The Best New Year's Kiss I Ever Had
Papi Juice illustrator Mohammed Fayaz finds community and cuties one fateful night at the QTPOC Brooklyn party.
Photo of Mohammed Fayaz by Cristobal Naranjo Guerra.
This weekend, THUMP honors Pride with a celebration of all aspects of LBGTQ nightlife in NYC and beyond. Follow our Pride Weekend coverage here.
Mohammed Fayaz is the in-house illustrator for Papi Juice, a Brooklyn-based art collective throwing parties that celebrate and uplift queer and trans people of color. Papi Juice features resident DJs Adam Rhodes and Oscar Nñ and photographer Cristobal Naranjo Guerra. Past featured acts include Princess Nokia, Juliana Huxtable, Njenna Reddd Foxx, and nearly every queer DJ of color in the New York nightlife scene.
Papi Juice's three-year anniversary party is one of our 10 best pride parties happening this weekend in New York and takes place tonight at Baby's All Right in Williamsburg.
Papi Juice was founded in the summer of 2013, and before I joined the team, I was just a regular old cutie at this party celebrating people who looked and talked and danced like me. Back then we were at One Last Shag, this tiny little dive bar with a huge backyard, and we have had so many hot and sweaty moments on the dancefloor with so many cuties. It was a smaller community back in the day—a different beast than the party is now—and walking into one often meant running into old friends and new flames and former lovers like crazy.
The party really thrives in the summertime—when people are in the mood for rum, and aren't dealing with coat checks—but there is one December party that still shines so bright in my mind. New Year's Eve 2013 into 2014 was our first Papi New Year. Anyone can tell you that New Year's Eve in New York is a shit show, so the fact that a Papi Juice was happening and was popping off that night meant that a lot of characters were coming out the woodwork.
Cue me and my best friend Christian, two Queens natives whose friendship had blossomed during 5 AM train rides home from Papi Juice. I was freelancing art for the party at this time, and was very, very familiar with a lot of the kids coming through, as was Christian. As we exited the G at Bedford-Nostrand, it was almost 11, and we were in chismosa mode, talking about all the cuties we knew for a fact would be in the room. There was the boy from London who was in and out of New York on the reg; there was the six foot two cutie I had met at Jacob Riis Park earlier that year; and there was this Uptown cutie Christian had been talking to for a little bit. Boy after boy after boy that was definitely gonna be there.
The second we walked in, we knew what was up. Every single person at the party was looking for that beautiful black or brown midnight kiss and it felt like a fish market. I clutched Christian instantly and whispered in his ear to stay with me through midnight at the very least. One Last Shag being the crowded lil dive bar it was, we got separated moments after getting in there.
"The jumpsuit I was wearing was sitting high and tight and every other cute boy in the room seemed to wanna let me know."—Mohammed Fayaz
I ran into the boy from London, and knew he'd be off to seek Christian, so I kept it moving, only to bump into the Jacob Riis cutie, who was there by himself and was gonna be hard to get away from. I made small talk and rebuffed some advances and kept it cute.
11:30. The jumpsuit I was wearing was sitting high and tight and every other cute boy in the room seemed to wanna let me know. I managed to stop for a quick photo with Cristobal near the bathrooms, because what's a new year's jumpsuit if you didn't get the photo in it?
11:45. Crunch time. I crawled atop on one of the benches to spot the back of Christian's head near the DJ booth. I snaked past friends with a quick kiss and snuck past someone I had just curved via text to grab my sister. Christian and I eased into the center of the dancefloor for optimum cushion between any unwarranted midnight smooches and as the crowd started counting down, I clutched my sister with ten seconds and counting, and planted a big juicy kiss on his cheek as we welcomed in the new year with many a curve. Cristobal caught it on camera!
I spent the rest of the night doing less avoiding and more flirting and gleefully lost Christian to the crowd.
Three years later, Papi Juice is bigger than it's ever been, and you could def avoid anyone you're tryna dodge. But I still hold those silly-ass dive bar days very close to my heart.