Check out today’s NY Times’ Escape section. Sullivan County gets 4 parapgraphs of ink in an article on "Gay Getaways: The New Wave". (Download .pdf of article) Its pretty amazing to see Jeffersonville and Livingston Manor sharing a map with well known gay getaways like Ogunquit, Provincetown and Ft. Lauderdale. For those of us in the g/l/b/t community here, who have been watching, encouraging and nurturing the growth, its kind of an "Oh my God" moment. They didn’t pick the Hudson Valley or Margaretville or New Hope. The picked us.
The Times interviewed Randy Florke who commented "It (Sullivan County) is for people who want a great house around great people, but are not
as concerned about town or a gay community,” he said. “They want an
escape.” While I agree with the ‘great house and great people’ part, I think saying we’re only for g/l/b/t folks who aren’t concerned about a gay community sells us short. Way short.
While Sullivan County doesn’t have a traditional commercial gay scene, with bars and discos, we do have a very active welcoming and definitely growing gay and lesbian social network. Its not uncommon for gay second homers to have to choose between two or three dinner or cocktail invites on a Saturday night in season. The monthly art openings at the Blue Victorian in Jeffersonville have become a de rigeur stop. This summer, our home-grown charity, the Day To Be Gay Foundation, has held two dances at Hill’s in Callicoon, with a couple of hundred folks packing the dance floor. The Day To Be Gay in the Catskills Festival, held over Labor Day weekend, has grown up to be a mainstay of the summer cultural calendar here, with a 1,000 revelers expected this year.
Kathy Rieser’s g/l/b/t radio show, Out Loud and Queer, has held court on WJFF 90.5fm here for a decade (Fridays, 10PM). gaysullivan now has over 600 names on its email list, and hundreds of folks listed in its online directory. Duncan Tucker filmed the edgy hit TransAmerica here, because, well, he has a house here.
So I disagree that Sullivan County is for someone who "isn’t concerned about a gay community." I think its a great place for g/l/b/t folks who are looking for a real community, and not just a place with a concentration of trendy gay businesses. The difference between Sullivan County and those other ‘high priced spreads’? In Provincetown, you can find plenty of places to table hop on a Saturday evening. Here, we house hop.