Crowds of fuzzy, cuddly bears will flock to Manhattan's West Side this week, but not the kind that live in the woods.
Urban Bear NYC will celebrate the subculture of gay men who refer to themselves as "bears" from Thursday through Sunday in the Meatpacking District, Greenwich Village and Chelsea, with a full calendar that includes a street fair, a pub crawl and an all-bear comedy show.
Robert Valin, executive producer of the festival now celebrating its fourth year, defined "bear" for the uninitiated.
"The stereotypical bear is a blue-collar guy with a little bit of extra weight and facial hair," Valin said. "I don't think most bears look gay to people. They look like the kind of guys women want to bring home to their families."
The bear fest is expecting about 2,000 people this year, up from 1,500 last year, Valin said. Men from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and Spain have said they will attend. ...
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