Gay Pride Parade New York; a time as had by all...Linda Barnard in Iceland!
I’ve always meant to check out the Pride parade in Toronto; I just never got around to it. (For information on the parade and pride week in general, which has already begun here in T.O., check out The Star's special Pride Week section) But Sunday it was Pride Day in New York, and my travel bloggers conference had a lunch break from noon to 1:30. The parade route came down Fifth Ave. and turned at 13th St., just a block from where our conference was held at NYU.
So instead of sitting down to pizza or a salad or a sandwich, I grabbed a steamed hot dog (Toronto’s are better) and a bottle of water and found a shady spot to watch the parade. It took about 40 minutes for the motorcyclists to show up to kick things off, but it was pretty fun.
There were a couple hundred motorbikes, mostly looking pretty menacing with colourfully garbed folks on top. One older guy and a guy with a shaved head riding on the back stopped for a mid street smooch, while a woman of a certain age with breasts of a certain size rode past bare-breasted. That was the only nudity I saw in about a half-hour of parade watching. Maybe I missed it, but it seemed pretty tame compared to the stories I’ve heard in Toronto.
I enjoyed the running commentary from a guy with a p.a. system near Washington Square. When a bunch of guys came by tossing lavender flags in the air in unison, he yelled out, “Hey, it’s the flaggots. Hi, flaggots!”
It was all in good fun, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves on a hot but just-shy-of-sultry day in Manhattan.
One question: Are so many “floats” in the Toronto parade sponsored? The New York version had Kiehl’s body products and something called Green Chimneys, as well as Delta. The Delta folks had a banner that ready “Fly Out to the World, " which was clever.
I wanted to get a cab back to my hotel in lower Manhattan but they were impossible to find so I hopped on the number six train. I forgot that some stations in New York are only for northbound service and others for southbound, so visitors often end up wandering about trying to find the right station. And I don’t think they’re marked nearly well enough; not as well as Toronto from the outside, and certainly not as good as London or Paris in terms of overall routing information I don’t think. At least the air conditioning worked, but I walked a half mile to get from one line to another in the heat of the underground maze on Saturday, then found the three-storey escalator was busted.
Anyway, it’s always great to get into the energy of New York City, and this weekend was no exception. I topped it off with a great pizza at Harry’s Italian on Gold Street, across from the Gild Hall hotel by Thompson. Great, Napoli-style pizza with a thin crust (a touch too burned, however), a tasty mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and a lovely tomato sauce.
TBEX BLOGGERS CONFERENCE
Thanks to the folks who put on a great Travel Bloggers Exchange 2010 conference in New York City on the weekend. Lots of good speakers, even if I didn't fully understand all the jargon.
Vancouver and B.C. tourism folks were sponsors of this year's event in NYC, as was the Canadian Tourism Commission. They gave out bagels and coffee on the street Sunday morning, which was a nice touch.
“We're interested in what bloggers have to say,” said Amber Sessions of Vancovuer tourism. “And, yes, we kind of like to be cutting edge.”
There were tons of Canadians in the audience this weekend, by the way, including regular Star contributor Heather Greenwood Davis, as well as the enormously respected Evelyn Hannon, who has a web site for women travellers called journeywoman.com.
Too bad Toronto didn't get involved for TBEX 2011. But Toronto is hosting the CTC's Go Media event in August; bringing together media from all over to learn about Canadian destinations.
LINDA BARNARD IN ICELAND
Star entertainment reporter and mad gal about town Linda Barnard is flitting about Iceland in fine style, avoiding volcanoes and trying her best to get into a bit of trouble. Here's a link to her latest blog...