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NYC pride parade: What to know before heading to the 2018 march

The route has changed in an effort to reduce the overall time of the procession, which is expected to see 48,000 marchers.

The NYC Pride March passes through the West

The NYC Pride March passes through the West Village in Manhattan on June 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Unified but unique, revelers of this year's Pride March on Sunday will celebrate their individuality in defiance.

The 2018 theme, "Defiantly Different," is meant to be an "unflinching stance" in response to the Trump administration's treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, organizers say.

“This year’s theme is about showing our power, squaring our shoulders in the face of adversity, and continuing to sculpt that magnetic bond within the LGBTQ+ community and our allies,” David Studinski, NYC Pride co-chair, said in a statement. “The corresponding creative showcases a wide selection of defiantly different community members — from performance artists to mental health advocates. We are standing defiantly — defiantly different and defiantly as one.”

More than 48,000 marchers and about 100 colorful floats are expected to make their way down a new parade route that will pass by the historic Stonewall Inn and reduce the overall time of the procession and wait times for the more than 350 marching groups prepared to step off, organizers say. About 2 million spectators are expected to line the streets, as well.

The change is in preparation for the amount of people that are expected to turn out in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and to refocus the parade's start to "a place of prominence," organizers say.

Paradegoers also can expect to spot some celebrities and politicians amid the sea of rainbow,  including politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Last year, 450 organizations participated in the NYC Pride parade with a record 40,000 people in attendance, including Edith “Edie” Windsor, representatives of Planned Parenthood and the pioneer behind Taiwan’s gay rights movement, Chi Chia-wei.

For the second year in a row, the march will be televised. Those in the tristate area will be able to tune into Channel 7, or go online for a livestream of the event.

For those planning to attend the parade, here’s what you need to know.

Time

The march begins at noon, rain or shine. The first group usually makes it to the end of the route by 1:45 p.m., and the parade ends about 6 p.m. ABC7’s broadcast will end at 3 p.m.

Route

Start: 16th Street and Seventh Avenue

Route: Seventh Avenue, Christopher Street, West Eighth Street, Fifth Avenue

End: 29th Street and Fifth Avenue

Announcer locations

25th Street and Fifth Avenue

Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue

Accessible seating area

St. Vincent’s Triangle (the NYC AIDS Memorial Park) at Seventh Avenue and 12th Street

Grand marshals

Billie Jean King, the tennis star who defeated Bobby Riggs in "The Battle of the Sexes" in 1973 and who went on to rally for those affected by HIV/AIDs, joins advocacy writer Tyler Ford and human rights defender Kenita Placide from Outright Action International as grand marshal this year. Lambda Legal, which has represented the LGBTQ community in a number of fights for rights, is also being honored.

Award categories

If the simple act of celebrating wasn't enough, the march also hands out awards to those who go the extra mile, especially when it comes to employing the parade’s theme. This year’s awards categories include:

  • Best use of NYC Pride theme
  • Best float
  • Best marching contingent
  • Best music or performance on a float
  • Best marching band or music ensemble (not including floats or vehicles)
  • Best dance performance (not including floats or vehicles)
  • Judge’s choice

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