I am having my annual post-Christmas in New York week. Rather than staying in a 40 storey hotel in Times Square, we are in an apartment in Greenwich Village. It costs $2000 a week and is basically a corridor with furniture. You could only use the bath if you were appearing in the Wizard of Oz as a Munchkin. No cats will ever be swung in it. It is a very old building and between 5am and 10pm the pipes cry out as if continuously in pain. But it is only a few doors away from the Stonewall Tavern - so I like the feeling that I am walking down the same streets where angry drag queens defiantly did chorus-line kicks and set the birth of Gay Liberation in motion (in America at least - in the UK, it all happened anyway, and with a lot less fuss and excitement, but that's one of the many differences between the two countries).
New York no longer feels unfamilar - this must be my 15th or so trip here, but it always feels different. And one of the things about visiting a place every 12 months, is that it is different slightly from the last time I was here. There was one year when all the men had beards. That fad seems to have died out thankfully (they're so scratchy), but the latest fashion appears to be little dogs. I saw about 10 this morning, most of them being walked by 30 and 40 something gay men.
I hate little dogs - while I like dogs generally, if I was ever to have one, it would have to be capable of killing someone or at least maiming them. All that little dogs can do is annoy and wee themselves with excitement every ten minutes or so. But it's sort of heartening that the gay men of Greenwich Village have all taken it upon themselves to make a commitment to something other than their pectoral muscles. I have a theory that people who get little dogs actually want to have children and settle down. The little dogs are like those little stablising wheels on bikes that children have. And the next stage will be actual long term relationships and real children. So my prediction is that in two years time I'll be coming here and seeing lots of gay men with pushchairs (or strollers in their language).
And there'll be a sad dog pound somewhere in Brooklyn which will reverebrate with the sound of a thousand abandoned little dogs.