In the early morning of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police. A melee ensued, and history would never be the same. One year later the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee launched the first Gay Pride March, commemorating the riots and the possibility of liberation it set off. The country (and world) took note as battles were won and the march grew year after year.
Today, it is one of the largest street parades in the world, dominated by the LGBT community but increasingly enjoyed by everyone. There are more than 400 imitators around the world, some boasting nearly equally vast and diverse turnouts.
This year there’s plenty in store to make New York Pride the biggest and bestest ever, especially with the arrival of full marriage equality right around the corner.
Here are five of our favorite aspects of NYC Pride…
1.) The Grand Marshal(s)
Cyndi Lauper, Jonathan Groff & Laverne Cox have all been Grand Marshals for New York Pride and we couldn’t be more excited for this year’s lineup: Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, the “Vicious” duo, will join New York City-based artist J. Christopher Neal and Kasha Nabagesera, “the mother or Ugandan LGBT rights.”
2.) The Piers
The Center’s Annual Garden Party
brings the boys to the Pier in an unofficial kickoff to Pride Week. This year marks the 32nd Annual Garden Party, taking place on Monday, June 22nd. The fun goes down on Hudson River park’s Pier 84. Further downtown the Christopher Street Pier will be bustling with crowds of revelers throughout the week.
3.) The Floats
In true pride fashion Corporate sponsors, local bars, and Broadway strut their pride with drag queens, DJs, shirtless dancers, and B-list celebs.
4.) Half-naked guys
What else can we say? It’s Pride, so don’t be afraid to show off enjoy the gorgeous men of all shapes and sizes.
5.) Dance on the Pier
will headline this year’s Dance on the Pier, the 29th annual fundraiser for NYC Pride and their LGBT nonprofit grant winners. DJs Wayne G, The Cube Guys, and Ralphi Rosario will warm up the crowd before Ms. Grande takes the stage. Past performances have included Cher, Demi Lovato, Deborah Cox, Robyn, Cyndi Lauper, and Janet Jackson.
Will there be a second surprise performer at this year’s most anticipated event? Janet has a new album coming out, doesn’t she?
Images by Jeffrey James Keyes