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Hottest spots for Gay Cruising in NYC (2019)

Gay cruising in NYC is the perfect way to meet hot, single gay men looking for fun, dates, and relationships. Learn more about what it is and how to get started here!

Gay cruising, aka cottaging, is searching for casual hookups with other gay males in random locations, including parks, Home Depot(yes!) public restrooms, and other public spaces. Gay cruising culture involves anonymous sex and sex between men with no strings attached. Whether you’re looking for some action on a nude beach, public toilet, or glory hole, cruising can be a fun and exciting way to meet new people. And even if you don’t hook up with anyone, it’s still a great way to get some exercise and explore your city! So what are you waiting for? Grab your backpack, sunglasses, and lube, and hit the streets!

Gay cruising in NYC

Flex Spa is a gay bathhouse in Los Angeles where you will find gay cruising.
Credit: Flex Spa

Best types of gay cruising spots

Today, gay hookups continue to happen even during this coronavirus epidemic. There are plenty of spaces you can go to meet men.

  • Parks- They are familiar places where you’ll find men cruising. Here in New York, the Ramble, a public space, is a popular area for gay hookups. It’s a section in Central Park.
  • Bars- At gay bars, you’ll find hot men standing around on their hookups seeking men-to-men sex.. The Eagle NYC is a queer bar for openly gay and closeted men who love to have sex, are into leather, or into different types of fetishes. If you see someone in the dark corner on their knees you know what’s going down.
  • Bathhouses- Saunas and bathhouses are usually gay-friendly and are the best places for hooking up. Months ago I went to a sauna and it was lit. From the time I was in the locker room, I knew the vibes. People already know what takes place at a sauna so you won’t have to guess whether or not to approach a guy. One of the most popular bathhouses is the East Side Club. Russian and Turkish Baths is co-ed but all men on Thursday nights which is when a lot of hooking up takes place.
  • Gyms- I don’t want to spill too much tea but this happens more than the average person expects. In the sauna, it goes down. You’ll find same-sex couples and openly gay men in different gyms, including Planet Fitness and New York Sports Club.

How did gay cruising start?

It’s often said that gay cruising started in this country around the 1920s. In New York, one of the gay Hotspots for queer men to get “busy” was Fire Island. Gay men could also network with other gay men and find comfort in just being themselves.

Gay cruising happened much more during World War 2. The government and society, in general, were against homosexuality and did everything in their power to keep from being in the service. However, US soldiers were desperately needed. And so, both straight and homosexual men enlisted in large numbers during that war.

Even though homosexuality was against the law, queer men still slept with each other. They would meet in the barracks and other places for casual hookups. Even men with wives who claimed to be straight were hooking up with other men.

After World War 2, gay sex happened even more. Hooking up in public was illegal, and two men couldn’t even have sex with each other in their own homes. Despite these anti-LGBT rules, some gay men were open with their sexuality and found places for casual sex encounters. They cruised in gay bars, parks, and alleys.

The peak of gay cruising


The peak of gay cruising happened during the Sex Revolution and the gay rights movement in the 1970s. If you know about hippies, you probably know about the 1970s and how freely people lived their lives. And after the Stonewall Riots, 1969 homosexuality became more accepted. Both straight and homosexual men felt more liberated ad hooked up than ever. In New York, Fire Island became gay. There began to be more gay bathhouses with saunas and showers. At these gay bathhouses, “everything and anything” went down. One of the most popular gay bathhouses was the Continental Bath. The space was lit. It was said that more than 500 people a day came to the bathhouse. So you can imagine all the sexcapades that were going on.

“By the time I’d left [the steam room] I’d have sexual contact with 150 different people”

David Wallace, patron who went to the Continental Bath

Gay hookups were so popular that there was even a gay film released in 1980 called  Cruising. The movie starred my favorite actor Al Pacino and was about a cop who stepped into the gay nightlife scene to track down a serial killer.

"Cruising" is a film about gay cruising in New York which reached its peak in the 1980s.
Credit: (Lorimar/Kobal/Shutterstock)

How was gay cruising in the 80s and 90s?

In the late 1980s, gay casual hookups weren’t happening as often. The HIV/AIDS epidemic struck the gay community and many hot spots in the United States closed down. One of my older gay mentors told me that during the 80s and 90s, he was going to at least one funeral every month. Even though other groups of persons were afflicted, HIV was considered a gay disease. Many gay bathhouses shut down, and the government cracked down on gay public sex.

Gay cruising tips

Steamworks, bathhouse where alot of gay cruising takes place.
Credit: Steamworks

Cruising can be fun but also dangerous if you recklessly. Here are some tips to hook up safely.

  1. Cruise at night. A gay hookup shouldn’t happen in public spaces throughout the day or in the morning. During the day more families and children are out, so you don’t want to take the risk of getting caught and embarrassing yourself
  2. Carry protection. Even if you don’t plan on having anal sex, still carry condoms. STDs spread fast in the gay community. Your physical health matters, so always protect yourself when having sex.
  3. Make eye contact and not stare. If you see another guy that you like or just want to make new friends just make eye contact. A person’s glance will tell you whether or not he’s interested. If he’s a straight man he may not even share a glance. So don’t stare. It’s creepy and will turn a lot of people off.
  4. Don’t follow anyone. If you sense a guy is interested in you, then say hello and see how he responds. His body language will give you the red or green like for a hookup. Don’t fall into the game of cat and mouse. There are undercover cops in cruising locations and they will give your ass a ticket or even arrest if you try to persuade them for sex.

Gay cruising apps

1. Jackd

As I mentioned above gay cruising is looking for sexual encounters with other men in public spaces. If you’re shy you can use gay hookup apps to hook up with other men. One of them is Jackd. This app is popular among black gay men. People often use it for hooking up but you can use it to also make friends.

2. Grindr

Grindr is another gay hookup. It was originally created for queer men but has expanded its target audience to include transgender, nonbinary, etc.

How to meet nice queer men without gay cruising?

Suppose you’re a person that’s not into casual sex encounters. That’s ok. There are many other ways to meet nice queer men, including going to brunches, bars, and places that interest you. You can feel safe and not worry about homophobic jerks harassing you.

Wrap up

If you’re looking for a hot guy for gay sex there are plenty of cruising grounds like home Depot and bathhouses for that. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, gay cruising in NYC has still been going on. It’s the perfect way to spice up your sex life by exploring different sexual fantasies and kinks in an erotic setting that caters specifically to queer people of all ages, genders, races, and orientations. Whether you’re looking for some male-on-male action on hookup apps and sites like Grindr, Scruff, or; some male-female hookups on Tinder; or want to explore more taboo fetishes such as BDSM through Fetlife (formerly known as Recon), there’s something for everyone at one of these.