita Lopez, councilwoman
Ray’s Newsstand on Avenue A between East 7th Street and St. Marks, for their chocolate malteds. Every time I come home from work late, I have to pick one up for my partner.
Jane Pratt, editor of Jane
My favorite intersection in the city – Bleecker Street at West 11th. Where, especially on a weekend afternoon, the cutest guys shop at Marc Jacobs and eat cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery.
Jackie Collins, whose latest book, Deadly Embrace, is out in June
Going to a bar with gay friends to watch Queer as Folk, and everyone fighting over Brian!
Michael Musto. Nobody bitches as well as Michael!
Frank DeCaro, “Out at the Movies” critic for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
The Old Chelsea Post Office: Because my postman has Divine tattooed on his leg. Because you never know who you might meet while you’re waiting to Express Mail. Because if nobody cruises you, Taylor’s is right across the street so you can get a big cookie instead.
Alan Cumming, actor-writer-director
My friend Carmine. I met him when I was doing Cabaret and he was working security at Studio 54. He’s from the Bronx and he’s Italian, and I’d take him somewhere gay and I’d think, You know, Carmine, he might not like this – and he’d know all the drag queens there. I love how he so lacks prejudice of any kind about sexuality. He represents to me a really great spirit of New York, about accepting differences. He’s straight as a die. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Ann Northrop, co-host of Gay USA on Channel 35
Cruising gorgeous elegant women on the Upper East Side. (Now, if only I could figure out how to actually meet them.)
Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine
Going to “Earth” at Exit II at 10 a.m. on Sunday to dance to Junior Vasquez’s remixes of Angie Stone and Jill Scott.
Homothugs: Only in New York can you see a Cadillac Escalade rolling down 125th Street filled with thugged-out young black and Latino gay men blasting Jay-Z or Mary J. Blige! Holla! Safety in numbers: There are so many powerful, talented, successful, and creative gay people in New York City. It’s inspiring and empowering!