Posted by Darling!
I'd been to New York City twice before. The first time I was only nine years old on vacation with Mom and Dad. We stayed at The Taft Hotel near Times Square, where The Lester Lanin Orchestra played during dinner. I had a good laugh watching my Dad bounce up and down as he Fox-trotted Mother around the dance floor.
Some seven years later, I spent a weekend with my best friend and favorite lesbian Pat, staying at a co-ed YMCA on 34th street. At night we some how ended up in Little Italy at a mixed gay girl and guy bar called The Gold Bug.
This was now the summer of 1965. I was 17 years old still living with my parents in Michigan. And on this third visit I was by myself for the weekend. I didn't have any plans other then to go and explore the gay life of the city.
(More, and a photo from that trip, after the jump!)
I knew I wanted to be in the Village and so I walked around until I found a hotel. I now realize I ended up in the East Village and the place was a SRO which was a nice way to say flop-house. Of course I didn't know any better so I checked in. The room was just big enough to hold a single bed. It was so small you had to step in and then get out of the way just to close the door. The communal bathroom and showers were located near by. I wasn't too concerned as it was not in my plan to spend much time there anyway. However I did end up having a little incident while getting ready when I found myself alone with a giant man who's very dark skin contrasted with his little white towel as he tried to press his bulk against me to show his amorous intentions. I managed to escape and depart the hotel.
I had my hair combed over my forehead in my version of a Sassoon bowl cut. My favorite baby blue turtle neck shirt, a navy blue blazer, navy bell bottom trousers, and black shoes with silver buckles, all very "Mod", as I headed toward Christopher Street.
In those days the drinking age was only 18 and besides I had my older brother's drivers license that stated I was 28. I walked past a bar that had it's double doors open, music blaring and a Bouncer sitting on a stool. It was called The Stonewall and I could tell from the people going inside it was a gay bar. It took me several passes to get up the courage to try and get inside. The Bouncer was cute, kinda chubby, Italian, I think. Anyway he let me in.
The first room I entered was filled mostly by a huge square shaped wooden bar with a guy in his tighty whiteys go go dancing at each end. I'd never seen anything like this and had to catch my breath at the sight. As I faced the bar I was aware of a doorway behind me with different music playing. This room was basically a big dance floor crowed with guys dancing with each other. "This is more like it" I thought as I loved to dance, and made my way through the dancers that were doing the "pony", the "jerk" and the "monkey". Yes child, dances had names then...and I knew them all. But being alone I had to be content to just bop around the outer edges of the room keeping out of the dancers way. I was young, a bit overwhelmed, and excited all at the same time. I don't remember anyone asking me to dance for most of the night so I just passed from one room to the other taking it all in. At one point I was standing in the "go go boy" room and some guy said loudly to my back "You want to fuck." I of course ignored him, embarrassed to see everyone staring at us, I thought "he must be drunk so I'm not turning around".
Finally a tall slim dark haired very handsome guy asked me to dance. I was thrilled. We danced and after a while he asked if I wanted to go outside. We left and walked around talking. His name was Ricardo and he was from Argentina. We walked toward the East Village until the sun started to break through the night sky. Then we stopped in a little cafe for coffee. I eagerly agreed to head back to his place. First we went to bed and afterward fell asleep in each others arms. I don't remember all that much about him except I think he was a student and we enjoyed each other into the afternoon.
We later took the subway to Rockefeller Center. All the flags were blowing in the wind and he took a Polaroid photo of me posing on one of the benches.
I've kept it all these years.