"I need to go back and get a fisting kit," said a bearded gentleman in a black leather harness to his friend, similarly attired, as they walked past me, sipping frozen cocktails from plastic penises at the 18th Annual Folsom Street East street festival this past Sunday.
Folsom Street East is the largest outdoor fetish street festival on the East Coast, inspired by San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair, which started in 1984. On a fine Father's Day in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, the length of 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues was filled with people in all manner of leather, latex, and rubber attire. There were chainmail jockstraps, corsetry, latex helmets, leather leashes, chaps, and so much more. Festival goers visited booths celebrating kink in all its forms, from purveyors of leather harnesses to bondage clubs to motorcycle groups. Health and activist organizations also handed out condoms and lube, urging attendees to "fuck smarter," as ACT UP said at their booth. And this year, the festival benefitted the New York City Anti-Violence Project and Visual AIDS charities (FSE has donated more than $250,000 to a myriad of charities since the festival began).
Eager participants were whipped, spanked, paddled, and tied up by those who were more than happy to oblige them. Though no genitals could be exposed, and complete nudity and sexual activity were forbidden in public, I saw many bare butt cheeks and a diverse mix of sexual interests. Here are some photos from the festival.
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