Vastness is one of the things I love most about New York City. Walking past one of the avenues you can look north and south and see the endless street lined with buildings vanishing off in the distance. Between commuting to work and seeing friends I can spend hours on the subway rushing through the veins of the city from place to place. Each neighborhood has its own style and feel from skinny blonde chicks in stilettos in the West Village to bearded vintage guys in BK to clean-cut suits downtown to thugged out dudes in Harlem. Vastness…millions of people conversing along thousands of street corners with an energy that makes you feel lucky to be in such an active place.
But all this activity and life means that people are always buzzing around in lots of different directions and it can be hard to find your own place amongst all the chaos. Meeting great people in NYC is easy…getting included with any regularity in their lives is what’s a challenge. It took me more than a year to finally establish friendships with people who I felt like where truly MY friends…people I would see on a regular basis and not get blown off by when we make plans to have drinks. Everyone is so busy and focused and invested in their lives…there’s so much to do at any given time that nailing someone down for a meet up–movie, sex, coffee, whatever–can be a real feat of scheduling skill.
So how does this impact the Leather community? Well it means despite the fact NYC is filled with Leather/kink/BDSM folks, the community is scattered and lacks centralization for interaction.
I recently talked to men from all over the country–Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Raleigh–and from their stories it seems like the communities in their cities are a lot more centralized and unified. They tell tales of monthly events, extended networks of friends and lovers, and convey a general sense of connectivity. While the community of NYC seems to be in a constant state of re-evaluation and division, the Leather folks of smaller cities seem to be building and growing. I think it’s great for those communities, but it really bums me out about NYC.
Weekly I feel like people lament the lack of spaces and community here in the city. The infamous Lure can’t be mentioned without at least one fag getting all glassy eyed and saying, “Awww, the Lure…sigh….” What the hell did you guys do with it?! Why did you let it close? How is it that I’m in such a great and vast city and being told Smallville, USA has a better scene? Is it that we’re all too busy, too engaged in too many different ways that creating a central core isn’t a viable option? Vastness…one of the things that makes the city so great is also one of the reasons we fail to connect.
This makes me think about the upcoming Mr. Eagle contest to be held on October 1st and not being sure who will run this year. A contest that once had lots of contestants growling for position now faces some uncertainty…and I’ve decided not to run this year because I just don’t think I’m ready for the title (so I will continue on my “becoming” path). Leaders are important for the NYC scene–both to foster community within and proudly represent the community to the rest of the country and world. But with such a decentralized scene, what impact does a title holder like Mr. Eagle have on the city?
Le sigh, lots of questions with few clear answers. Still I do hope some good guys make a run for the title…whoever he is, I will gladly support Mr. Eagle 2012. I’m enjoying this process.