Revelers filled the streets in the West Village and Chelsea on Sunday for the annual Pride March, wearing colorful, glittering rainbow-hued garb, dancing and singing.
This year’s theme, “Defiantly Different,” is meant to address the Trump administration’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, organizers have said.
Brooklyn resident Anthony Bruce, 26, said it was important for him to show solidarity with the nation.
“We are all Americans. We come from all over the world. We all have differences but that’s what makes America special,” he said. “This country is made up of such diverse people, we need to show joy for each and every one of them.”
Sporting rainbow mouse ears and a glitter-covered skirt, Astoria resident Chris Costa, 31, said he was at the parade to support equality and acceptance and show “the world at large that love is the answer.
“I feel like acceptance of LGBTQ people is growing,” he added. “We still have a lot of work to do but we’re getting close. We’re getting seen and we’re getting more national coverage.”
About two million turned out to the parade route, from 16th Street and Seventh Avenue to 29th Street and Fifth Avenue, according to organizers. About 100 colorful floats and 350 different marching groups delighted the onlookers, passing in front of the Stonewall Inn (the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots).
The parade route, smaller than in past years, garnered controversy. The NYPD said the change was to speed up the procession and address complaints from the neighborhood. The department is also preparing next year’s march — record-breaking crowds are expected for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Several paradegoers said they didn’t mind the new route, and did not expect it to negatively effect the celebration.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose parade truck launched rainbow colored confetti, marched with his daughters and long-term girlfriend Sandra Lee. He waved to the crowd and pumped his fist in the air as he passed by the Stonewall Inn to a huge cheer from onlookers. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s truck threw T-shirts and other swag into the crowd.
But it was City Council Speaker Corey Johnson who really wowed the crowd, breaking out his tried and true dance moves throughout the route as music from Madonna, Lady Gaga and other pop stars blasted. He capped it off with a high split jump at 8th Street and 5th Avenue.
The parade was grand marshaled by 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 — as well as advocacy writer Tyler Ford and human rights defender Kenita Placide of Outright Action International.
Marchers and paradegoers alike embraced the spirit of the day as one group held their dogs decked out in rainbow attire, and another man wrote poems for people on a manual typewriter.
Clinton Hill resident Mark Snyder, 41, marked his 20th Pride parade, and brought along his mom Lisa Ghigliazza for her first.
“It’s gotten bigger and brighter,” he said. “It’s a dark time and the world is watching. You have to come out to this, you can’t just tweet about it or see pictures. Everyone is watching and they need to see us all out and proud. You need to speak out.”
Wearing a rainbow thong — and nothing else — Hunter Hoffman, 22, from Sussex, NJ, said the day felt like the definition of freedom.
“Everyone should be able to express themselves how they want,” he said. “Nobody should be able to tell someone how to be.”
Bronx resident Amari Hilton, 25, said it was important that revelers are out each and every year.
“I think it’s important for everybody to celebrate the past, the history of what happened and everyone here being diverse and just enjoying themselves,” he said. “If you’re gay or lesbian, it doesn’t matter just to support whatever you are and to show support.”
Before the parade started, Cuomo announced a new executive order that makes it illegal for health insurance companies to discriminate against transgender New Yorkers. The move, he said, was intended to combat the Trump administration’s repeal of a federal regulation that limits protections based on gender identity under the Affordable Care Act.
With Alison Fox