Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Pride for the Ages

Deadlines have kept me away from the blog over the last couple of days, but LGBT New Yorkers certainly had a lot to celebrate over this year's Pride weekend.

Here are two clips from Sunday, June 26, that capture the moment far better than simple words can.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fire Island 2011: Fire Islanders celebrate marriage equality

Began writing at 10:21 p.m. while sitting on my desk in Brooklyn.

The happiness over last night's historic marriage equality vote in Albany was palpable on Fire Island today. Those who attended Porsche's show at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove last night began to cry when they learned the state Senate passed the measure in a 33-29 vote. A large banner reading "Thank you, New York. We do!" hung from the High Tea deck in Fire Island Pines, and state flags flew at Low Tea. Drag queens, cross-dressers, couples and almost anyone else who marched in the Grove's annual Pride parade earlier today rejoiced in the fact that marriage equality will soon come to Fire Island and the rest of New York.

Congratulations to gay and lesbian Fire Islanders who will soon be able to legally marry in the Empire State.

At the Grove's annual Pride parade.

A tranquil day at the beach in the Grove.

Happy Pride from the Grove!

A potential sign of things to come in the Pines.

Friday, June 24, 2011

State Senate passes marriage equality bill

The state Senate earlier tonight approved a marriage equality bill by a 33-29 margin. The measure will become law 30 days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video: Scott Stringer Urges State Lawmakers to Pass Marriage Equality Bill

Speaking at the LGBT Community Center earlier tonight, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer once again urged state lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Video: Christine Quinn predicts marriage equality vote will happen later this week

Speaking at the LGBT Community Center's annual Garden Party at Pier 54 in Manhattan earlier tonight, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she expects the state Senate will vote on the marriage equality bill on Wednesday, June 22, or Thursday, June 23.

Marriage equality activists are also planning to rally at noon on Tuesday, June 21, in Albany.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fire Island 2011: Discount shopping and yet more drag queens

Started writing by the pool at the Grove Hotel in Cherry Grove at 1:38 p.m. on Sunday, June 19.

This weekend’s ambitious agenda included deeply discounted shopping in Fire Island Pines and purchasing the perfect third-hand Invasion frock at the Ice Palace in the Grove, attending Miracle House’s annual Pines fundraiser and Women’s Pride in the Pines at Sip n’ Twirl, covering Porsche’s 10th anniversary show at the Ice Palace and watching a spectacular sunset from the Grove’s dock. Summer has certainly arrived in all its splendid glory!

The last two days have also once again reminded me that there are some truly incredible and amazing people who live, work and certainly play on Fire Island. I remain honored to have the opportunity to share their stories.

Here are three votes and observations from the previous weekend.
1) Grove definitely has a unique way of dealing with idiots and those who become idiots while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
2) Avión may love it hard, but aerial advertisements above the beach certainly do not arouse those who loathe them.
3) The Grove is arguably the only place on earth where one can buy a dress for $10. Accessories and even shoes are sometimes included!

You know it's summer when the Fire Island Ferries parking lot is full by 10 a.m.!

Shopping on Saturdays at Whyte Hall in the Pines.

A bulletin board along Bay View Walk in the Grove.

From atop the roof deck at 548 Beachcomber Walk in the Pines.

The sunset from the Grove dock on Saturday, June 18.

This shopper was busy perusing the racks at the Drag Tag Sale at the Ice Palace in the Grove on Sunday, June 19.

A dress and accessories in a bag!

Video: A Pines panorama

This panorama shot from the roof deck of 548 Beachcomber Walk in Fire Island Pines on Saturday, June 18, is among the myriad of reasons that I return to the beach each summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weiner resigns

Amid shouts from hecklers, embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner just announced his resignation at a Brooklyn senior center.

"I had hoped to be able to continue the work the citizens of my district had elected to do," he said. "Unfortunately, the distraction that I had created had made that impossible."

The once probable 2013 mayoral candidate represented New York's Ninth Congressional District, which includes portions of Queens and Brooklyn.

Reports: Anthony Weiner to Resign

The other shoe appears ready to drop.

Media outlets have begun to report that embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner will resign. The New York Times reported earlier this morning that Weiner made the decision after he spoke with his wife, Huma Abedin, after she returned to the country after a trip with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. WCBS is reporting that Weiner will announce his resignation at a press conference somewhere in the metropolitan area this afternoon.

Weinergate has clearly become a distraction to Democrats who have their eyes squarely set on the 2012 elections. Weiner's resignation will obviously come as a relief to those on Capitol Hill who clearly want to put this sad spectacle behind them.

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 13, 2011


Boricua pride was on full display in Bushwick and throughout the five boroughs on Sunday, June 12, as roughly two million Nuyoricans turned out for the 54th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

At the same time revelers lined Fifth Avenue, more than 22,000 people lined the streets of Boquerón for the city’s ninth annual gay Pride parade. As I have previously reported on the EDGE Media Network, this year’s festivities come less than a week after three LGBT Puerto Ricans were found dead. Eighteen LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered over the last year and a half.

