In a 1998 interview, Sylvia Rivera, a prominent transgender activist, recalled being at the 1969 Stonewall uprising and thinking, as Molotov cocktails flew through the air, “My God, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!”
It has been 50 years since the clashes at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village ignited the modern gay rights movement. And while many of the movement’s trailblazers, like Ms. Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, a fellow transgender activist, have died, other leaders have followed in their footsteps.
The energy of L.G.B.T.Q. activism and pride is reverberating throughout New York as the city hosts its annual Pride festivities and, for the first time, WorldPride. The monthlong celebration crescendos this week with a 50th anniversary Stonewall commemoration on Friday and the annual Pride parade on Sunday.
This month, The New York Times has covered Pride events throughout the city, featured perspectives from L.G.B.T.Q. celebrities, written long-overdue obituaries for L.G.B.T.Q. history makers, reviewed L.G.B.T.Q. art and much more. Still, we’re not done.
Join us this week as we continue our coverage of Pride events and scenes from around the city.
— Aaron Randle
Saturday, June 29
Dozens lined up outside the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo on Saturday for the seventh annual All Ages Pride Party. The event was created in 2012 to serve as an alternative to the slate of corporate-backed Pride parties that critics said alienated or excluded underage people and those who do not drink. There were performances from dream-pop acts Kississippi and Adult Mom, as well as spoken word pieces from Urban Word, a poetry collective that criticized misogyny, racism and Sunday’s Pride March.
The Dyke March sent a swell of people down Fifth Avenue from Bryant Park to Washington Square Park. Organizers made clear that their assembly, in its 27th year, was not a parade but a protest march, meant to highlight the diversity of the community but also the adversity they often face with harassment, discrimination and violence. Organizers asked that only those who identify as “Dykes” to march, a classification that goes beyond, as they put it, “gender expression or identity, sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, race, age, political affiliation, religious identity, ability, class, or immigration status.”
A double rainbow burst over Pier 97 at Hudson River Park after it had been transformed into Pride Island. It was a natural display of the colors that were everywhere on the pier for the Pride Island Music Festival, which started on Saturday. Performers included Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor and Pabllo Vittar. Weather, for a spell, interrupted the festival, which the authorities evacuated. But, ultimately, the party went on.
Friday, June 28
Outside the Stonewall Inn, thousands of people gathered in the streets for a rally held on the 50th anniversary of the uprising that transformed and galvanized the modern L.G.B.T.Q. movement. Dozens of politicians and activists paid homage to the protesters who, in their clash with the police in 1969, inspired others to become more open and aggressive in their fight for equality. As a crowd waving rainbow flags looked on, speakers laid out the ongoing fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
Further downtown, as darkness fell, revelers kicked off the weekend overlooking the East River, at Pride Soup! Queer on the Pier. At the dance party, held by Henrietta Hudson, a New York City lesbian bar, and thrown at the Watermark Bar off the South Street Seaport, an eager group danced to music spun by DJs Amber Valentine, Mary Mac and Average Jo and watched live performances from the duo Nina Sky and the singer Laith Ashley.
Across the river in Bushwick, Papi Juice, an art collective that caters to queer and trans communities of color that have often been marginalized by the city’s gay party circuit, held its annual Pride party. The night kicked off with a rooftop reception, but after sunset, the party kicked into high gear. Fifteen D.J.s were on hand, dropping beats for hours in over three rooms at the massive club Elsewhere.
Thursday, June 27
The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, held a four-hour panel, “After Stonewall: 50 Years of Black and Brown Resistance,” in which leading black L.G.B.T.Q. activists discussed the Stonewall uprising and contemporary activism. The symposium created the hashtag #BlackStonewall50 to highlight “the black and brown roots” of Stonewall. The event also featured musical performances and a cocktail reception.
Lincoln Center held a pre-parade disco party, DiscoVogue, featuring music from members of the Qween Beat collective, including MikeQ. When the speakers shut off at 10 p.m., the silent disco began. For the rest of the night partygoers danced and bobbed their heads to music blaring from their headphones.
Superchief Gallery NY, an art gallery in Queens, held a “Choke hole,” billed by the organizer as a “no rules, no holes barred, queer wrestling xxx-travaganza.” Cultivated in New Orleans, the immersive, multimedia performance combined lip sync performances and wrestling matches.
Wednesday, June 26
Organizers have referred to WorldPride as the “Olympics of Pride,” and so, fittingly, the event kicked off with an opening ceremony. Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the three-hour concert benefited Immigration Equality, an immigration nonprofit; SAGE, an L.G.B.T. senior advocacy group; and the Ali Forney Center, an agency for homeless L.G.B.T. youth. The comedian Whoopi Goldberg hosted the evening, which featured performances from Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan and a bevy of former cast members from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The evening came to a close with a final, glitter-bombing performance by Billy Porter.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, revelers clad in neon and metallics laced up their skates and rolled to to the rink in the southeast section of Prospect Park for the Big Gay Roller Skate party. A D.J. spun tunes as the sun set, giving a soundtrack for those who wanted to strut their stuff on four wheels. Skaters came dressed to impressed, with some hoping to snatch prizes for their flamboyant outfits and roller-skating skills.
Tuesday, June 25
Susanne Bartsch, the night life impresario and self-described “patron saint of transformation and inclusion” of New York City, became famous by throwing parties that have tested the limits of the word “extravagant.” Since the 1980s, her events — in New York, and in Paris and Tokyo — have been a magnet for the cool and colorful. The WorldPride edition of her monthly party “On Top,” held at Le Bain at the Standard High Line hotel, was no different. Under disco balls and largely unfettered by the confines of clothing, the crowd danced — and swam — into Wednesday morning at the rooftop club in Manhattan.
It was a showdown between two realms of live entertainment: Stars from Broadway were pitted against stars from drag at the Lip Sync Roulette at Slate NYC in Chelsea. Audience members were treated to a face-off between Frankie Grande (“Rock of Ages,” “Mamma Mia!”) and Marti Gould Cummings (“Shade: Queens of New York,” “Watch What Happens Live”). Other Broadway performers included Justin Sargent, Lesli Margherita and Noma Dumezweni, while the stars from drag included Bootsie Lefaris, Jacklynn Hyde and Chelsea Piers.
Monday, June 24
To start off the week, WorldPride partnered with the L.G.B.T. Center for its annual Garden Party, billed as the official kickoff to WorldPride. Guests flocked to Pier 97 at Hudson River Park in Manhattan, where they were treated to an evening event with seasonal food from local chefs. Proceeds from the party went to the center, a Manhattan-based community organization that offers advocacy, health and wellness programs to New York’s L.G.B.T.Q. community.
Bertha Mason, a pie-baking drag queen, had fans of pie covered (possibly in dough) on Monday. Michael D. Bowen, who has been performing his “Baking With Bertha” act for 20 years at the Church of the Village on West 13th Street in Manhattan, bakes pies while dishing out sassy, funny and sometimes dark tales. The church has its own piece of gay liberation history: Pflag, the first American organization aimed at uniting allies with members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, was founded there in 1972.
Friday, June 21
Leading into Pride’s final week, Ladyfag hosted the Pride and Paradise party at the recently opened Paradise Club, inside the Times Square Edition Hotel. The sold-out event, with its tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen reference (its tagline was “Not intended for Jane Austen, nor the faint of heart”) lasted until nearly 4 a.m. Guests enjoyed drag performances, an abundance of lights and lasers, and music from the D.J.s Michael Magnan, Greg K. and Dicap.