The main events
This is no ordinary Pride month in New York. The city is hosting WorldPride 2019 — the first US edition of the global celebration of LGBTQ rights — and also honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which gave birth to the gay rights movement from the streets of Greenwich Village. Expect an extra 3 million tourists for the festivities, which officially kick off June 24 with a Garden Party Tasting Event at Pier 97, hosted by the LGBT Community Center, offering bites from 20 local restaurants, including queer-helmed faves like Vic’s in Noho, and Brooklyn’s MeMe’s Diner. Whoopi Goldberg will emcee the WorldPride Opening Ceremony two days later, with a splashy fund-raiser at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, headlined by Cyndi Lauper along with Billy Porter and Ciara. For its official Closing Ceremony on June 30, WorldPride will commandeer Times Square, New Year’s Eve-style, for a free concert from Melissa Etheridge — all are welcome, but be sure to pre-register.
Meanwhile, Stonewall 50, the umbrella name for this year’s NYC Pride events, kicks off June 28 with Rally 2019, a commemoration (free, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Christopher Park), of the proto march that took place a month after the Stonewall riots, when 500 people came together for a Gay Power demonstration. (Expect next week’s numbers to be, well, somewhat larger.) Pride March — not a parade as in many cities, emphasizing that the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ folks is not over — begins at noon on June 30 (see route above). This year’s Grand Marshals include a trio of transgender cast members from FX’s ballroom drama “Pose” as well as activists and the youth organization The Trevor Project. With a staggering 150,000 marchers expected, it’s sure to wind late into the evening. Watch, too, for the new Reclaim Pride march, which begins earlier in the day as an alternative to the main event, shunning corporate sponsorship and focusing on Act Up-style activism.
Pride Island, the splashy two-day party on Pier 97, is already sold out (although you can usually snag last-minute ticket resales). It’s no surprise, as the June 29-30 bash is headlined by a twofer of epic women: “Material Girl” Madonna and “Bond Girl” Grace Jones. Or head to the Park restaurant, which hosts the DJ-driven VIP Pride fund-raiser on June 29, as well as the sexy Femme Fatale party the next day, anchored by DJ Mary Mac (she’s toured with Madonna — so who knows if Madge might make a cameo?).
Barcelona, Spain-based, circuit-party specialist Matinée is touching down in NYC June 30 for the hedonistic, if awkwardly named, Matinée Pervert: Oneworld Closing: a 3,000-strong dance party at the enormous Terminal 5 mega-club. If you find all that shirtless dancing a bit of a drag, opt for Cosplay & Pride boat cruise on June 22 instead, captained by queen Petra Fried and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” breakout Aja: expect outré costumes and quippy one-liners. For Insta-worthy views of a rainbow-lit Empire State Building (not to mention spiked Sno-Cones and cotton candy), head to Monarch’s annual Fly Sundays Pride Rooftop Celebration on June 30. Meanwhile, the star attraction at Converse-supported fund-raiser Everyone Has a Story (on June 28 in Brooklyn’s hipster nightclub House of Yes) is Desmond is Amazing, the tween drag star who grew up right here in NYC.
The city is festooned with ROYGBIV bites that champion LGBTQ rights. Scarf a slice of rainbow cake ($7) from Bouchon Bakery; every calorie is offset by a contribution to LGBTQ youth organization Hetrick-Martin. Fresh & Co. is selling a “Love Salad” and “Rainbow Sandwich,” benefiting the nonprofit NYC Pride, while Bluebird London NYC’s rainbow shortbread cookies support The Trevor Project and the Lotte New York Palace’s rainbow macarons help the city’s LGBTQ community. The all-natural rainbow ice cube of Quality Eats’ “Pride” margarita ($15) is Instagram catnip — and benefits the LGBT Center.
Pride’s efforts at inclusivity have been particularly pronounced around LGBTQ families, with an increasing roster of kid-friendly events. Tonight, at the free Family Movie Night on Pier 45, drag queen Miss Richfield 1981 (inset) will emcee a screening of Pixar’s “Coco” against the backdrop of the Hudson River (the movie starts at 6:30 p.m., but games and entertainment begin earlier in the afternoon).
And at the LGBT Community Center’s Family Pride Picnic, “Kidding Around,” on June 29, there’ll be more live music, games, face-painting and light refreshments — rain or shine — on the High Line park. The same day, at SummerStage in Central Park, teens and tweens can head to Youth Pride, which will spotlight a slew of young performers, including teen DJ Nhandi and 15-year old rapper Deetranada.
Most major museums in the city are dedicating exhibition space to Stonewall, Pride or other LGBTQ subjects this year in honor of the landmark 50th anniversary. Current shows include “Pride” at the Museum of the City of New York, highlighting the photojournalism of the late Village Voice staffer Fred W. McDarrah, and “Say it Loud, Out and Proud” at the New-York Historical Society, featuring images from New York’s marches over the last five decades. At Brooklyn’s Historical Society, there’s an intriguing survey of the now-forgotten queer communities that once thrived at its fringes, “On the (Queer) Waterfront,” while “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” is the New York Public Library’s contribution, focusing on LGBTQ civil rights: Expect treasures from its extensive archive, including rarely seen photos by Diana Davies, now 81, who was one of the first to document that struggle. If you need a little light relief, head to the 50 Years of Divas extravaganza on June 23; a clutch of Broadway regulars will come together for this campy, joyous fund-raiser, which spotlights the deep-throated women (think: Cher, Tina Turner, Kelly Clarkson) who’ve been the soundtrack to the last five decades for many LGBTQ folks.
Toast of Pride: cocktails that give back
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