Dave Hughes

Dave Hughes is a longtime member of New York’s leather/fetish/kink community.  He joined the Folsom Street East board in November 2013 as an at-large member; since then, he’s enthusiastically thrown himself into the work of making the 2014 street fair happen.  Here’s a little more about Dave in his own words.

How long have you been involved with FSE events? I first started attending Folsom Street East in 2003, the first year that I moved to NYC. That first year, I didn’t own any leather or rubber, so I showed up to the fair in a pink button down shirt… but I was lucky enough to meet some people who were willing to overlook my wardrobe. Let’s just say the following year I was sporting a bit more gear. That’s one of the things I love about FSE; it’s a welcoming environment for newcomers to the scene and it’s possible to meet people there who will help you along, whether you’re interested in BDSM play or lifestyle Dom/sub relationships or just like wearing a jockstrap and drinking a beer in the sunshine.

How long have you been involved with the FSE board? I worked on the Street Fair organizing committee briefly in 2005 and 2006, but was only elected to the FSE board in November 2013. I’m excited to be part of a team bringing NYC’s kinky community onto the streets.

What first drew you to FSE? I really, really like men in big black boots who look like refugees from a Tom of Finland coffee table book. And bears drinking beers in jockstraps under the clear blue sky. I was also lucky enough to know and be mentored by Folsom Street East’s founder John Weis, from whom I learned a lot about the value of making things that you want to happen happen.

What keeps you motivated and involved? I moved to New York many years ago because I wanted to live in a city that was cosmopolitan and weird, that had underground culture that throbbed with fun dark sexy energy, a city where people could self-define and where that self-definition was culturally supported, a city that changed and mutated and that celebrated rebellion. And I think that Folsom Street East is a particularly important institution in the tradition of NYC’s willful and bad-ass and constructive weirdness. Also: it is a fun party and I like fun parties and want them to continue to happen in NYC for generations to come.

What do you with the rest of your time? I am the VP of Marketing & PR at Nasty Pig. Additionally I am a deep house and techno DJ – I’ve recently played parties in NYC, Vancouver BC, Philadelphia and Atlanta. When I’m not emailing people trying to get stuff to happen, I also enjoy reading, arguing about politics, becoming engrossed in premium televised dramas, and Perfect Manhattans.

Interested in volunteering or vending at this year’s street fair?  Send mail to Dave.


Join Folsom Street East and our beneficiary AVP for BEAR-AOKE @ RockBar, Thursday, April 25th, at 8:30pm, hosted by FAB and Rockbar NYC!!!

Event sponsored by Folsom Street East; RockBar NYC; and Shane Tate of Beards & Bears Take Over!

Enjoy shot specials and enter to win the 50/50 raffle! Tickets are $1 for 1, $5 for 6, and $10 for a bear hug.

Not able to attend? Consider making a donation to AVP online.  100% of donations will go directly to AVP!

Find more info on AVP’s website, or RSVP on Facebook.

Founded in 1980, AVP provides free and confidential assistance to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected people each year from all five boroughs of New York City through direct client services and community organizing and public advocacy. Watch the video to learn more.

Last summer, over 400 of you responded to our online community survey, allowing us a unique opportunity to get to know you a little better. How much better?  Well, here are a few surprising discoveries we made:

Some ‘hoods are leather ‘hoods.  While a bare majority of our respondents live within a mile or two of our street fair location, lower Manhattan by no means has the market cornered on kink.  If you’re looking for a certain sort of “special friend”, fire up your phone app above 110th Street, in Astoria, or in Jersey City — the next three biggest concentrations of kinksters in the metro area.

Poke me hard.  Sure, you’re all over the bars, parties, apps and adult profile sites, too, but a plurality of you report meeting your new kinky friends on Facebook, of all places.

Friends before benefits.  So many of you handsome, horny devils descend on Chelsea each June, you’d think the urge to bump and grind would trump any other reason to be there.  But most of you report that your connection to the kink community and to your friends tops hot men and hookups when it comes to why you attend the fair.  Aww, we love you, too!  Big hugs!

