Thursday, December 30, 2010


Started writing at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28, while on Amtrak train 175 as it passed through Rahway, N.J., en route to Washington, D.C.

Spending the last Tuesday night of 2010 on an Amtrak train is not exactly what I had originally planned, but the blizzard that paralyzed travel in the Northeast over the past weekend quickly dictated otherwise.

The previous year brought me to Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Rehoboth Beach, Miami and Boston. I managed the Fire Island News for the third consecutive summer, but 2010 can best be described as a transformative year.

I wore a pair of 30” waist pants for the first time I can remember. I found out hours before I met my boyfriend Andrés at the Green Lantern in Washington, D.C., in early July that I would become an uncle for the first time. I turned 29 in August and I enjoyed fresh tomatoes from the garden through October.

I also learned bed bugs are no joke. I became a pescetarian in April. I had the privilege of meeting Myriam Mercado at City Hall in June. I learned why journalists should develop a very tough skin. I interviewed U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-N.Y.] for the second time. Storms can definitely spawn tornadoes in Brooklyn. The Chilean miners made me cry more than one. I attended my 10 year high school reunion last month in Manchester, N.H. I did not become a witch from Delaware in 2010. And the rent remains too damn high!

I am extremely fortunate for the people with whom I shared a portion of my life in 2010, but I would like to specifically acknowledge two of them in this end-of-the-year reflection. I thank Joe Rizzuto for renting me the apartment that has been my home in for the last six and a half years. And I thank Andrés for continuing to make me feel like the luckiest man in the world.

To a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowpocalypse spawns South Station chaos

I truly never thought I would see the day when a woman would threaten to pull a knife on someone at the South Station bus terminal, but this scene played itself out earlier this morning in front of the Fung Wah booth.

I am scheduled to take a 3:20 p.m. Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., this afternoon, but this snowpocalypse that has paralyzed travel along the Northeast coast has certainly worn out its welcome. Here are some parting shots of the storm from Boston yesterday afternoon as it finally began to pull away. And nobody threatened to stab me while I took these pictures and shot this clip!

Columbus Avenue in the South End around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27.

A sign of the season in downtown Boston.

Approaching Quincy Market.

Boston Harbor near Long Wharf.

Walking away from the Back Bay T station on the Southwest Corridor.

On the Southwest Corridor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowpocalypse from the South End

While the South End slowly begins to dig out, the blizzard that has buried Boston under more than a foot of snow continues to rage.

A storm surge flooded several towns along the Massachusetts coast earlier this morning--and a fire continues to rage through an oceanfront neighborhood in Scituate that remains under several feet of water. Paul and I just dug out his car along West Canton Street here in Boston. And we saw at least three people with shovels walking through the neighborhood. It will certainly prove a lucrative day for them!

West Canton Street in Boston's South End.

Slowly digging out...

West Canton Street in Boston's South End.

WCVB's coverage of the storm.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowpocalypse slams Boston

I will probably remain here in Boston through Tuesday morning, but the blizzard has certainly made its presence known.

Here are some video clips and pictures I shot a few hours ago in the South End and around the Prudential Center.

Snow obscures the Hancock Tower.

Huntington Avenue from a Prudential Center sky walk.

Snow obscures the Prudential Center tower.

No deliveries at Shaw's today.

Another snowpocalypse hits Northeast

The latest snowpocalypse that has already paralyzed travel throughout the Northeast has caused this writer to become something of a snow refugee in Boston's South End.

Meteorologists here in Boston have predicted the storm will dump nearly two feet of snow on the Hub by tomorrow afternoon. Eastern Massachusetts is also expected to experience storm force winds later tonight.

New Englanders are a particularly hardy breed, but the warm Starbucks in which I am currently typing this blog provides the perfect vantage point to capture the storm as it begins to barrel down on Boston. Here is a clip and three videos I shot about 30 minutes ago.

Leaving South Station after Fung Wah canceled their service to New York City.

Hanging out at Starbucks on the corner of Tremont and West Canton Streets in Boston's South End.

A winter wonderland outside Starbucks in the South End.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Politicians, activists blast proposed cuts to NYC’s homeless youth programs

More than half a dozen New York City Councilmembers joined activists and young people on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 21, to blast Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to programs that support homeless youth in the five boroughs.

City Councilmembers Lew Fidler [D-Brooklyn], Daniel Dromm [D-Queens], Letitia James [D-Brooklyn] and Jimmy Van Bramer [D-Queens] joined Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center, Dirk McCall of the Bronx Community Pride Center and others in lower Manhattan.

