As featured in Connextions Magazine Issue 12. Click to read.
North Jersey Pride - June 9, 2013
Having been to dozens upon dozens of pride festivals over the years, I can honestly say that North Jersey Pride offered something I have never experienced at a previous event. The 2013 festival boasted over 80 vendors, and 3,000 visitors, with headlining entertainment including, Newark Mayor Cory Booker who gave a powerful speech that had the crowd roaring with energy. What’s unique wasn’t the attendees or entertainers, it was the atmosphere.
Before making the 4 hour drive to Maplewood, New Jersey, myself, along with my partner and my teenage daughter made a pit-stop to pick up my daughter’s high school friend who would join us for the day. I went to great lengths, explaining to the friend’s mother, that we were headed to a “gay” pride event and her daughter may encounter some eccentric individuals, either dressed in drag or barely dressed at all.
Pride events have always been the ‘safe zone’ to let your freak flag fly, although I have always found it somewhat disconcerning, since the LGBT community fights so hard to be treated as an equal, yet thrives at the chance to show the world what they look like in ass-less chaps. Having come out of the closet at age 23, with two kids in tow, one of the first things on my agenda was to hit up a pride festival and meet others that I could relate to. But a pride event back in the early 90’s was never a place for children and families.
Finally, after two decades and dozens of LGBT events over the years, North Jersey Pride offered me a festival I was proud to bring my children to! Various vendors with unique items for sale; more dogs in attendance than drag queens; a courtyard playground area for children, including face painting; and a delicious array of specialty food choices, such as lobster rolls, vegan wraps, Ethiopian buffet, and rainbow cupcakes. What’s more unique is that the great lawn area welcomes blankets for lounging and your own picnic basket of treats, if you should choose to bring one.
Founded in 2011 and an attendance growth of over 400% in such a short time, these pride volunteers at North Jersey Pride deserve huge kudos for their efforts in offering an event that the suburban gay community can bring their entire family too, including grandparents!
As featured in Connextions Magazine, Issue 12 - CLICK HERE to read this issue.
Click any photo below for a slideshow view.
NYC-JC Guest Suites, a luxury Boutique Hotel located in Jersey City offering the best skyline views of New York, is pleased to announce their new dinner service, created to enhance the visitor experience.
Jarl Haugedal, co-owner of NYC-JC Guest Suites, says “We believe that our food service will bring about the kind of ambiance usually reserved for romantic dinners at home, but brought right to your suite!” The new dinner service offers the option of three amazing Prix-Fixe choices, comprised as a 3-course meal, cultivated from local markets, and changes seasonally depending on availability.
Chef Andrew Xavier is anchoring the new dinner service, using his French-technique and past experience at Highlawn Pavilion and The Manor in West Orange, NJ.
Adding the new dinner service to NYC-JC Guest Suites creates the perfect combination of en elegant hotel along with palate pleasing food delivered directly to your suite - bringing you all the comforts of home.
“Food is a gateway to other people’s cultures and the soul of all things delicious”
-Executive Chef Andrew Xavier
A Day of Free Concerts to Celebrate Resorts’ Enhanced Beach Vibe and Margaritaville Launch - June 15, 2013
On June 15, hit musicians Andy Grammer, Mac McAnally and Wilson Phillips will take their acts to the Atlantic City beach for a day of free concerts hosted by Resorts Casino Hotel. Staged on The LandShark Beach at Resorts from 1 p.m. into the evening (the last concert starts at 7 p.m.), this major event will “seat” music lovers, beachgoers and gamers on the sand for a series of 90-minute sets interspersed with DJ entertainment, prize giveaways, and more.
Kicking off a summer series of great entertainment at Resorts, the June 15 concerts will celebrate Resorts’ enhanced beach vibe and the launch of its $35-million Margaritaville casino and entertainment complex. Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville is slated to open Memorial Day
Weekend. Among the attractions it will introduce to the Boardwalk is the only year-round bar directly on the Atlantic City beach – LandShark Bar & Grill – just steps across the sand from the concert site.
