There is a stretch of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue scares the bejesus out of me. It's so densely packed with chain restaurants, souvenir stores, and massive clumps of tourists trying to decide whether they should first get a photo taken of themselves by a street vender who will then artfully photoshop them to look like slutty cowgirls or stop off for a basket of mozzarella sticks at TGIFriday's that I can rarely make it halfway down the block without a panic attack.
Still, there is one place among the madness that's worth the trip: Madame Tussauds. The New York outpost of the world famous wax museum lets visitors rub elbows with some of the most notable celebrities in the world. Not only are the statues incredibly realistic, but where else can you ogle Brad Pitt for minutes (or hours -- it's up to you) at a time without him fleeing on foot or having his bodyguard discreetly crush your man parts? The museum also offers the infamous American Idol stage where you can play Adam Lambert for a day and audition in front of Simon Cowell (only this time he can't make any wisecracks).
Now, to celebrate Gay Pride in the month of July, Madame Tussauds is featuring figures of beloved LGBT icons like Elton John, Billie Jean King, Lance Bass, and RuPaul (OK, OK -- not all of them are exactly "icons," but for the sake of celebrating Pride, let's just pretend, eh?). Before you head to the museum to check out the waxy gay celebs, get in the mood by playing the Madame Tussauds New York's Gay Pride Trivia Game online. Once you've boned up on your homo history, use reference code PRIDE5345 to receive a free adult admission to the museum when you buy one adult ticket (now through July 31).
Madame Tussauds is located at 234 West 42nd Street (b/w 7th and 8th Avenues) in New York City's Times Square. The museum is open from 10am - 10pm, Monday through Sunday. For more info and tickets, visit www.nycwax.com or call (800) 246 - 8872.