Below is a clip from el Nuevo Día of Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force speaking in Boquerón yesterday afternoon. “Enough hate, enough homophobia,” he said. “We are Puerto Ricans.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fire Island 2011, part 7

Started writing at 8:48 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, while waiting for a Babylon-bound train at the Bay Shore train station.

A fine mist has once again begun to fall. And while the weather on Fire Island was certainly less than ideal today, it was still good to be on the beach after a particularly tumultuous week.

Today's agenda included attending a memorial service in Fire Island Pines and interviewing two long-time Cherry Grove residents about the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of what became known as AIDS. I went inside the Woodhull School in Corneille Estates for the first time. And I even became an Ocean Beach scofflaw by eating a handful of pistachios on a public walk outside the village's commercial district.

Here are three notes and observations from the previous day.
1) I had never interviewed anyone while wearing only my underwear until I sat down with two lesbians in the Grove earlier this afternoon. My jeans became wet after I walked to their house during a downpour, and they were in the dryer during our interview.
2) Perhaps Congressman Anthony Weiner will seek refuge on Fire Island during his leave of absence from the House.
3) Inside voices should apply to any place where other people are not interested in hearing about someone else's cocktail ring or quirky parents. The loud woman on the 8:05 p.m. ferry to Bay Shore should take particular note.

The Land of No means business!

A Fire Island school bus parked outside the Woodhull School.

Roses outside Cielo E Mar in Cherry Grove.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Have Democrats thrown Weiner under the bus?

Have Democrats thrown Anthony Weiner under the bus?

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine and Pennsylvania Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz are among the growing chorus of Weiner's colleagues who have called for his resignation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] made it clear to reporters on Tuesday that the congressman has few friends on Capitol Hill. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] has launched a formal ethics investigation into Weiner's antics.

Sending lewd and sexually explicit pictures to women over the Internet hardly qualifies as a high crime or misdemeanor, and stupidity alone is not an indictable offense. This sad spectacle, however, has obviously become a distraction to Democrats who have their eyes squarely set on the 2012 elections. This episode also proves once again that politicians generally lack a backbone or intestinal fortitude.

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Diana Reyna calls for marriage equality

City Councilmember Diana Reyna [D-Bushwick] was among the Latino elected officials, activists and clergy who spoke in support of marriage equality on the steps of City Hall earlier today.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly maintained nuptials for same-sex couples remains one of his top legislative priorities, but he has said he will not introduce a marriage equality measure until he is sure it has enough votes in the state Senate to pass. The current legislative session is scheduled to end on June 20.

The view from Jefferson Street

A hot and humid day is on tap here in Bushwick.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weiner: I Am Not Resigning

While Congressman Anthony Weiner does not represent Bushwick on Capitol Hill, one could not help but feel a bit sorry for the normally loquacious lawmaker when he confessed to reporters in Midtown this afternoon that he sent the now infamous lewd photo to a Seattle college student.

Weiner was scheduled to participate in an LGBT health care forum in Jackson Heights earlier this evening, but one can obviously assume he did not make it. The congressman maintained he will not resign, but today's revelations are almost certainly not the last shoes to drop in the ongoing Weinergate saga.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fire Island 2011, part 6

Started writing at 1:47 p.m. while sitting poolside at the Grove Hotel in Cherry Grove.

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here on Fire Island. I just had two “Margaritas from Hell” at a Fire Island Pines fundraiser for former Congressman Patrick Murphy [D-Pa.]’s Pennsylvania attorney general campaign, but it would be completely remiss of me not to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of a Centers for Disease Control report that detailed the first cases of what would later become known as AIDS.

I was born in Aug. 1981, and that makes me a member of the so-called AIDS generation. I have never lived in an era without AIDS. I have never lost a partner, a relative or a parent to the virus. I have never had to attend the funerals of dozens (or more) friends and acquaintances who succumbed to AIDS. As I write this blog by the pool on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, however, there are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to live with and battle the virus. There are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to mourn those who are no longer with us. And more ominously, there are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to act as though AIDS never happened.

As a journalist who reports on the Grove and the Pines, I have become acutely aware of the epidemic’s devastating toll. The virus claimed an untold number of Fire Islanders whose names I may never know. We have a collective obligation, however, to remember them on this sad milestone. We have the same collective responsibility to acknowledge those on this beach and elsewhere who continue to mourn their loss.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The view from Jefferson Street

The storms that passed near the city earlier today thankfully did not produce tornadoes like those that tore through Brooklyn last September, but they did leave a beautiful sunset in their wake.

I took these two pictures from my bedroom window shortly before 8 p.m. The second picture is a bit crooked because I was simultaneously on the phone with my parents in southern New Hampshire. The cells that spawned tornadoes in Massachusetts earlier today passed roughly 35 miles south of their home. They are fine.

Two idiots grab a slice

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former possible 2012 presidential candidate Donald Trump grabbed a slice at Famous Famiglia on West 50th Street and Broadway on Tuesday, May 31.

Did the "New York pizza summit" accomplish anything more than snarl rush hour traffic and give the former vice presidential nominee and the Donald even more column inches? Arguably not; but the days when Trump's presidential delusions actually trumped Palin, and her tweets, out of the headlines seem a mere memory.