August 2, 2012
Was all I heard, as I started to peel my eyes open.
“Halloooo! Welcome to New York!” exclaims Nat!
I gave him a huge hug while still laying on my back.
He had just awakened a few minutes earlier. He decided to doze off for a bit after Kyrk left the apartment because he couldn’t rouse me. *laughs*.
I dunno what time Nat made it to the apartment from work. I think he came in just as I was about to fall asleep because I do have a vague memory of seeing him come in through the door and talking to Kyrk in kitchen. If my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, I think Nat was wearing a dark blue cardigan of sorts.
He told me to get up because it was already 8 pm and if I sleep any longer, I might not be able to sleep later that night. It was also time to grab some late dinner. So I stretched by jet lagged ass awake. Put on some shorts, brushed my teeth and off we went in search for dinner.
Earlier that afternoon, after dropping by my school, I begged Kyrk that we head back for Nat’s apartment. I was getting quite tired already. Having been awake for almost 24 hours was making me cross-eyed as the afternoon continued on.
Not five minutes into getting into the apartment, I told Kyrk that I was about to pass out.
Indeed I did.
Nat and I headed out, crossed 9th avenue and started walking down. He was busy pointing me to various restaurants, various bars, the laundromat, the way to the subway, and the café he frequents.
“Let’s have dinner here in Vynl*. This is where we usually have dinner.” says Nat as he gently opens the glass door of the restaurant. I was surprised that we only walked 2 blocks down to the restaurant.
I see dolls.
No, not Barbie. But dolls made to the likeness of Cher and Elton John. There were other dolls displayed around the restaurant but I couldn’t remember who they were. I think the rock band KISS had their own dolls on display too.
So we had a hearty meal mixed with stories of life. I can not remember what I had, but I distinctively remember how friendly the staff were. Nothing beats a restaurant with friendly staff members.
We were about to finish dinner when I excused myself to go to the toilet.
“You’ll enjoy the toilet. You’ll see why when you open the doors.” said Nat as he pointed me to the right direction.
I got a bit confused when there were three doors to choose from. I couldn’t remember which door I opened first, but I was quite surprised to see a mosaic of Cher in front of me. After getting over my initial shock, I heard Cher’s song “If I Could Turn Back Time” playing through the speakers. Now I understood what Nat meant.
I pissed in Dolly’s bathroom.
“Let go have some “Welcome to New York” drinks at the bar near the apartment!” said Nat.
“Yes, I need one!” was my enthusiastic reply.
So we started walking up 9th avenue. Much to my surprise and to Nat’s amusement I had just realized the bar is located right at the corner of 9th avenue and 53rd street. Which is like, a stone’s throw away from the apartment.
We were now lining up at the entrance of the bar called “Flaming Saddles“**. What apt a name for a gay bar right? As we neared the door, Nat told me to prepare some I.D.to prove that I am over the age of 21 to be allowed to enter. This has been a common thing for me to do every time I entered a bar or a club for my entire stay in New York. And I always pity the man by the door trying to locate my birth date on my Philippine drivers license. Took one guy more or less 5 minutes to find it.
Country music was playing from the jukebox as we entered and the bar tenders were dancing on the bar. With their skin-tight jeans tucked into their cowboy boots, it’s no wonder the clientle were cheering them on and making cat calls towards the bar.
I have never been exposed to anything Country prior to entering Flaming Saddles. Well, maybe except for a few songs from Dolly Parton and Shania Twain plus the occasional western film I’ve seen made during the 50’s I’d see on TCM. But never like this.
A Western film was showing on the two big plasma TV’s. I dunno what the title of the film was, but I sure do know Doris Day when I see her.
There were boys talking to each other with a southern twang. Boys in trucker hats. Boys who look like lumberjacks. Men in suit and tie.
And then, there’s the occasional tourist, me.
Nat and I found our way to the bar as the dancing bartenders were making their way down from the bar. We ordered some Vodka Redbull ($10 each plus $1 tip quite cheap for around this part of town I’ve been told.) , found a nice little spot while we enjoyed our drinks, enjoyed boy watching and cheered to a fabulous 2 months ahead in New York!
754 9th ave @ 51st, NYC
212 974 2003
**Flaming Saddles Saloon
793 Ninth Ave
between 52nd/53rd Streets
New York, NY 10019