Thousands of revelers are heading to Fifth Avenue Sunday to watch a record 40,000 marchers and 80 colorful floats make their way down a two-mile stretch of the Manhattan street for the annual Pride March.
Paradegoers can also expect to spot some celebrities and politicians amid the sea of rainbow, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Bianca Del Rio and judge Michelle Visage, as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Last year, 350 organizations participated in the NYC Pride parade with a record 37,000 people marching, according to march director Julian Sanjivan. The event drew politicians and celebrities including Hillary Clinton and the cast of TV shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “RuPaul's Drag Race.”
The theme for this year's march is "We are proud," inspired by the positive reactions of the LGBT community while "under attack by a hostile political environment," according to organizers.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty that people are feeling,” Sanjivan said. “Not much more of our rights could be taken away.
“We must come together and feel, ‘This is who we are, and we are proud of being who we are,'” he said.
The Heritage of Pride float is based on this theme and will carry some notable march honorees, including Edith “Edie” Windsor, representatives of Planned Parenthood and the pioneer behind Taiwan’s gay rights movement, Chi Chia-wei.
Glennda Testone, executive director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in the West Village, said she's seen a 30 percent increase in demand for their services since Trump's election, including counseling, support groups and special programming.
The theme of this year's march is representative of how the community feels right now, Testone added.
“It makes me think about our community and how proud we are of our history and the fact that we never give up,” she said. “I think in 2017, this has been shown more than ever, in the face of uncertainty and attacks.”
“Our community is strong, driven by love, and we’re not going to go away, back down or go backwards. We’re marching forward no matter what,” she said.
And for the first time in its 48-year history, the march has partnered with WABC-TV to televise the festivities. 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 watch the parade, here’s what you need to know:
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.
Start: 36th Street and Fifth Avenue
Reviewing stand: Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue
End: Christopher and Bleecker streets
Length: Two miles
36th Street and Fifth Avenue
25th Street and Fifth Avenue
Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue
Ruth E. Wittenberg Triangle
Accessible seating area
Ruth E. Wittenberg Triangle at the center of Christopher Street, Sixth Avenue and Greenwich Avenue
The parade's grand marshals for 2017 include transgender FDNY firefighter Brooke Guinan and The American Civil Liberties Union, who represented Gavin Grimm against the Virginia school board for not allowing Grimm, a transgender boy, to use the boy’s bathroom. Grimm will be one of the representatives of the ACLU at the march, according to organizers.
Those who participate in the Pride March have an incentive to really give it their all: awards. Every year a panel of judges doles out a series of awards to marchers and performers 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