Never thought that I’d come out this soon — with a list of my favorite NYC nuptial spots, that is. But thanks to the dedicated efforts of numerous LGBT organizations, Governor Cuomo and thousands of individuals lobbying their elected officials, New York just became the largest state to legalize same sex marriage. Even better, the Empire State has no residency requirements for marriage, so that means come one, come all and tie the lavender knot.
Friends from all over the U.S have been asking me, a New Yorker for 15 years now, for advice on where to hold their ceremonies. Here’s just the beginning of a what will no doubt become a very long list of suggested choices in New York City — and they’re all on my personal consideration list for the day me and my gay fiancé get legally hitched. Start spreading the news!
For Garden Lovers. I can hardly believe I am letting you in on one of the most treasured semi-secret gems in Manhattan: New Leaf Restaurant & Bar. Tucked away inside Ft. Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan (my neighborhood), the restaurant is a restored 1930s cobblestone New York City Parks Department building surrounded by lush trees. The chef prepares meals inspired by local green markets and community gardens. Your wedding can take place outside in a park overlooking the Hudson Bay, followed by reception at the lovely restaurant. Best part? New Leaf is part of the non-profit New York Restoration Project (NYRP) founded by Bette Midler (another gay tie-in)—so all the money you spend helps support the maintenance of NYC parks and open spaces.
For Art Lovers. The Lower East Side has a gem of a contemporary art institution in the New Museum. The sleek space is the perfect spot to show off your own wedding gems. The top floor, the Sky Room, has floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace, with stunning views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. A perfect cultural spot for the bride and groom on the cutting edge.
For Book Worms. Directly across from the iconic New York Public Library, Hyatt, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, opened their luxuriously hip Andaz 5th Avenue. Having your wedding here is anything but the traditional hotel event. Instead, event spaces are designed like the coolest NYC apartments all centered around an open kitchen. It’s the most unique hotel space I’ve seen—even the name is quirky: “Apartment 2E.” Get ready in the suite that has a terrace overlooking the library, and then post-reception, the party can continue at the bar downstairs—yep, that’s the name—one of the coolest cocktails spots in Manhattan.
For City Folk. Kimpton, another well-known LGBT supporting hotel company, set up shop on the far West Side of Manhattan in ink 148. The site of a former printing plant, the hotel is certainly making its mark on Manhattan with unrivaled views of midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. The rooftop terrace is the place to snag for your nuptials that will have an unforgettable backdrop: the city that never sleeps.
Jon Paul Buchmeyer is the author of the award-winning humorous memoir Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life and writes frequently for Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit magazines. In addition, he is the author of his own popular blogs: ABCityblog.com and Poptimistic.com.