white gay cruising in Prospect Park - Thursday July 11 2002

The weather is almost cool today. I'm sure that at her writer's sabbatical up in northern Vermont Gretchen thinks it's the climate, but really it's just one hell of a cold air mass.

Reuters is reporting that the music industry is now pleading in the press for us to please stop downloading music for free. The article quotes John Kennedy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Music International, as saying, "If the prevailing music for free mentality is left unchecked, record companies will no longer be able to re-invest up to 15 percent of their revenues in discovering and nurturing the Platinum artists [emphasis mine] of the future." That's right, you heard it from the Man himself. If we keep it up, there will no longer be the money to discover and sustain such phenoms as N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys. What sort of world would that be?

Sunset behind the spires of Park Slope, Brooklyn,
viewed from my brownstone's rooftop
(near the northeast corner of Park Slope).

Lower Manhattan from Park Slope. Click to enlarge.

Lower Manhattan from Park Slope. Compare to World Trade Center disaster images on this page.

The corner of Prospect Park West (top)
and President Street (coming in from the bottom).

8:33pm EDT: Sunset south of the tip of Manhattan from Park Slope.
It looks like it's setting in the ocean but that's actually New Jersey.

By now my readers are well-acquainted with Prospect Park's Vale of Cashmere, the condom-strewn sector of ancient forests and water fountains lining Flatbush Avenue (across from the Botanical Gardens on the park's eastern Crown Heights side). Gretchen and I walk Sally there twice each day and most of the people we pass are young Caribbean men cruising for anonymous sex with other young Caribbean men. Being white and having a dog, most of these men ignore me completely, although occasionally one will ask me if I know what time it is (and I never do).
After dark the Vale is far too creepy for dog walking, but by that time it's legal to walk Sally in the Long Meadow off leash, so that's what I do for Sally's midnight run. Variations on this theme include walks along the forested strip lining Prospect Park West (on the Park's toniest Park Slope side). This strip is considerably narrower than its opposite at the Vale of Cashmere, but the two strips nonetheless share similarities. After dark, you see, this side of Prospect Park is transformed from a family-friendly riot of strollers and Jamaican nannies into a hardcore gay cruising scene. Park authorities are evidently more embarrassed by the cruising on this side than they are in the lawless Vale of Cashmere because they have installed numerous fences across the strip to curtail the free movement of pedestrians on paths through the woods. This has had the effect of moving most of the active cruising out of the woods and onto the brick-paved path itself. Ironically, the fences now provide increased privacy for the sexual encounters that are arranged. Unlike in the Vale, most of the cruising on this side appears to be among white men, some of whom even bring their dogs. This makes it much less comfortable for me to walk Sally here. I find a lot more cruisy behavior being directed at me. Guys pass me and then stop and turn around, or they come at right angles to my path several dozen feet ahead and then stop and wait, just off the trail, continuing to move the moment I've passed, often following me. Tonight I was especially creeped out by this little guy in jogging shorts who kept following me at an uncomfortable distance. I'd stop and get off the path to let him pass and then he'd only go fifty feet and stagger around in circles until I'd caught up with him again. He seemed like he was really messed up in some way - either drunk or lobotomized, like that dude in the movie Hannibal. Whatever it was, I didn't want any.

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