Montreal & NYC ::: A (non) Comparison

Posted on July 23rd, 2009 by .

I recently spent a weekend in New York City. It was my first time (which was quite apparent if you were following my tweets). That’s right, I was a NYC virgin, and I just got my cherry popped big time. And it was amazing.

But wait, am I allowed to gush about a different city? I mean, I write a blog about gay life in Montreal; my task is to help you develop a colossal crush on my city. Isn’t this a slight (and by ‘slight’ I mean ‘huge’) conflict of interest? Should I fear for my job?

I’m willing to take that risk.

I will unabashedly state that New York City is fabulous, and that it should clearly be on the destination list of each gay traveler. Ultimately I don’t fear for my job because I think it’s pointless to try to compete with NYC. It’s like comparing a Big Apple to a buttery patisserie, or in gay language, a Chelsea muscle boy to a dashing Mile-End alt-queer artist . Sometimes you want to eat an apple, sometimes you want to eat an artist… errr… I mean, a patisserie.

There are many wonderful things to do in both cities. Here are a few recommendations that might help you gain insight to the common threads that run through NYC and Montreal…

If you like “X” in NYC, you should try “Y” in Montreal
A NYC-influenced list for Montreal bound travelers…

  • If iconic landmarks are your thing, then the Statue of Liberty would most definitely be on your NYC list. Montreal’s equivalent is the Olympic Tower. The big “O”, as we call the stadium, features the largest inclined tower in the world (in yer face Pisa!) Home to the 1976 Olympics, go visit and get your “O” face on.
  • If you like NYC bagels, then you need to try Montreal bagels. This is actually when I will make a definitively bold statement – Montreal bagels are better than NYC bagels. I’m just speaking my truth here. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and just a hint of sweetness, make sure you pick one up fresh. Try St. Viateur or Fairmont and ask for a hot one!
  • I’m a sucker for a rubdown, so if you enjoy the steamy services at the Russian Baths on 10th St, you might want to check out Montreal’s own Hammam at Studio Beauté du Monde. Services range from massage to waxing to black soap exfoliation.
  • If green space is an important part of your travels, then you’ll want to check out Parc Mont Royal. Designed by the same man who conceptualized Central Park, Parc Mont Royal is a couple hundred acres of roaming opportunity, including look out points that give the BEST views of the city.
  • It’s tough to make comparisons to Greenwich Village, but Montreal’s Plateau is Canada’s equivalent. With the highest concentration of artists in any Canadian city, the Plateau is a charming place to stroll hand-in-hand with your honey while popping your head into vintage shops and sinful bakeries.
  • If historic hotels peak your interest, then you are familiar with The Hotel Chelsea (which incidentally was home to a couple famous Montrealers including Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright). Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel is less bohemian and more swank, but it was the choice for John Lennon and Yoko Ono for their momentous “bed-in” back in 1969, where they recorded the infamous track, “Give Peace a Chance”.

If there is something you love about NYC, but that I have not included, send me a message on Facebook or add a comment below. I’ll help you find something uniquely Montreal!

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