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There is a narrow parking lot in Cunningham Park in Queens surrounded by playing fields for adult softball and youth soccer and baseball. At one end of the lot, retirees arrive to practice their golf and mothers in minivans gather to wait for their Little Leaguers. The other end is popular with another set with a much lower profile in this suburban setting: gay men cruising for sex. Their playing field is the parking lot itself and the goal is a sexual encounter, usually quick and anonymous.
Manhattan may have its gay bars and such traditional pickup spots as the woods of the Ramble in Central Park and the piers of the West Village.
But in the less-accepting climate of the suburbs and the boroughs outside Manhattan, gay men often resort to courting one another from the relative safety and privacy of their cars.
They troll remote parking lots that become de facto pickup spots well known in gay circles but not to the general public. Each has its own culture and often its own set of protocols, ranging from parking position to the flashing of headlights or blinkers as mating calls.
The parking lot in Queens seems to be especially popular with men who lead ostensibly heterosexual lives but show up for sex because it is quick, easy to get and secretive, regulars say. The lot, along Hollis Hills Terrace just south of 73rd Avenue in Queens Village, is close to several major parkways, and its location helps make it popular with men who commute between New York City and the suburbs, where they often have a house, a mortgage, a wife and children.