Gay Pride in NYC means anyone and everyone can let their queer flag fly throughout the month, from Queens to Staten Island. If you're amped up about gay rights at this critical moment in U.S. history, be sure to join the Kickoff Rally, to be held this year at Pier 26 on June 27, or raise your voice at the parades held in four of the boroughs throughtout June (the Bronx celebrates Pride in July). While there is still plenty of work to do, a lot has been achieved since that hot night at the Stonewall more than 40 years ago. So join the protest action at the Dyke March, the party scene at the Dance on the Pier or any number of other queer events all over town. Raise a glass to those who paved the way, and make a toast to a proud tomorrow.
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When is Gay Pride 2014?
Gay Pride in New York City happens throughout the month of June, culminating with theNYC Pride March on June 29.
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The Pride Kickoff Rally
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of Gay Pride Before the glittery spectacle of the LGBT Pride March and the rest of the Gay Pride Weekend festivities, get pumped up…with a glittery spectacle! This official Gay Pride Weekend opening event started as a "gay power" demonstration with 500 protestors in Washington Square Park, a month after the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the dawn of the modern gay-rights movement. Since then the rally has jumped locations all over town, including incarnations in Central Park and East River Park. Big-name performers often take the stage—Lady Gaga performed in 2013—while local politicians, comedians, and other members of the LGBT community offer both serious and silly takes on Pride themes. This year, RuPaul's Drag Race sidekick Michelle Visage hosts the event, which also includes performances by singer-songwriter Betty Who and drag star Sharon Needles. For newcomers and longtime Pride celebrants alike, the Pride Kickoff Rally serves as both a party starter and a reminder that it's not all about partying.
NYC Pride March
March begins at Fifth Ave and 36th St and proceeds south to the reviewing stand at Fifth Ave and 8th St before turning west down Christopher St to Greenwich St. Subway: A, C, E, D, F to W 4th St; D, F, N, Q, R to 34th St–Herald Sq; F to 14th St or 23rd St; L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St–Union Sq; 6 to Astor Pl, 23rd St, 28th St or 33rd St. While it's not really offensive to call the NYC Pride March a parade, it's also technically incorrect. The event—which first happened in 1970, marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising—is a march for civil rights, not a celebratory parade. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun! Every year, more than a million spectators line Fifth Avenue to take in outlandish costumes, elaborate floats and eye-popping performances. Groups representing the five boroughs and beyond include everything from churches and support groups to social organizations and politicians eager to get out the gay vote.
Dance on the Pier
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of Gay Pride Heritage of Pride's official Pride Weekend capper is back where it belongs—under the stars, with the skyline glowing to the east and the Hudson shimmering to the west. Coheadlining DJs Grind and Pagano provide big beats sure to keep the huge crowd moving. There's always a variety of live performers—last year, dance diva Deborah Cox and cultural institution Cher took the stage; this year's headliner is Demi Lovato, and don't rule out a last-minute surprise (Jennifer Lopez and Whitney Houston are among the megastars who have dropped by with no advance fanfare). As the dance starts to wind down, cast your eyes to the sky for a fireworks display; for those who don't have to get up early tomorrow, that's your cue to move on and continue the party all over the city well into the night. You'll have no shortage of options.
This annual women's dance—formerly known as Rapture on the River—is an alternative to the boy-heavy Dance on the Pier. Happening conveniently after the Dyke March, this year's edition features music from DJs Dimples and Susan Levine, a flock of sexy dancers and a sweaty crowd filled with girls who (unlike attendees at that other dance) don't have to worry about work in the morning.
Gay Pride parties and club nights
Whitney Day comes (relatively) uptown for this big-room mixed post–Pride March bash. Her guests on the decks are Germany's Miss Betty Ford, Australian star Sveta and New York's own Mary Mac. Performers include DJ-singer combo Muma Megs and OCKY, all-female drum troupe Batala NYC and a high-flying aerialist.
DJs Rich King and Gustavo Motta and nightlife bigwig Josh Wood are back for the 11th annual go-round of this unofficial Dance on the Pier after-party, which tends to draw a beefy, beardy crowd.
Red Light District: Pride Closing Party
All parties must end, and the same crew that brought you Saturday night's Supreme Main Event helps ease you out of Pride Weekend with this late-night affair featuring the Bent Collective, Danny Verde and Steven Redant. The Red Light District theme means you can expect sex shops, peep shows and other bawdy delights.
Isle of Klezbos: KlezBiGay Pride Show
Not Prided out yet? Check out a free alfresco set by this playful women's offshoot of New York's Metropolitan Klezmer, led by queer drummer Eve Sicular. Check the website for rain location.
More Gay Pride events
SummerStage Presents: Club Classics Live!
SummerStage celebrates Pride with this decades-spanning concert inspired by NYC's nightlife scene. On the bill: DJ Andre Collins, pop singer Sam Sparro, house diva Ultra Naté, drag legend Kevin Aviance, and former Chic members Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin and Norma Jean Wright.
Lesbian Herstory Archives Open House and Tours
Pride weekend isn't just about partying! Brush up on your herstory at this Brooklyn institution, which offers tours of the guided and self-guided varieties today.
New York City Dyke March
This annual event to raise awareness about women's and trans rights isn't exactly the glittery spectacle you'll get at tomorrow's Pride March, but it's still one of Pride Week's most essential events. BYO signs and banners, and keep in mind that the Dyke March doesn't have a permit—it's a protest, not a parade—so be prepared for possible interference from the fuzz. The march itself is open to all dykes and self-identified women. All other supporters are encouraged to cheer from the sidelines.
Queer Pride at Queer Division
Drae Campbell presides over this alternative to the corporate-sponsored mayhem happening across town. Drink, mingle and take in performances by Kaitlyn Holland, Lady Quesa'Dilla, Shane Shane, Max Steele and Elsa Waithe.
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