New York by Dale De Vere

Welcome to the Big (if somewhat battered) Apple!

The drag scene here has seen a lot of setbacks recently. Beloved clubs and shops have closed, and September 11th affected everything. But, this is still a great throbbing city, teeming with trannies and every kind of freak, both fabulous and frightful.

Yes, boys, if there’s one city where you can wear your new frock on the bus without worrying what anyone thinks, this is it. Believe me, New Yorkers have all seen people much stranger than you, and they don’t give a damn!

So let’s start with New York by day.

The only really drag-oriented shop in town is now HOTEL VENUS, on West Broadway between Spring and Broome Streets; lots of fun stuff including a wig salon.

The surrounding area, Soho, has the biggest concentration of designer boutiques in the city, but there are some cheaper and quirkier ones amongst the Pradas and Chanels, so it’s worth a look around whatever your budget.

Otherwise, good places to look for clothes and shoes are the two blocks of West 8th St between 6th Avenue and Broadway; all the way from 8th St. down to Canal St; ST. MARKS PLACE between 2nd and 3rd; and the department stores, MACY’S, LORD & TAYLOR, and the more up-market BLOOMINGDALES.

For fetish fashions, try DE MASK (22nd St. between 6th and 7th) or PURPLE PASSION (20th between7th and 8th).

For wigs, WIGS & PLUS at 49 W.14th Street (between 5th and 6th) has a good selection, reasonable prices, and loads of hair products and accessories. (There’s another cheap, smaller wig shop on the same block at No. 55). If money is no object, though, you can’t beat the fabulous creations at BARRY HENDRICKSON’S BITZ-N-PIECES (By appointment, call 397-0711).

For make-up, there are several branches of both SEPHORA (where you can try before you buy) and the very drag-friendly M.A.C.; for more specialised stuff, the professionals go to ALCONE (19th St. between 7th and 8th). Lastly, you may enjoy RICKY’S, a campy mini-chain which sells everything from toothpaste to wigs and makeup, lingerie and sex toys!

New York NIGHTLIFE is volatile, especially lately, so be sure to check local listings or call ahead before venturing out. n.b. most clubs don’t really get going until around midnight and go on until 4 am

TRANNY PARTIES Probably the most reliable weekly venue is NOWBAR, at Leroy St. and 7th Avenue South, where transsexual legend ‘Glorya Wholesome’ and husband and DJ ‘Gil T. Pleasure’ host parties whose names change from time to time but which are always on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, every week. The crowd varies but the whole spectrum of the TV/TG world passes through at some time or another (followed by hordes of lecherous men!) and Glorya is a welcoming hostess to all. There is usually some kind of show around 2 am.

Another long-running venue is LA ESQUELITA, with a mostly Latin crowd, drag shows, go-go boys and girls, etc. (39th St. between 8th and 9th).

A brand new Wednesday party, TRANNIE SHACK, has started at FLAMINGO, (2nd Ave. between 13th and 14th); if it’s still there by the time you read this, it’s probably worth a look.

Lastly the notorious EDELWEISS - a raunchy place, constantly being raided by the cops - is currently closed, but if you’re curious, you can call 629 - 1021 to check the current situation.

MIXED PARTIES For me, the best NY parties have always been those like the late lamented JACKIE 60 (at the now-defunct club MOTHER) - an outrageous mix of gay, straight, transgender, and just people who like to dress up and dance. Jackie promoters ‘Chi Chi Valenti’ and ‘Johnny Dynell’ are now doing monthly parties and if you’re in town for one of them, don’t miss it! They also have a great website which is the first place to go to find out what’s happening in town:

Another popular party, CHEEZ WHIZ, has also closed, but hostess ‘Sweetie’ is now hostessing STAR TARTARE on Sundays at RARE, (on 14th St. between 9th Ave. and Washington St). Expect a friendly mixed crowd, fun shows and great music from DJ Sammy Jo.

On Thursdays SPA, an upscale dance club on 13th St. at 4th Ave., has a glamourous party called ULTRA which attracts a lot of queens;

And there’s an exciting new Friday party, AREA 10009, at OPALINE (Avenue A between 5th & 6th Sts.)

THE GAY SCENE NY gay scene is huge and mostly tranny-friendly. There are three main gay areas: Greenwich Village (also known as the West Village or just The Village) especially around Christopher St., is the oldest and most traditional, with cozy cafes, piano bars and drag shows. Try PIECES or the legendary STONEWALL on Christopher St. THE MONSTER is at Sheridan Square.

CHELSEA is younger, hipper and more masculine; trannies are welcome enough but you may feel a bit irrelevant in a sea of Muscle Marys. Still, BARRACUDA (22nd St. at 8th Ave.) can be fun, and if you like dancing, THE ROXY (18th St. at 10th Ave.) is probably the most tranny-friendly of the big gay dance clubs.

The EAST VILLAGE is funkier and edgier than the West, with a lot of interesting bars and an eclectic, anything-goes crowd; check out STARLIGHT (Avenue A at 11th St.) and WONDERBAR (6th St. at Avenue A).

If you want to venture into a Lesbian bar, try MEOW MIX (E. Houston St. at Suffolk St.) or NANNY’S (on 7th Avenue South) across from the NowBar.

DRAG SHOWS Mostly at gay venues, there are too many to list here, but BAR D’O (at the corner of Bedford and Downing Sts). in the Village is crosier and friendlier than most. Two places to eat, drink, and be both waited on and entertained by drag queens, are cozy and campy LIPS (Bank St. at Greenwich Ave.) and the bigger, glitzier LUCKY CHENG’S (1st Ave. at 2nd St.) In addition to all these, there are frequent one-off events.

Check the listings in TIME OUT NEW YORK or free gay mags., NEXT or HX, or go to, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time in the city that never sleeps!