Sultana, The Queen of the Middle East Village

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sultana is an East Villager who feels as deeply about Middle East peace as he does about high heels after dark. 

"I believe in makeup," the Palestinian drag queen says. "Even if you're doing the laundry, you should have lip gloss on."


More in:

Comments [6]

Amalene from Somerville, NJ

What a great profile. Sultana is one of many misunderstood Middle Eastern people in the world. I'm sorry it's hard for him to tell his family who he is but I'm so pleased that he is living his life where he can feel comfortable and accepted. It would be nice to know that his family could feel proud of such a wonderful person. Sultana you are fabulous and I long to visit Beirut one of these days.

Good luck sweetheart.

Sep. 16 2010 11:25 AM

Terrific. "Let's split the land and go on vacation and have fun together." Loved it. I will be citing this amazing guy for a long time.

Apr. 17 2010 06:08 PM
Marie Solstic

Beautiful - inside and out. Thanks for the balanced words about the Palestinians, etc.

Mar. 22 2010 10:00 AM
Montgomery from New York, New York

I happen to know Sultana for many years, too numerous to number and I know her/him to be exactly what he depicts. A unique and wonderful human being who happens to be Lebanese and a cross-dressing performer, who incidentally is also quite a talented artist. Sultana is a kind and gentle soul whom I consider a "real friend" and I believe that now he is realizing his dream to perform and make people happy and smile. Wow, what a concept for world peace! Bravo Sultana!
Your friend, "The Image Guru"

Feb. 23 2010 12:53 AM
vvlavee from Mississippi

This is a comment about Sultana, whom I now have a crush on. Watching her dress, hearing her speak about the misrepresentations of Arabic peoples, I marvel at both her gentleness and her courage. She must have a fierce devotion to personal expression, and yet she is obviously very gentle. Sultana reminds me of what is best about being human. For that, I could idolize her.

Feb. 04 2010 07:20 PM

Last night I was at the bookstore, shopping for...books. As I was browsing, this old man asked if I was looking for something in the poetry section. I said no, I was not. He was standing there with his keys, taking the cellophane off of a number of books, whish he said was his book, and that people wouldn't be able to read his poems with the cellophane on. So we started chatting, and he read me some of his poems, which were great. I was quickly persuaded to buy a copy, which he signed for me.
We chatted a while longer and then he left on his way. Well, as I was at the checkout line making my purchases, this salesman from upstairs came running down, because Samuel the Poet had left his keys! I gave them his name so that if he came back he would be able to reclaim them, return home, and not freeze on the streets of New York in December.

Well, I went home, and read the introduction. Basically, Samuel Menashe is this forgotten master, who was only rediscovered a couple years ago. He's been living in his 5th floor walkup since the 40s, and the intro contained the following poem about his flat:

"At a Standstill"
That statue, that cast
Of my solitude
Has found its niche
In this kitchen
Where I do not eat
Where the bathtub stands
Upon cat feet-
I did not advance
I cannot retreat

Which is essentially a description of my apartment. It's like he's my Ghost of Christmas Future. I then went online to try and find his phone number, so I could let him know about his lost keys. Well, it turns out his address is 75 Thompson St. My address is 72 Thompson St. He lives across the street from me!

Anyhow, as it turns out, he carries two sets of keys on him because he’s so forgetful, so he did not in fact freeze last night. I think I may have to write something about him. He’s quite remarkable. You can read more here:

So there you have it. My encounter with a poet. And one who seems like a potential subject for you.

Dec. 02 2009 03:13 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Know Your Neighbor

Know Your Neighbor is a video series about the characters, legends, and good folk living in your midst.

Nominate your neighbor: I'm looking to profile fascinating people in every corner of the city. Leave a comment or email about someone you'd like me to profile, and I just may come to your 'hood to produce a video about their story.


Supported by