Manhattan is getting a rainbow makeover.
Just days before the NYC Pride March along Fifth Avenue, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that the city is painting a rainbow crosswalk near the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
A crew from the city Department of Transportation will break out their buckets of paint and redecorate the Christopher Street crosswalk, near the Stonewall National Monument, overnight Saturday into Sunday, the mayor’s office said. It remains unclear if the rainbow colors would be left permanently. A request for clarification from the DOT was not immediately returned.
This is the first time the city is painting rainbow colors on a crosswalk to honor the LGBTQ community. Last year, Heritage of Pride, which plans the Pride March, placed rainbow decals at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and at the Christopher Street crossing near the Stonewall Inn.
Those decals will be making a return appearance again this year, the city said, and will be placed along the march route on Fifth Avenue at 36th and 24th streets.
“Pride Month reminds us that the fight for LGBT rights is not yet won, but that we can be proud as a city to have blazed the trail,” de Blasio in a statement released Friday. “Now more than ever, we need to come together and celebrate the contributions that the LGBTQ community has made to both our city and country. These displays serve as a profound symbol of a painful past, a hopeful future and the transformative change that happens when New Yorkers take action.”
Heritage of Pride co-chair David Studinski said the organization was more than happy to fund the rainbow crosswalk.
“NYC Pride is honored to bring Gilbert Baker’s original rainbow to the very streets where the modern LGBT movement began,” Studinski said. “We are proud to fund the installation of this exciting project. We thank the mayor, city council members and department of transportation for helping us make this long-awaited tribute a colorful reality.”
Earlier this month, a New Yorker started a petition calling on the city to paint permanent rainbow and transgender pride crosswalks in the city.
Tim Robinson said he was inspired by the success of similar endeavors in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
“New York City has been a leader in the LGBTQ movement going back to the Stonewall riots, and we should continue to lead today,” he told amNewYork. “New York City should stand proud and tell the world that it supports the LGBTQ community and the equality we continue to fight for today.”
The petition had more than 19,300 signatures of support as of Friday afternoon.
Following the city’s announcement Friday, Robinson said he hopes the city will keep the rainbow crosswalk permanently.
“We are thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has authorized rainbow crosswalks outside the Stonewall Inn in time for Pride. This is a meaningful step in recognizing and celebrating the LGBTQ community here in New York,” Robinson said in an emailed statement. “The [nearly] 20,000 people who signed my Care2 petition hope that the crosswalks will become a permanent fixture in the city, and we are planning to rally support from City Council candidates to further that cause in the coming weeks.”
City Hall will also be lit up with rainbow colors from Friday night through Sunday night, and rainbow flags will fly outside the building, the mayor’s office said.