You’ve got a huge heart-on.  One in three of you regularly donates time or money to charitable causes, many of them nonprofit organizations serving our community right here in NYC.  And that’s not even counting your support of Folsom Street East’s beneficiaries!  Your responses inspired us to look at an even broader array of groups where we can potentially lend our support.

Wanna geek out with more sexy facts?  Check out the summary of our survey findings on Slideshare.

New Philly Web Banner


Folsom Street East is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Leather Leadership Conference!  

LLC is a one-of-a-kind conference designed to sharpen your skills, broaden your horizons, and build your leather/kink/BDSM network.  Join other community leaders (established and up-and-coming) in Philadelphia April 11-13 for a weekend of education, entertainment, the Carter/Johnson Leather Library, amazing art exhibits, awards, book signings, the Leather Archives & Museum, a leather preservation intensive, bootblacking, a cigar social, a special DIY track, and so much more!

Presenters will be offering insight into their own history as well as hot-button topics we all face, like ‘Accounting & Financial Responsibility for Fiduciaries’, ‘Consent and Abuse Our Scene’ and ‘How to Do the Right Kinky Thing: Ethical Principles for BDSM’. We have representation from all walks of life and from around the world, including many folks who are teachers and trainers in their professional careers. Whoever you are and whatever you do in your community, there is something at LLC which will help you succeed!
Event registration is now open!  Group and volunteer rates are available.


Folsom Street East was the first pride event I ever attended back in 1999, and it has remained one of the high points of my social calendar ever since.  (That’s me on the left with a friend at the 2005 event —  young, dumb, and full of shaving cream.)  I’ve been involved in the fair in one capacity or another for most of its history, and for most of my own history as an out kinky gay man.  When I was invited to join the board in late 2012, I naturally jumped at the chance. So you can imagine my disappointment in joining the board’s decision to cancel last summer’s street fair.

The cancellation of the 2013 fair urged along some thoughtful conversations already going on among the board members about the community we serve.  We spent our efforts during the 2013 pride season getting to know you better.  Over 400 of you responded to our online community survey, a new thing for Folsom East and a rarity within leather/fetish/kink communities.  The data we gathered about you is helping shape a host of new initiatives (this revamped website among them) to keep you better informed about the work we do and the organizations we support.

The anonymous survey data has also been shared with the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago, so that researchers and community leaders around the globe can benefit from what we’ve learned.  Big thanks to Rick Storer and all at the Archives for their support, and to all of you who participated for contributing your time and your feedback.

Other, less fortunate events last summer were a strong reminder of how essential our beneficiaries are to the health of New York’s community.  At the moment when we were celebrating our fellow New Yorker Edie Windsor’s watershed civil rights victory in Washington, our sense of security here at home was challenged by a string of bias attacks, some culminating in deadly violence. 

Despite full legal recognition of our relationships, we still need resources to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and the ones we love from harm.  The LGBT Community Center, the Anti-Violence Project, Housing Works, and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom are among a host of organizations which help to provide these services, and our support of them is as essential now as it was back when I attended my first Folsom Street East fifteen years ago.  I’m proud to say that, with your help, Folsom Street East has been able to grant these groups over $50,000 in our last three fiscal years.

Just as essential to our well-being are places to gather and celebrate our vital sexual culture.  In 2013, we partnered with a number of local businesses who produced a leather bar crawl, a tea dance, and a play party in support of our beneficiaries.  A huge thanks to the Eagle NYC, Julius’, Stonewall, Ty’s, Rockbar, and Paddles for helping further our cause this past year.  We welcome opportunities to partner with sponsors on other events going forward; send email to info@folsomstreeteast.org and let us know what you have in mind.

Last but certainly not least among our gathering places, the street fair will return to Chelsea in June 2014.  Preparations are already well underway.  I couldn’t be prouder to be supporting the team that’s bringing it back, but I’m proudest of all of you.  Your time, energy and enthusiasm are what makes the fair not only possible but sexy and fun, and what keeps New York the raw, weird, wonderful place we call home.  If you want to have a hand in the 2014 street fair, shoot a message to volunteers@folsomstreeteast.org.

Yours in brotherhood, in service, and in gear,

Matt Johnson, Board Chair, Folsom Street East