“The city knows, the Bloomberg administration knows that every night 3,800 young people are sleeping homeless on our streets—they know this because they released it in their own report,” stressed Siciliano. “The city knows, the Bloomberg administration knows that hundreds of kids have to survive by prostituting every night—they know because they released it in their own report this past June.”

Siciliano, whose organization offers housing and other support services to homeless LGBT youth, said Ali Forney’s clients are disproportionately at-risk for violence, HIV/AIDS and even suicide.

“The Bloomberg administration knows these kids are suffering, and yet they still decided to make these cuts,” he added. “I don’t know to describe this except to say that it shows a reckless indifference to the welfare of children.”

The temperature was in the mid-30s, and the wind chill was in the low-20s during the protest.

City Councilmember Lew Fidler [D-Brooklyn]

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm [D-Queens]

These activists sent Mayor Michael Bloomberg a strong message.

Nathaniel Vanderhorst was among the young people who protested the proposed cuts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Boy in Bushwick appears on Same Sex Sunday

Boy in Bushwick was among the guests who appeared on "Same Sex Sunday" on Sunday, Dec. 19, to discuss the LGBT-specific issues that garnered headlines in 2010.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Did POTUS impact the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal vote?

President Obama calls members of Congress from the Oval Office ahead of the U.S. Senate's vote to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" on Saturday, Dec. 18. [Photo by Pete Souza]

Was President Obama a decisive factor in the U.S. Senate’s vote to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” on Saturday, Dec. 18?

The White House released a photograph of the commander-in-chief calling members of Congress from the Oval Office ahead of the vote. The Senate voted 65-31 to repeal the Clinton-era policy. And the president plans to sign the bill into law later this week.

"As the president has long said, ending 'don't ask, don't tell,' and allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military, will strengthen our national security while upholding the basic equality on which this nation was founded,” said the White House in a statement released shortly after the vote. “The president looks forward to signing the bill into law."

Obama had faced growing criticism from LGBT activists over what they perceived as his failure to forcefully lobby for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Did his last minute lobbying make a difference? Were these efforts enough to placate skeptical progressives who could prove pivotal in a possible 2012 re-election campaign? Perhaps. At the end of the day, however, “don’t ask, don’t tell” will become history once Obama signs the bill into law.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A festive afternoon in the city

Yesterday's bitter cold temperatures did not stop Becky, Gloria and me from enjoying an overly festive afternoon at the Mandarin Oriental and the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Here are a few pictures and a clip that hopefully capture the season.

Inside the Time Warner Center lobby.

Central Park from the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental.

An obvious sign of the season.

Columbus Circle from the Mandarin Oriental.

Inside the Time Warner Center.

Inside the Time Warner Center.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Light snow coats New York City

A band of light snow that coated the city earlier tonight provided a particularly festive reminder of the season.

The flakes were falling when I left a holiday party on West 35th Street in Manhattan around 8 p.m. Shoppers seemed rather oblivious to the snow as they hurried into Macy's, but a small coating of snow had already accumulated on Jefferson Street when I left the subway around 9:15 p.m.

Here is a clip I shot from my bedroom window around 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boy in Bushwick appears on Same Sex Sunday

It's a stormy night here in Bushwick, but here's a link to the Same Sex Sunday segment on which I appeared alongside Tobias Barrington Wolfe of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, MetroWeekly reporter Chris Geidner, former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Crockett Elzie and David Hall of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to discuss "don't ask, don't tell" and California's Proposition 8.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Maggie Gallagher does Georgetown

It is entirely logical to describe Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage as pleasant in personal interactions, but her rhetoric strongly suggests an entirely different reality.

Gallagher and gay blogger Andrew Sullivan sparred last night at Georgetown University. She provided an abundance of sound bites about the need for a mother and a father to raise their child, the necessity to uphold the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and even LGBT teenager suicides. Gallagher, however, dodged this reporter’s question about how a same-sex couple’s marriage could possibly impact her own relationship with her husband.

“I don’t believe it is about me; it’s about my children,” she said.

If Maggie truly believes marriage equality has absolutely no impact on the relationship she has with her husband, she can surely provide a coherent explanation about why NOM continues to support efforts that seek to enshrine discrimination against loving and committed couples. Gays and lesbians (and everyone else for that matter) are certainly interested in her explanation.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Constitutionally protected activity" cannot justify Proposition 8

Those who continue to defend California's Proposition 8 apparently failed to read the Constitution before they delivered their oral arguments to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in San Francisco, but former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olsen provided a concise civics lesson.

