Embrace the Holiday Spirit with Thorgy Thor’s Guide to New York City
From Christmas lights in Queens to gift shopping in Brooklyn.
Before bringing Brooklyn to the main stage on the eight season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the third season of All Stars, Thorgy Thor was representing the borough—and all of New York City—hard. “I grew up on Long Island and I’ve been living in New York City for 18 years. I could count on one hand how many queens were actually working and performing in Brooklyn—and in every borough,” she tells us on a call she took from her Greenpoint apartment. “I really was the first Brooklyn queen to have a blast [on Drag Race] and make a really good representation of what everyone thinks is hairy, gross, sloppy, drunk queens. And, yes, we all are.”
With the holidays around the corner—and her Deck The Balls! NYC Cabaret Christmas Show on December 14—we turned to the longtime New Yorker for an insider’s guide on how to experience the city during this time of year, from where to get your gift shopping done to the quiet wine bars to escape to.
Eat & Drink
“In Greenpoint, there’s these tiny wine bars that are tucked in the corners that are very quiet, very lovely, sometimes expensive. I'm an entertainer, but I'm a Gemini, so I'm a yin and yang. So, you can imagine my other side: I need retrospective time to myself. Those little wine spots that are pricey, but you pay for this really quiet ambiance that isn't in the heart of bustling Williamsburg. Greenpoint is a lot quieter, and that's why I love being here.
With that said, I live right by Lobster Joint, and I always go there. You can get a lobster roll year round—it’s wonderful. And they have all these Brooklyn beers on tap, so you drink local beers. They always change it up and you can just hang out.
The other thing I love doing during Christmas is inviting a bunch of friends over to my apartment. We'll make Hot Toddies or we'll do whiskey hot beverages, I'll buy a bunch of mugs, and we’ll go walk down Franklin Avenue by the water and we'll walk all the way down to Williamsburg and back, and we'll just get wasted.”
Bushwick Flea Market: “Flea markets are my favorite thing, and I love the Bushwick Flea. They do move around a lot, so a simple Google search will let you know. My friend Crystal Hart, she's amazing. She's a hippie-dippy Brooklyn drag sister of mine and she's a Tarot card reader. She's a psychic, she's very cool. She's going to be selling items at the Brooklyn Flea and giving Tarot card readings with crystals and spiritual and magic garbage. I'm totally not from that, so I make fun of her constantly, but I think it's very cool what she's doing.
To get me in the holiday spirit, I do this with all my Brooklyn friends: Everyone brings a $30, $40, $100 gift and you throw it in a pile and everyone picks out a number and everyone gets to pick a gift and swap with everyone before them. Flea markets are really good for gifts because you don't want to wrap up an Ikea gift for somebody; they can get that themselves. You want to find something magnificent. ‘I got you this milk-glass chandelier from…’”
The Thing: “I don't want to spoil it, but I'll do it because these people are amazing. There is this thrift store called The Thing, which is blocks from me on Manhattan Avenue. I talk to the owners, everyone who works there knows me. I film things downstairs. So downstairs—you don't even know this because sometimes they block it off—is this giant vintage record collection for sale. Upstairs, I think what they do is go all over the country and go to estate sales and they just buy these huge estate sales, and then they sell all this stuff. So, it’s an eclectic flea market-y, messy, dig-through-dirty-clothing shop. Bring your rubber gloves and go digging and you will find treasures, treasures, treasures there. And they just make up prices on the spot, and they're very fair and lovely. It's just right by my house. This is my neighborhood, so I love it. Come enjoy it with me!”
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Manhattan: “A lot of New Yorkers will think this is garbage because it's very touristy, but I think that's what makes New York so special: It's taking a walk in the snow on The High Line. There's eight million tourists, but just do it. Just do it in the cold, it's lovely.
Also, going to Rockefeller Plaza, you wait in line for two hours and you go skating on the ice for 20 minutes—just do it, take pictures, go see the big tree. And I always go to the St. Patrick's Cathedral to light candles for everyone in my family who just keeps passing away. It's very Christmasy to me because Christmas is always a time to think about those we've lost. Things we're grateful for, and just beautiful architecture and history in the heart of New York City. So, I always do that and it's really, it's humbling.”
Drive through Queens and Long Island: “I’m from Long Island and I'm one of the only Brooklyn queens who I know has a car. I still have a car because my family's all from Long Island. So, what gets me in the holiday spirit is that I'll get in the car with some of my friends and we'll go driving through Queens and I'll go visit my family in Ronkonkoma and we'll drive around and watch all the houses with their lights.
You can Google the best blocks. The people are in competitions and they give away prizes on Long Island for the best blocks. The communities come together and go, ‘All right, we have to beat these bitches.’ You just drive down and sometimes there's a line of cars and you take pictures. I think it's wonderful how people are spending their energy doing that instead of watching TV on the couch. It builds community.”