Andy Grammer launched onto the national music scene in 2012 as the first male pop star since John Mayer to reach the adult pop radio Top 10 on his first two singles. His “Keep Your Head Up” is certified Gold and fast approaching Platinum, and a recent national tour with Train set the stage for the former Santa Monica street performer’s own 2013 headline tour in 2013.
Mac McAnally, the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year for five years running, is celebrating the release of his 11th album, Live in Muscle Shoals. His longtime association with Jimmy Buffett – as songwriter, producer of several Buffett albums, and member of his touring Coral Reefer Band – makes him a natural for the June 15 concert. McAnally cemented his status as a hit maker in 1981 when Alabama took his “Old Flame” to No. 1.
Wilson Phillips comes to the Atlantic City beach fresh off the April release by Sony Masterworks of Dedicated, the famed female trio’s long-awaited album covering hits by The Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas. Sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson,
daughters of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, daughter of The Mamas & The Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips, first merged their talents in 1990 with the eponymous, chart-topping Wilson Phillips. The lifelong friends also star this spring in Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On, a TV Guide Network reality show.
The Beach at Resorts is located at the northern end of the Boardwalk, at North Carolina Avenue. Concert-goers will find multiple, secured points of entry and are invited to bring their beach towels, blankets or chairs, as well as food. Alcoholic beverages will not be permitted.
About Resorts Casino Hotel
The resort that brought gaming to Atlantic City in 1978, Resorts Casino Hotel is at the top of its game today, offering world-class casino action in a relaxed environment that keeps the focus on fun. Resorts Casino Hotel made history as the first American casino outside of Nevada and will celebrate its 35th anniversary in May 2013 with a new milestone: the opening of a $35-million Margaritaville casino and entertainment complex that will include, among other attractions, the only beach bar on the Atlantic City sand. For the latest updates and photos on the project, and celebratory giveaways and perks, keep in touch with us online at facebook.com/resortscasino, twitter.com/resortscasino instagram.com/resortscasino and youtube.com/resortscasino.
Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority assumed management of Resorts Casino Hotel in Fall 2012 – a move that has set the stage for its return as the most exciting gaming destination in Atlantic City. Boasting a prime location spanning 11 acres at the northern end of the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, the resort features 942 guest rooms and suites in two hotel towers, a 99,951-square-foot casino, two theaters, six restaurants, two VIP slot and table player lounges, a casino bar, indoor-outdoor swimming pool, health club and spa, salon, and retail shops. Its 39,000 square feet of sophisticated meeting space includes seven meeting rooms and a 13,000-square-foot ballroom. For more information, visit http://www.resortsac.com
The Hibernia Diner
9 Green Pond Road
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Making the 3 1/2 hour drive from Upstate New York to New York City is a regular occurance for me. Depending on the time of year, I have been known to make the trip 4 or 5 times per month. If you are not familiar with the area, you might find it strange to learn that the quickest way to the 'Big Apple' from the center of New York State, is to drive south through Pennsylvania; cross the Delaware Water Gap; drive an hour through New Jersey; and finally land in New York City via tunnel or bridge.
On the drive home, off Rt. 80 West (exit 37) is the Hibernia Diner, which has become a regular stop. Since they are open 24 hours a day, there is never a concern about my arrival time.
The menu is loaded with options to please any taste. From omlets, eggs and homemade potato pancakes, to burgers, wraps and panini's, the choices are pretty much endless. One of my favorites is the fresh Raspberry Chicken Waldorf salad, which includes field greens, grilled chicken breast, raisins, toasted walnuts, apples, strawberries and raspberry vinaigrette.
The staff is always friendly and welcoming; the diner is spacious with plenty of seating; and there is ample parking space.
A plus: There are two gas stations right next to Hibernia Diner and without fail, I will fill up before getting back on the road -- the main reason: I am in New Jersey and they will pump my gas for me! NJ is one of the last remaining states that requires full service at the pump. There are good arguments on both sides of whether this controversial law should remain, or if the public should be allowed to pump the gas themselves. Since I don't live in the state, I appreciate the service -- but I bet if I worked in NJ full time and was in a hurry (as many residents are), I might get a bit aggravated if I had to wait for an attendant to pump my gas.
