There are a million different things to do in NYC at any particular moment. Getting good at ignoring FOMO (fear of missing out) is crucial to sanity while living in this bustling metropolis. When planning a venture with a visiting tourist, often the same considerations come to mind for planning a good date! You want a stunning location that shows off the sexy meat and bones of this city but also is a fun thing to do that doesn’t mean you have to stare at someone the whole time. I’ve assembled ten of my favorite things to do with dates and/or friends from out of town.
Back in March, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in an amazing sanctuary space amidst a temporary art installation in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s hard to explain what the Forest of the Future was, but for some background you can read the curator/producer Quito’s statement about it here. It really gives a good background of how they just wanted to make a magical space to bring together a bunch of the visionaries they’ve met in their world travels, see what connections and catalyzing could happen, and that space was a forest.
The Forest had a team of amazing artists who worked endlessly to make it happen. I first arrived on opening night to volunteer and everyone had clearly been missing sleep for days. No wonder, once you stepped inside the space was truly otherworldly. That doesn’t come without an intense about of labor, love and vision.
This video by Ricardo Nelson is a treasure and gives an overview of what the Forest looked like that still photos can’t quite capture (I’m in the first few frames, fisting a tree).
There were lots of events that happened at the Forest during its two-week run, but it was also open daily for hang outs pretty much whenever you knew someone was going to be there (or 3p-late if you didn’t know someone). Quito did a lot of sleeping at the Forest, so I did a lot of solo time because I could get in.
Here is a list of amazing things I did while in the womb of the Forest of the Future:
I slow danced to “The Golden Age of Hustlers” as recorded by Justin Vivian Bond, with my then sweetheart. It’s a song I love deeply and never hear, so it was serendipitous that it played at that right moment and filled me with such sweetness and connection, not just to my sweetheart but to the universe.*
I made out in the button bog.
I had a couple of deep fights in the button bog that have left buttons in so many surprising places in my room.
I read my tarot cards in the tree house when no one was in the Forest but me and some girl sleeping on the mushroom pillows in the field below.
I did queer punk yoga twice, lead by Lizxnn Disaster.
I cried my eyes out as LeRoi Prince read an amazing piece invoking the struggles of our queer ancestors. It’s the kind of thing that I try to invoke appreciation for before every Rebel Cupcake, but in long form.
I had a flirtation/romance/make-out with a hot foreigner.
I sang sea shanties along with a crowd, lead by a performance artist.
I sat in on a discussion about queer communities, discussed what we owe communities as leaders and “who are your people.”
I had a long conversation with a different foreigner about love and relationship permutations, polyamory, nonmonogamy and why we have such limited words for all the different types of romantic relationships we can have in the English language.
I brewed and served tea in great cauldrons as a volunteer shift.
I ate melty rose butter on fresh bread baked as an art installation.
I made some amazing connections with people I already knew. I met a lot of new people. I developed a better understanding of radical faeries.
I went to a sexy party that was dedicated to giving healing energy to Kate Bornstein. We all signed a card before people went off to their various corners/trees/button bogs/home to have some privacy.
After a performance, during a dance party, I literally lost three hours. I thought it was 11PM and it was 2AM. All concept of time was erased that night.
I cuddled on mushroom pillows.
I did yoga in a field of soft fake grass and confetti. I never thought I would be able to say that. It was messy and liberating.
I knitted. A lot. Many times during those two weeks I just packed up my knitting and hopped the train to the Forest. Quito brought a chair up from the green room just for me knitting. One time I wore fairy wings while I knitted.
I watched Quito read from their upcoming book about Brooklyn nightlife and saw a lot of amazing photos of me and my friens from 2009-2011.
I laughed hysterically as a bunch of buttons clattered out of my bra on the floor of the bathroom.
I saw people get rope suspension in the trees. It was so beautiful.
I got yelled at by security for loitering in the wrong part of the building but my companion sweet talked them into letting us look at the view of Manhattan at night anyway.
And so much more. The Forest of the Future was an extraordinary thing in which linear time didn’t exist and reminded me how all amazing things don’t have to exist forever to change you forever.
*My friend Silas Howard and Justin Vivian Bond and others are fundraising to make a video of the “Golden Age of Hustlers.” The video is going to be an homage to queers, transfolks, sex workers and will be really beautiful. They need to meet their fundraising goal really soon and can use any help you can donate!