Photos and words by Paulgar
We asked our buddy, Paulgar (Paul M. Roura), to cobble together a list of his favourite places to eat, sleep, drink, dance, skate, fuck, fart, and play pinball in his hometown, New York City. Here’s what he sent us.
The Streets – NYC
Literally, NYC streets. I’ve walked, slept, ate, laughed, cried, and fucked on these things. The entire city is a playground, and there is nothing like walking the sketchy back roads, where you’ll always see something interesting or find something new. There’s a little something for everyone in New York City, and winding your way through these weathered streets is the best way to find it. Choose your own adventure and enjoy!
Fire Island – 335 Bowery
Fire Island has a long history in the NYC LGBTQ scene. It’s their vacation spot/home away from home, and I’ve been lucky enough to be invited into that world a few times. I absolutely love my queer family. The first time I took the trip out (which is an adventure itself), I was helping my friend, Tony Cox, finish an art residency project there–which became one of the craziest benders of my life. As a straight male, I’m comfortable with myself, but perhaps it was a bit misleading when I joined a group of gentlemen for a skinny-dipping session after the drug buffet.
Milano’s Bar – 51 E. Houston Street
Dylan [Rieder] once had me meet him at this legendary hole in the wall when he was on one and just shy of blacking out. He played this one Blink 182 song on repeat till the crowd wanted to kill us. I pulled us out of the situation before it got too hot. Later that morning, after our all-night shift of stirring up shit, we saved a girl from her boyfriend who was getting quite violent. The guy stepped to me and I punched his hat off as a warning to back off. It was one of those reactive moments that happen in a snap, and when I looked back at Dylan to laugh he already had his shirt off and was ready to have my back if anything went down. That was enough to put the guy in his place, and will always be one of many reminders that our friend Dylan was there for you in any situation.
The Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey Street
This is one of the best venues in the city. It’s small enough that you’re never far from the action, but just big enough for really big acts to perform. I’ve seen five years of Patti Smith NYE shows here, not to mention Dino Jr., Slint, and The Lemonheads. I even saw Morrissey here, and it’s likely the smallest venue he’s played in decades. My Mom’s husband works at The Bowery Ballroom, and I was able to get Patrick O’Dell and Heath Kirchart a line-skip for that Morrissey gig (which queued twice around the block). Heath scared me to death without even speaking. They almost cancelled the show because the drummer’s gong didn’t fit in the door, but they managed to squeeze it through and play one of my top three Moz shows out of the 100+ I’ve seen, due to an unhealthy obsession with the music that’s made me laugh and the music that’s made me cry through puberty and love’s first rejection.
The Hells Angels Clubhouse – 77 E. 3rd Street
My mother lived here until recently when the building was sold and everyone started to bounce. Some of the members are moving into one of two new locations: a headquarters in the Bronx or an old converted church out on Long Island. 3rd Street is now a shell of its former rebellious self with the loss of what is arguably its most iconic and controversial institution. The old school guys held me when I was a newborn, and I’ve been a frequent visitor ever since. I’ve done all the traditional family holidays at this place like it’s a completely normal thing, and I often forget how insane it is to have freely lurked those hallways. Few non-members have insight into this world, but you can easily do some research if you’ve never heard what has gone down over there. I can’t share details of the things I have or have not seen. Snitches get bitches… or was it stitches?
Houston Park Steps – Corner of Houston and Chrystie
The Houston Park steps are a perfect and classic spot to post up at. It’s a great meeting place or somewhere to kill time while checking out some of the most beautiful people in the world or the craziest person you’ve ever seen. Jump in a pick-up game on the basketball courts or skate the disabled rail, ledge, wallride, or bump to-can located within the park. We used to grab to-go margaritas from the now defunct El Sombrero down the street, which would be the perfect end to a skate session and start to a wild evening. The last time I sat down for a coffee and cigarette on the steps, I watched the Muska eating an açaí bowl. It was cute.
Labor Skateshop – 46 Canal Street
It’s a skateshop. It’s cosy and it’s core. If you’re not a local who can skip the line for some grip over at Supreme, you better be supporting this place. They’ve put up with all my nonsense for some reason and I owe them enough to make an honourable mention. It fills the void Autumn [skateshop] left many years ago, and I salute them for that.
The Hunt – 27 Canal Street
Looking to spruce up your place with some vintage oddities or custom jewellery? Come here and drop some of that trust fund money and give your kit a little personality or your home the character you’re lacking.
Lil Frankie’s – 19 1st Avenue
It’s at the nexus of the universe and has Moretti on tap with chilled mugs–and that’s pretty chill in my book. Morrissey comes by here when he’s in town, even though the menu isn’t vegan-based and they blast Dirty South hip hop and death metal through the speakers, if that says anything (it says something). Also, you are very likely to run into a friend posted up at the bar if you don’t feel like dining solo, which makes it a go-to spot for me when I don’t have dinner plans.
Tomkins Square Park – Avenue A and East 10th
This is the best skatepark in the city. If you skate, you probably know that it’s a somewhat smooth cement baseball diamond in the East Village. It’s the meetup or too-lazy-to-actually-skate skate spot. It’s the chill zone. It’s the shit talking capital of spots, and yet it still maintains a good vibe. Your favourite pros all end up hanging here while on tour, and you’ll often see local guys smoking a cigarette or catching a buzz from some beer disguised in a coffee cup. I’ve watched an entire generation grow up here and learn how to skate better than me. Now I feel old.
Max Fish – 120 Orchard Street
A haven for artists, musicians, skateboarders, weirdos, and everyone in-between, Max Fish should be on everybody’s Top 10 New York City list. The new location is on Orchard Street and is decked out with two floors of affordable beverages, fantastic music, monthly art installations, great vibes, artistic vision, and lights bright enough to let you see what you’re going home with. There are frequently free live music showcases with some of the best musicians in the world, and thoughtfully curated events.
Sway – 305 Spring Street
RIP to the original, although it’s back up and running in a slightly different form as ‘Paul’s Casablanca’. The world famous Morrissey/Smiths night (YES, I love Morrissey) was started by Paul Sevigny and the late and great Benjamin Cho. If you aren’t down to dance and if you don’t know the words, don’t bother coming… Although it gets too crazy for anyone to notice you fucking up the chorus of ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’, anyway.
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