Are all Hibachi Restaurants the same?
If you’ve never been, here’s the definition of hibachi, or as some call it,
“Japanese fire bowl”:
Hibachi: a portable barbecue of Japanese design, with a base for the fire with vents under it and one or more adjustable cooking racks
We visited two hibachi restaurants and then had to question if all the employees, of all these separately owned establishments, learn their technique at the same school…? There is one recognizable difference about these two restaurants, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The first restaurant we visited was Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse in Liverpool, New York.
Here’s the skinny:
Favorite drink: Fujiyama – peach brandy & rum mix $7.50
Favorite appetizer: Eda Mame – boiled soybean pods, lightly salted $4.95
Favorite hibachi dinner: Chicken Teriyaki $18.50
Add: fried rice $1.95 extra
Add: fried noodles $1.95 extra
Dinner comes with soup AND salad
Total meal for one: $34.85, plus tax & tip
Great entertainment by the hibachi trained chef, who wore a spongebob chef’s hat.
The second restaurant we enjoyed was the Teppan Bar & Grill in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Here’s the scoop:
Favorite drink: Hello Kitty - TY KU liqueur (Sake Liqueur), vodka and lemonade $6.00
Favorite appetizer: Grilled Chicken Satay – chicken on skewers with spicy peanut sauce $6.95
Favorite hibachi dinner: Chicken dinner $18.00
Add: fried rice $2.00 extra
Dinner comes with hibachi noodles and soup OR salad
Total meal for one: $32.95 plus tax & tip
Also great entertainment by the hibachi trained chef, including egg tosses and fire shows on the grill.
Both restaurants had engaging chef’s that offered a flamboyant show, which included flipping shrimp into their chefs’ hats and pockets, tossing and cracking eggs with a knife, and lighting volcano-shaped stacks of raw onion hoops on fire. The atmosphere of dining hibachi style is fun and always filled with energy. So, with the cost of dinner and entertainment at each of the two restaurants being almost identical, the only major difference was that at Teppan Bar & Grill in Jersey City, the chef’s carry a water bottle on their prep cart. This ‘special’water bottle contains sake liqueur, which they squeeze from a distance, creating a sake
stream, landing into participating guests mouths. This turns up the excitement level a bit, and from my experience, creates a rolling laughter throughout the restaurant!
Gay owned Hotel & Suites, NYC-JC is offering 20% off your stay with promo code: Connextions
The luxury accommodations are located in Jersey City. Just outside the hotel door is the path train that will take you to the World Trade Center in less than 2 minutes.
Experience New York City like you never have before. Imagine rolling over in bed and opening your eyes to view one of the most beautiful skylines ever envisioned just across the Hudson River. Doing this from a luxurious styled apartment is not something that everyone can afford.
Jarl Haugedal felt that everyone should have the opportunity for some upper class treatment and feel without having to dig deep into all pockets to get there. It is a truly amazing feeling to spend an entire day of shopping in the bustle of one of the most renowned cities in the world and be able to kick back in a
peaceful atmosphere with all the amenities of home. 3-bedrooms available that can sleep up to eight people with NO additional charge, family and friends alike can indulge worry free.
Walking into NYC-JC you will immediately feel like a VIP as you are personally greeted at check-in and escorted to your accommodations. If you can catch your breath after it is stolen by the view walking through the door, you will find a fully
furnished, clean, spacious modern designed apartment. An implausible kitchen for creating your own meals, with the option of having the fridge stocked with your needs prior to your arrival!
Also pet friendly to include a mini-self spa to pamper your pooch, a doggie playground and dog walk. To indulge your self while staying, there is a gym, a moving screening room, conference center, and the hard to find in the city, swimming pool and poolside BBQ located on the eleventh floor with the skyline as your backdrop.
Whether your stay is corporate or a getaway vacation, long or short term, the experience will be that of beyond satisfaction. Outstanding living coupled with the quiet streets and exquisite architecture of Jersey City, your day begins and ends in total relaxation providing you with the energy to keep up with tireless New Yorkers just minutes away.
