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Friday, upon arriving at the airport, I discover that all flights to LaGuardia have been cancelled due to the snow in New York City. Boston is cold, but has no snow. After spending an hour on the phone with US Airways, unsuccessfully trying to switch to JFK or EWR (New Jersey), I gave up and left the airport. I called Derek on the way to the subway and asked about the $10 Chinatown bus to NYC; someone on the bus overheard me and said that the Chinatown busses were cancelled, and I-95 was at a standstill near the NY/CT border. Therefore, I headed to South Station to see if there were any trains I could take. While on the subway there, I met Bill & Paul (Boston Leather Bears), who were on their way to South Station as well to catch a Peter Pan bus to NYC. (At the time, we were unaware that their bus was cancelled, as were many others! -- I don't know if they ever made it to the Big Apple or not...) I got in a huge line to use the Amtrak self-service ticket systems and bought a 7:30pm ticket to New York. It was currently 7:27. I just made it on the train before they pulled out of the station. The trip down was standing room only; many families were sleeping on the floor the entire trip there. I camped out in the Cafe Car with my computer and about ten other people. I arrived in Penn Station at 12:15am. I hopped onto a downtown Red Train (1)(2)(3)(9) to Christopher Street. I walked, carrying my luggage all the way from 7th Ave down Christopher Street to The Dugout (next to the Hudson) through piles of snow to go to the Metrobears Barnight only to discover that The Dugout now apparently closes at midnight due to lack of community support!?!? I walked all the way back and had one cocktail at Boots and Saddles, which has gone through yet more changes... Nothing feels like "home" in New York anymore... :-(

I then headed out to Astoria (Queens, NY) to my host's place near the 52'nd Street Station on the Purple Train (7) -- I was staying with Joe Doyle, a member of the Metrobears and of the Imperial Court of New York. After a good night's sleep, I headed into the East Village to pick up a few things, including my toy for later that night. Once my errands were done, I took Bruce MacWhorter's advice and went to McSorley's Old Ale House for lunch (one of the oldest bars in Manhattan!) -- I ended up having four pints of dark ale and a cheese plate -- it was a GREAT place!! I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Manhattan -- the ale is awesome, the food is tasty, and their homemade mustard is amazing!! Check out this web page for more information. This place is so famous, even their urinals have a web page on the internet!! While I was there, about fifty (50) men dressed as Santa Claus came into the bar and drank quite a few pints!! Apparently, these guys dress up as Santa annually and go for an old-fashioned pub crawl. McSorley's was their first stop. After about an hour went by, they headed out the door, stumbling out onto East 7th Street singing Christmas Carols (out of key) on their way to the next pub. Many tourists and locals were taking photos of the drunken Santas... It was quite a sight!

Saturday night was Empire City's 40th Christmas Party/Toys for Tots at Raymond's (88th 7th Ave) -- due to the weather, it was one of the lightest gatherings I have ever seen; which really sucks, as this is such a good cause. Quite a few toys were gathered -- just not as many as normal. The event itself, as always, was wonderful!! Many of my friends were there as usual, some of the regulars were missing though... It's always great to see my friends from Empire City Motorcycle Club!! They are planning all sorts of things for this upcoming year, as it's their 40th anniversary. They're even doing a week-long Motorcycle Tour this year all around the Northeast!

After Toys for Tots, I wandered over to the NY Eagle (the NEW one at 554 W 28th Street, between 10th & 11th.) I hung out there from 9pm 'till midnight -- I met up with some folks from the benefit there; and just socialized a bit. The new Eagle is nice; it's just not the same as the old one on West Side Highway. Those were the days, walking between The Spike and The Eagle on a hit July night! ;-) Oh well, not anymore. :-(

I headed back to Queens to my host's place again -- thinking to myself how much better NY Metro (New York's Subway) is than MBTA (Boston's Subway); cause if I was in Boston wanting to go home at 12:45 at night, I would have had to take a taxi ($$$) home!! I really don't like the limitations the MBTA has... If you want to enjoy any of Boston's nightlife (going to clubs, bars, concerts, etc.), the MBTA is USELESS UNLESS you don't drink, drive, and hunt for parking or leave VERY EARLY so you can get a train.

On Sunday, I packed my bags, picked up authentic NY bagels and krispy kream donuts to bring home, and headed with Joe over to The Bear Cafe at 221 West 13th Street, between 7th and 8th avenues. The Bear Cafe is a place where you can sit down, kick back, and talk and make friends with woofy guys of all ages, sizes, races, and interests. It's an alcohol-free, smoke-free, noise-free and attitude-free space. They are a not-for-profit, volunteer-operated and operate from September through June on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 3pm - 6pm. The Bear Cafe is a participatory coffeehouse, and they request a low cover charge (normally around $4, which helps cover the rent.) Each guest is also asked to bring a large bottle of soda/juice/seltzer, or appetizer, fruit, cheese, munchies, or dessert to share potluck-style. Guests are also encouraged to bring and play cards and board games. This was my first visit to "The Bear Cafe", and I liked the concept! The location is their local gay/lesbian community centre; so the overhead is low... A couple of guys from the Boston Bears (my group) were interested in doing something like this here -- now that I see how it's run, we just might do it!! I met a bunch of woofy bears, and there was even a sexy guy videotaping from "In The Light", a national gay/lesbian television news show on PBS. My train home was to leave at 5:00pm, so I had to leave early... :-(

It was off to Penn Station to catch the 194 train to Boston! As luck would have it, I show up early and the train doesn't. They kept updating the departure time in increments of five minutes for the next hour. Grrrrrrr.... I could have been having fun with the bears!! I got on the train at about 6:00, and the train left the station about 6:15. We didn't get back to Boston until 10:30pm. This was bad news for me, as although the Red Line (subway) was still running, the ONLY bus that goes from the subway station to my home stops on Sundays at 10:01pm. Damn, useless MBTA again!!! Why bother taking public transportation when they do this to you!?!? Boston was hit hard with the snow while I was gone, two feet on Sunday in Quincy. I had to take a taxi cab from the Quincy Centre T-Station to my home ($10.00 fare including a $3 tip!) -- the roads were a mess.

My car was buried under a huge snowbank behind my condo, and a snow emergency was still in effect for Quincy; therefore, I worked from home on Monday. I shoveled out my car and was able to get it back on the street by 5:00pm. The snow emergency being over, it was once again acceptable to park on the street.


Last night, being the gen-x'er I am, I had to watch the SciFi Channel's new Battlestar Galactica!! WOW! It was great! Starbuck and Boomer are female?? Woah!! It will be repeated a lot, I'm sure... I liked it, and will watch part 2 tonight at 9pm! If you're into science fiction, you have to see this mini-series!! It rocks!!


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