"How can the fundamental right of marriage in California be taken away because of a constitutionally protected activity," said Olsen, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Lawrence vs. Texas decision that struck down the Lone Star State's sodomy laws.

In other words, homophobia alone cannot and should not justify discrimination against any person who wants to marry the person he or she loves.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

¡Bienvenidos a Miami!

Started to write around 9:25 a.m. as I drank coffee on the terrace of our room at Tempo Miami.

The cold reality of Washington, D.C., awaits Andrés and I this evening, but sitting on the terrace soaking up the strong South Florida is an obviously wonderful way to start this December morning.

It remains somewhat challenging to precisely define Miami’s scene, but the fist-pumping crowd at the Viceroy last night who appeared as though they could have been Snooki’s BFFs provided a fascinating glimpse into how this city’s revelers like to roll. Any vantage point along Ocean Drive, however, provides an instant front row seat to South Beach’s never-ending outdoor catwalk. And lunch al fresco on Lincoln Road simply goes without saying…

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It indeed gets better

Bizarre and surreal are two of the more appropriate ways to describe Manchester Memorial High School’s Class of 2000’s 10th year reunion at Jillian’s in the Queen City on Saturday, Nov. 27. The evening, however, proved far more meaningful than simply catching up with old classmates.

To put it bluntly; high school sucked. “Yellow teeth,” “open ass” and even “faggot” were three of the more common taunts to which I was regularly subjected. My weight also provided additional fodder to those who took it upon themselves to torment me. High school proved an isolating, depressing and even hopeless experience. And June 7, 2000,--graduation day--was nothing short of a personal emancipation.

Fast forward more than a decade: I am a proud gay man, I live and work in New York City, I have lost more than 80 lbs., people know, (largely) appreciate and (even respect) my work and I have a wonderful boyfriend. I struggle with insecurities and a sense of inadequacy to this day, but I continue to turn the page on those who tormented me (and the hometown I maintain largely incubated them.)

The rash of LGBT teenager suicides over the last few months have provided an all too tragic reminder that bullying remains a serious problem in this country. I could have very well become one of those statistics, but life happily dictated otherwise. It indeed gets better. And last night’s reunion provided some welcome closure.

After graduation on June 7, 2000.

With an MMHS classmate at Jillian's on Nov. 27, 2010.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Wednesday morning in Bushwick

On this Thanksgiving eve, here are four snapshots of Bushwick from earlier this morning.

From 322 Jefferson Street

Maria Hernandez Park

Playground in Maria Hernandez Park

Circo's on Knickerbocker Avenue

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another day, another headline for Sarah Palin, Inc.

My “does not care one iota about anything related to ‘Dancing with the Stars’” Facebook proclamation sparked four comments and nine likes, but what is this expression of e-love's broader takeaway?

As last week’s post on Willow Palin’s homophobic rant on Facebook categorically proved, anything remotely related to the former Alaska governor and her family sparks immediate reaction—and a lot of blog traffic. The buzz around whether Tea Party supporters have rigged “Dancing with the Stars” to make sure Bristol Palin wins continues, but mama grizzly herself made headlines yesterday when she told Sean Hannity she would not sit down for another interview with Katie Couric.

"I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism," said Sarah Palin, as reported by the Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner. "And I have a communications degree. I studied journalism -- who, what, where, when, and why of reporting. I will speak to reporters who still understand that cornerstone of our democracy, that expectation that the public has for truth to be reported. And then we get to decide our own opinion based on the facts reported to us. So a journalist, a reporter who is so biased and will, no doubt, spin and gin up whatever it is that I have to say to create controversy, I swear to you, I will not my waste my time with her. Or him."

Just another day—with an all too predictable headline and blog post—courtesy of the well-greased machine Sarah Palin, Inc., has become. Journalists, bloggers and anyone else who cares should obviously take note!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homophobic Palin family values

Willow Palin apparently has a homophobia problem of her own.

The teenager called a critic of her mother’s new reality show a “faggot” in a Facebook exchange TMZ posted late on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Bristol Palin, who is a finalist on “Dancing with the Stars,” also chimed in.

“No you just run your mouth just so you’ll get a reaction,” wrote the teen activist. “You’re a typical shit talker. Talking shit cause you have nothing else going for you. Just like you pretended you didn’t know what Dancing with the Stars was.”

