Wig Out!

Wigstock 1996

Friday August 30

My vacation began with a bus ride to New York City. My friend Howard met me at the Port Authority, and we took the subway down to Alphabet City where he lives. I was a little nervous, as I'd heard that Alphabet City is the worst part of town south of Harlem. The area looked a little rough, but I didn't really feel endangered. We didn't see anyone shooting up heroin between parked cars or anything. Above is a picture of Howard in front of his apartment building. That night we went to The Limelight, but it was closed down because too many club kids do extasy when they're there. So we went up the road to King. I saw a very cute guy. Normally I'm way too shy to walk up to a stranger in a bar, but I figured this isn't my town, so who cares if I make a fool of myself. I introduced myself to him and we wound up talking all evening. He was a flight attendant based in Chicago and was in town visiting friends.

Saturday August 31

I woke up in Howard's apartment considerably earlier than Howard did. I wound up shooting the Sunday Morning series (okay, so it wasn't shot on Sunday morning...). By the time Howard was waking up I was pretty much done.

The first order of business was for me to get my New York City haircut. We went down to Astor Place, and they took me in right away. It wasn't as good as the hair cut I got there the year before, but for $10 I can't complain.

Next I wanted to do something touristy, so I dragged Howard all the way out to the Statue of Liberty. Here's some advice to people who are considering visiting this monument. First of all, don't go on the Saturday of a major holiday weekend. Second, make sure you get there early. You have to wait on line to get tickets, wait on line to get on the boat, wait as the crowd SLOWLY gets off the boat, and finally wait on line once more just to get inside the statue itself. By the time we got there it was too late to be able to climb up to the crown, so we just hung out for a while and enjoyed the view from the outside. It was a PERFECT day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, so it made a uniform blue backdrop for the statue. After a while we waited in line to get back on the boat and headed for Manhattan.

When we got back to Manhattan we decided to just stroll up town rather than get back on the subway. We were walking up Broadway, but when we got to Wall St. I wanted to take a quick detour so I could snap a picture of Trinity Church. Once down Wall St. a block or so, we came upon a film shoot. These extras were dressed in suits and carrying brief cases. The director had them walk around as he filmed, and then had them get back in their places and walk around all over again for another take. It was interesting to watch. I had to wait until between takes before I could take this picture so that my flash didn't fuck up the shot. We finally figured out that they were shooting a Toyota Rav4 commercial. I've been looking for it on TV ever since, but have yet to see that shot.

After a few more blocks we got tired of walking and got back on the subway. We headed back up to the East Village and did some shopping. We came upon a leather shop that had quite an interesting door handle (pictured above). We went inside, and I was blown away to hear them playing vintage Grateful Dead music. This was about the only place I had been in that didn't play that horrid techno dance crap, but beyond that this S&M leather shop was playing hippie folk music. At any rate, I picked up a cock ring (visible in the "Perfect Shape" series on my private site) and we were once again on our way.

Sunday September 1

Finally it was time for the event that I came down to the city for. Howard and I picked up my friend Stephen and we walked up to the Palladium. I had never been to one of these before, and didn't really know what to expect. I had a feeling from the beginning, however, that it wasn't nearly as festive as when it's held outdoors. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

After the show we walked Stephen back to his car. Howard and I needed something to eat badly. We were standing right outside a deli, so we figured that it was as good a place as any. While we were standing there trying to decide what to get, Howard noticed a sign on one of the tables. It read, "Smile! You're sitting where Harry met Sally. I hope you're having what she had!" We just had to sit at that table.

Monday September 2 (Labor Day)

Howard escorted me to the Port Authority and I got on a bus back to Ithaca.

Wednesday September 4

Once I was back home I still had the rest of the week off on vacation. Don, one of my all-time favorite fraternity brothers, was up visiting his parents in Syracuse. He had moved away to Florida three years before, and I hadn't seen him in person since. He'd gained about 20 pounds in that time, but it was still a pleasure to see him. He also brought his significant other Liz, who was expecting their first child. I showed Don my Citroën and took him and Liz for a quick ride. They took me out to lunch but then had to get right on their way. It was really great seeing Don again. I miss him more than any other fraternity brother who's ever abandoned me for bigger and better places (except maybe Dawley, but that's another story...)

Thursday September 5

I packed up the citroën with some stuff and headed up to my fraternity. Whenver I go more than just a few miles outside of town, I'm worried about the contraption breaking down, but it was a delightful, uneventful drive. This was the first time I'd brought this car to the house. It was a smash hit. Everyone was saying, "Wow, look at that fat car!" I was also able to delight the crowds with the suspension tricks.

Friday, September 6

The citroën was on the verge of turning 100,000 miles. Having a 5-digit odometer meant that it would turn all back to zeroes. I drove it from the house to the exact spot I wanted it to turn and noted the distance. I then drove it around town, coordinating the route so that the car had just that many miles to go when I got back to the house. I gathered my best friends in town (from left: Scooter, Linus, and Sandee), put a bottle of champagne on ice, and away we went. My figures were suprisingly accurate. The odometer turned over within a hundred yards of where I wanted it to. We pulled the car over and drank the whole bottle of champagne (this was the first time in 1,785 days I'd consumed alcohol). I snapped a picture of the odometer at all zeroes, but unfortunately it didn't turn out. Still, the image is burned into my mind. After we'd finished the champagne, we got back in the car and Scooter chauffeured us back to the house where a TGIF was just beginning. This was a landmark day in many ways.

Saturday, September 7

I drove back to Ithaca. Once again, the citroën performed flawlessly.

Sunday, September 8

My friend Ron and I met up at the office, hopped into the citroën, and drove off to Watkins Glen for the vintage car weekend. We'd been planning this trip since I first got the classic car. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy. The whole way I kept boasting that if I had done the paperwork, I could have parked my car with the show cars. Ron, ever the benign antagonist, disputed this assertion. When we got there, though, I did see a citroën station wagon parked with the show cars. Of course that one was in a lot better shape than mine. Ron and I walked around in the rain for a couple hours until we just couldn't take it anymore, and we went home. Thus ended my 1996 vacation.

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