Justin Utley's New York City

By: Gay.com

Justin_Utley_1 Name: Justin Utley
Age: 32
Profession: Singer/Songwriter/Producer
City: New York City
Relationship Status: non-eligible bachelor
Sexuality: heterocurious

What are some of the things you love most about your city/town?

That I will never be able to do everything there is to do in this city.

What are some of your least favorite things about it?

That I will never be able to do everything there is to do in this city.

What gym do you like most? Why?

I hit the Gold's gym in Hells Kitchen, and a healthy mix of everyone and everything with equipment for people who actually go to the gym to workout. Another plus is that they have locations all over the country, so when I'm traveling for a gig I almost always have a place to workout.

What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends there?

Back Forty (East Village), 7A (East Village), Vynl (Hells Kitchen), HK (Hells Kitchen), Elmo (Chelsea), The Dish (Chelsea), Grand Sichuan (Chelsea), Garage (West Village), Chat & Chew (Union Square), Republic (Union Square). If you're uptown, hit Kitchenette or Deluxe for brunch the next morning (Morningside).

Is there a particular best place to "people watch" that most people not familiar with your town would find helpful?

Chelsea Piers is great in the summer, and Central Park is excellent year-round. The Bowery area still has its share of eccentric people, and you can't go wrong with either the East or Greenwich Village.

Justin_Utley_3 Are there any famous people from your town?

New York? Tons. I ran into Stanley Tucci last night in the village on my way to the Quad Cinema, and Anne Hathaway a few weeks ago in an antique shop near Union Square.

What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs? What do you like about them?

I'm pretty easy going as far as the bar scene goes. The more low-key the better, and I prefer to avoid overcrowds.

Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out?

I am not much of a fan of PDA's, particularly make outs. Plus, they've been proven to convert unsuspecting straight people to the dark side and I wouldn't want to be an accomplice to an earth shattering event like that.

What is the gay community like in your city? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?

Great thing about NYC is that you can be or make your own scene here. And you can certainly find the most niche scenes here too. Of course I'm in the music "scene", and the only other "scene" I consider myself a part of is the activism scene. There are some great organizations here with great people, but overall I see some frustrating complacency in the gay community and in the population as a whole. I hope that will change the more I'm involved and encourage others to take a stand for themselves, their family and their friends.

Do gay men and lesbians hang out in the same places in your town, or is that just a ridiculous notion?!

There seems to be a low ration of lesbian bars and clubs here, but they definitely have their territory. Though, most social events are frequented by both.

Justin_Utley_2 Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations there? Which ones?

Absolutely. I have been involved with Out In Front, OffSprung, and Empire State Pride Agenda. I recently attended a lobbying event in Albany, and met with members of the State Assembly and the Senate regarding their voting records and some important equality and discrimination bills that are coming up for a vote. I was also a co-chair for the New York Aids Walk this year.

Does your town have a LGBT pride celebration? Do you usually attend? What are the highlights for you? What do you like least about it?

One of the biggest in the country. I've attended and participated in New York Pride each year since I moved here. The first one I was on a float playing my guitar promoting my first album. The highlight for me is seeing Stonewall, where it all started, knowing it wasn't so long ago that it was illegal for me to even go out to hang out or drink with my friends. Really strikes a chord in me.

Do you have a particular fashion style?

I'm pretty particular about my guitars, but for me I'm a jeans & t-shirts kind of guy, so wherever has some good shirts that you won't see on 1000 other people is great with me, and you can find those shops anywhere and everywhere, not just on 5th Ave or in Macys. But, I do clean up well when I need to. Oh, and I have a very healthy supply of Calvins.

Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits?

Besides the obvious Broadway, I'm one for hitting the flicks, shows, and premiers only found in New York. There are lots of great museums everywhere, not just MoMa or the Met. From comedy shows at Caroline's to photography exhibits, there's always something to see or do. I usually find the good stuff in Time Out New York (magazine).

Justin_Utley_4 If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "musts" that you'd recommend they see or do?

This is between you and me..
a) a broadway show
b) shopping in SoHo
c) South Street Seaport
d) Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
e) Top of the Rock
f) Rice pudding at Rice To Riches
g) Pizza at Artichoke
h) Mac & Cheese at S'mac
i) Cupcakes at Crumbs or Big Booty Bakery
j) Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
k) See the massive pillow fight in Union Square on Easter Sunday
l) St. John the Divine Cathedral on 110th Street

If all else fails, I put a map of Manhattan on the wall with all the gay clubs/bars on it, let them throw darts and decide which to hit and/or give them money for an unlimited Metrocard and tell them to get lost. Literally. Since, its usually the times you get lost that you find some the coolest stuff in the city.

What city (or cities) in America would you most like to visit next, and why? Are there any specific spots there (theaters, nightclubs, historic sites, etc.) that you'd really like to see?

I just recently played a gig in Austin for the first time, and have to say that it is definitely up there on my list of favorite cities, next to New York and San Francisco. I'd like to check out Chicago, New Orleans, and Nashville mostly for their respective music scenes. I'm also on a quest to find the best Mac & Cheese in the country while I'm at it. Suggestions?

Justin_utley_our_country Justin has been cast as the lead in the new country musical "Our Country", by Tony Asaro and Dan Collins in New York City, opening June 21 as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity! For tickest and more information go to http://www.ourcountrytoo.com/.

Justin Utley's official website: http://www.justinutley.com/

Read the PlanetOut.com Profile: Justin Utley

(Images courtesy: Patrick Salazar)