What does Mama Grizzly Palin herself have to say about her two cubs' antics? Perhaps the world will find out once she has finished promoting her new reality show, declared herself a presidential candidate, left Christine O'Donnell's coven and even proclaimed she can see Mars from the Eastern Aleutians. Just a thought...

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Indian summer grows in Brooklyn

This past weekend in New York City felt more May than mid-November.

I spent Saturday afternoon perusing the Middle Eastern food stores along Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn—Moroccan and Egyptian olives, bay leaves, dried apricots and cranberries and falafel for lunch were among the items in my shopping bag. And a wedding reception at the River Café, which is directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, provided some unexpected entertainment for those who were waiting for a Lower Manhattan-bound water taxi.

Here are some of snapshots from the beautiful day.

Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn's Pier 6.

From Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Revelers dance at the River Café under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Lower Manhattan from Fulton Landing.

Fulton Landing under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

RIP Jorge Steven

Today marks the first anniversary of the brutal murder of gay Puerto Rican teenager Jorge Steven López Mercado.

Juan José Martínez Matos stabbed López to death on Nov. 13, 2009, before he dumped the teenager’s decapitated, dismembered and partially burned body along a remote roadside near Cayey.

López’s mother, Myriam Mercado, told me in June “with a crime so atrocious, it is important people unite in their pain.” Her strength—and especially the unconditional love she continues to show for her son—remain an inspiration to everyone who has met her over the last year. It must be said, however, 12 LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered since López’s brutal death.

Recent events in New York City and around the country prove anti-LGBT hate crimes remain a serious problem. And on this grim anniversary, it remains imperative that everyone step up and say enough is enough.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LGBT Community Center hosts “don’t ask, don’t tell” panel

Optimism in journalism proved somewhat less than eternal this week, but the “don’t ask, don’t tell” panel at the LGBT Community Center in lower Manhattan last night provided some valuable insight into the issue.

Former White House advisor Richard Socarides moderated the panel, which featured Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, historian Nathaniel Frank and Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress. Gregory T. Angelo, chair of New York Log Cabin Republicans; Barbra Caspar Siperstein, co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats PAC Board; and activist Jason Haas were among those in attendance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Wednesday afternoon in Herald Square

I'm back in Bushwick after lunch with David Mixner, but these breakdancers into whom I ran in the Herald Square subway station earlier this afternoon proves New York remains the best city in the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gay N.H. bishop announces retirement

It was sad to read about gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s retirement announcement over the past weekend, but it goes without saying this truly remarkable man’s humility, grace, sense of justice, dignity and humor have touched more people--LGBT and otherwise--than anyone can possibly imagine.

The Episcopal Church consecrated Robinson at the University of New Hampshire in Nov. 2003. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church were among the hundreds of people who protested in Durham on that cool November morning. It was quite an eerie sight to see sharpshooters positioned on rooftops around the Whittemore Center--Robinson himself wore a bulletproof vest during the consecration because he had received credible death threats. In spite of the fanfare, rhetoric and outright homophobia that surrounded this watershed moment, however, the vast majority of New Hampshire Episcopalians seemed genuinely uninterested in Gene’s homosexuality.

“New Hampshire is always the place I remain, simply, ‘the bishop,’’’ and not “the gay bishop,’’ said Robinson, as the Boston Globe reported.

Thank you Gene.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day in Bushwick

An expected package delivery kept me away from the polls until 3:30 p.m., but it took less than 10 minutes to vote at my polling place here in Bushwick once I arrived.

Here are some snapshots from the day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year in New York. And below is a list of some of the characters I saw on the subway from Jefferson Street here in Bushwick to Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, and at Studio Squared last night.

- A slutty ballerina covered in blood
- Fred Flintstone
- Death
- Miss Geisha Sashimi
- Wolverine and Storm from X-Men
- A dirty grandmother
- Bob Marley
- A football player with an actual jock strap
- Wonder Woman
- Divine
- Jackie O
- King Tut and Nefertiti
- A Chiquita banana
- Snooki and Pauly D from "Jersey Shore"
- A stoned astronaut (a true space cadet)
- So-called Revenge of the Nerds

Chilean miners were not among those into whom I ran last night, but the hundreds of children who trick-or-treated on Knickerbocker Avenue earlier this afternoon certainly learned Halloween can prove quite lucrative in the candy department. Here are a couple of pictures from Circo's at the corner of Knickerbocker Avenue and Hart Street around 1:30 p.m.