See all the fabulous photos of NYC-JC in Connextions Magazine: http://issuu.com/Connextionsmag/docs/issue1ny/27
Or check out their website at http://www.nyc-jc.com
LGBT in America - New Jersey
An Exclusive Series by Connextions Magazine
By Edward Truth, Contributing Writer for Connextions Magazine
History has proven that progress is rarely welcomed unanimously. So it is with LGBT life in America. Compelling and controversial, the civil rights saga spans geography and geneerations, binding each new chapter to the last, embracing diversity, building from blueprints yet undrawn.
As one of the thirteen colonies to secede from Britain during the American Revolution, New Jersey started as a leader, and recently The Garden State stepped up as a voice against prejudice and mediocrity in American politics. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the state became a symbol of bipartisanship when Governor Chris Christie (R) schooled House Republicans on the importance of giving aid to disaster victims, regardless of state-party affiliation. When it comes to protecting the disenfranchised against an indifferent system, Christie hasn't always done the right thing. But equality advocates can find some solace in progress, as the state now contends with threats that really do matter—like community-crushing natural disasters—instead of focusing on what a great deal of Americans now consider their right: marriage.
New Jersey doesn't allow same-sex couples to marry, but instead offers the civil union as a type of recognition for families who might be better served by marriage. As a growing number of states have recognized, civil unions fail because they invite discrimination and create more harm outside the state by offering a separate and unequal status to taxpaying residents looking to start families. Since 2007, the state has recognized same-sex marriages from other states or foreign countries as civil unions, and in 2010 the state Senate rejected attempts to legalize marriage for same-sex couples—the fight is currently being waged in the trial courts. But the pressing issue of marriage equality will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, who announced in December
it would hear the California Prop 8 case, potentially changing the face of equality in America by affecting an integral and growing segment of the population, just as Lawrence v. Texas (2003) and Loving v. Virginia (1967) did before.
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Photo credit: Revel Entertainment
The Historic Boardwalk
Originally built in 1870 and the first in American history, an 8’ wide wooden foot-walk was constructed for one purpose – to keep the sand out of the hotel lobbies and train cars. In 1889, a devastating hurricane hit the island and with most of the city under 6’ of water, the boardwalk was destroyed.
Today, the approximately 6 mile long, 60’ wide boardwalk, is planked in a herringbone pattern on top of a concrete and steel substructure, with steel railings along one side to keep
walkers, bikers, and rolling wicker chair riders from falling to the beach below.
What makes the experience of gaming in Atlantic City so much different than other world-renowned casinos found in such places as Las Vegas and Connecticut?
First and foremost, a favorite attraction for tourists is the beach, and the many beach front hotel rooms located on ‘casino row.’ Another highlight of getting your game on in AC, would be the infamous boardwalk, which allows guests to scamper from casino to casino, by way of fresh ocean air. Neither of which are attainable at Casino’s NOT located on oceanfront property.
AC boasts a modest 12 casinos, each offering a unique theme and flair. The newest gaming resort, Revel, opened in 2012 and brings a theatrical setting, social aspects of a party, high fidelity gaming, and unbeatable entertainment. Upcoming performers at the Revel Ovation Hall in 2013 include such celeb’s as Rihanna & Alicia Keys. In 2012, Revel featured performers such as Kanye West in three New Year’s weekend shows, along with Beyonce, who kicked off the official grand opening weekend of this $2.4 billion dollar entertainment resort.
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Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle Magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler, is your trusted resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel destinations, vacation ideas, fun travel videos, LGBTQ travel guides and the latest news relevant to our entire rainbow community. Connextions Magazine focuses on celebrating the LGBTQ Traveler providing information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel, our LGBTQ culture, the diverse style of our rainbow community, adventures, gay romance, tips for Lesbian Moms, Gay Dads, Bisexual, Transgender Parents and families.
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MISSION: Connextions Magazine celebrates the LGBT traveler. Making connections to travel like a local, whether on a quick weekend getaway or a luxury vacation, Connextions transports our readers through dazzling photography and insightful content about travel, dining, culture and style to destinations and memorable travel experiences across the globe.