So you’re walking home to your brand new Chelsea condo, the same route you’ve been taking since you moved in last year, when you’re hit with a shock. You’ve always thought of it as a relatively sleepy area–full of industrial complexes, dotted with a few bars–and now there are dudes in leather suspenders and chaps cavorting around the block, getting loose and wolfing down hot dogs. You, my friend, have unwittingly stumbled onto “New York fucking City’s sexiest street festival,” West 28th St.’s long-running Folsom Street East, and the next block of your walk is going to be pretty freaky.
While to some of you, this might read like a titillatingly surprising situation, the residents of 540W28, a new luxury condo complex in the area, aren’t so happy. “Even as a gay man, I was thoroughly embarrassed by what I saw,” wrote resident Eric Lee in a letter to Community Board 4. “How can a street fair that is based on a sexual fetish be allowed in a neighborhood where there are at least three large residential buildings with children in viewing distance?”
After what sounds like a relatively peaceable discussion, the organizers of the festival agreed to build a wall that will block residents of the building from seeing any of the action down on the street. Susan Wright, a spokeswoman for the festival, is understanding about the residents’ concerns but maintains that Folsom Street East patrons have a right to do what they do. “They dress street legal,” she told DNAinfo. “Yes, that might be just wearing a jock, but this is New York.”
(Photo: See-ming Lee/Flickr)