Welcome To Garden Of Love

Garden of Love Gitano hosts a bougie post-apocalyptic NYC drag brunch every Sunday.


“I had to wake up

at 7 AM this morning

to get ready.”

Says NYC nightlife legend Amanda Lepore while sipping on a margarita during the weekly Gitano Garden of Love Sunday brunch party that she hosts with her drag daughter CT Hedden. “I’ve been invited to drag brunches before and I always said no, but right now there is nothing else to do.”

It’s not often that NYC nightlife creatures make it outside during the day dressed in their latest garb. But of course that’s not the craziest thing coronavirus has changed. “This is the only chic spot to be right now since Indochine is closed,” says nightlife persona and Amanda Lepore’s bestie CT Hedden, “so I told Amanda let’s do this party together.” CT doubles as a bartender in drag and is not a stranger to conceiving and hosting events in pre-COVID New York. It’s hard to call Garden of Love at Gitano a party though; it’s more of a brunch soirée, where you are only allowed to table-hop if the table’s host allows you to join them. Everyone has to wear a mask once you stand up from your chair. It’s strictly reservations only, where the doorman takes his job very seriously, “Six feet apart please, get in line!” Before entering the premises you are prompted to scan a QR code with your smartphone where you are asked a series of questions about your recent travels and if you were recently in contact with someone exposed to COVID-19. Once your temperature is taken and you’ve shown the filled-out waiver to the host, you are welcome into the Garden of Love. “Next they are going to start taking our DNA and blood samples,” one of the brunchers quipped while smoking outside. 

CT Hedden and Misty Copeland

Gitano’s sitting area transports you into Tulum, the original outpost of the company. “It doesn’t even feel like you are in the city during a pandemic,” says one of the first-time guests at CT’s table. Gitano is planning on staying open until late October and CT is hoping to continue Garden of Love as long as possible. Notable attendees include rincipal dancer with American Ballet Theater Misty Copeland, DJ Tommie Sunshine, Aquaria, LaQuan Smith, Raisa Flowers, Sharon Needles, Ryan Jamaal Swain and more.

NOTE: The photos below are a compilation from the events that took place on August 16, 24 and 30.

Alexey Kim