Your Big Rainbow Guide to Celebrating Pride in NYC
Every year, New York City hosts one of the world’s best Pride celebrations—hands down, not up for debate. Even if you’ve only seen it in passing, you know what a riot of fun it is as the all-encompassing celebration of inclusiveness, civil rights, love and self-expression. But this year isgoing to be even bigger and better, and we’ve got you covered with all the best events happening the entire month of June.
While New York Pride is always a global event, attracting LGBTQIA+ people and allies from around the world, this year’s celebration has formally been designated the WorldPride host for 2019. And then there’s the fact that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when a fearless group of individuals at the Stonewall Inn stood up to discrimination and subsequently kicked off the modern gay rights movement. So yeah, let’s just say this year’s festivities are going to be pretty epic. (It’s on track to be the biggest Pride celebration in history, NBD.)
Watch the March(es)
The main event in all its glory will take place on Sunday, June 30, commencing on 26th Street and Fifth Avenue. (Make sure to check out this map for the best vantage points, though, as the route has changed in recent years.) Millions—seriously, they’re estimating millions—are expected to visit NYC for WorldPride this year. There are also a ton of other events, ranging from a family movie night to a CoSplay & Pride boat cruise, and the popular Pride Island parade after-party (where Madonna will perform, natch).
Take a Tour Through Queer History
Many LGBTQIA+ people today reap the benefits of those that came before. It’s hard to imagine, since New York has long been known for progressiveness, but there was a time when two men or two women walking down the street and being affectionate was totally taboo and could even land you in jail. It’s important to remember that and learn the history of the many who paved the way before us. To highlight just that, Urban Adventures has launched a new tour of Greenwich Village, which shows you the best of the best LGBTQIA+ history and is led by local queer guides. You’ll have a drink at the iconic Stonewall Inn; learn about often-forgotten trans and lesbian heroines Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie; pay your respects at the NYC AIDS Memorial; and even get some heat relief (and, let’s face it, ’Gram ops) with a stop at Big Gay Ice Cream.
If you’d rather ride than walk, you can pay your respects to dearly departed queer artists, activists, doctors and writers on a special trolley tour of Green-Wood Cemetery. (One such notable figure is Emma Stebbins, the sculptor of Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain.)
Paint the Town Rainbow
Queer people have long used art as a means of expression, and WorldPride is spotlighting that creativity by commissioning 50 different murals throughout the city. You can see some of the murals at your neighborhood Arlo Hotel—at the new A.R.T. NoMad rooftop bar and at the Courtyard at Arlo SoHo. Starting June 6, Macy’s will unveil murals in the same spot you normally see its holiday displays: the iconic 34th Street windows. Artists Buff Monster, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Nomad Clan, Earsnot IRAK Crew, Gianni Lee and Stik are just a few of the artists to be featured.
Rest Your Pretty Little Head
Many hotels are offering discount codes for Pride visitors, so make sure to check before you book if you’re coming in from out of town (or just planning a staycation during Pride month). Hilton has discounts (both for members and nonmembers) on three-day weekend stays through December 29. At Hotel Hugo, travelers can use the promo code “PRIDE” on bookings to receive 20% off and two complimentary cocktails from Bar Hugo. Meanwhile, W Hotels—noted for being the first hospitality brand to have a float in New York’s Pride March way back in 2008—is kicking it up a notch. At W New York - Downtown, the hotel recently revamped its exterior with the murals of gay French artist Lucas Beaufort. And the hotel’s special Ride with WorldPride package includes a once-in-a-lifetime ride on the hotel’s float and custom W Pride swag, plus accommodations.
Taste the Rainbow
Ready thy Instagrams: You’ll find a rainbow-hued version of pretty much every food this month. Head to Tipsy Scoop for a boozy treat of rainbow sherbet—made with raspberry, strawberry and key lime and infused with vodka—coated in rainbow sprinkles and topped with a Pride flag. Big Daddy’s partnered with Dana’s Bakery for a prismatic milkshake that includes both Dana’s gluten-free rainbow cookies and the signature black-and-whites.
Speaking of rainbow cookies, Long Island–based baker Samantha Zola of Zola Bakes will be popping up throughout the month at the Dream Hotel Downtown with one of the tastiest spins we’ve ever tried: raspberry, apricot and Nutella-flavored layers topped with the word Pride written in white chocolate.
Have Brunch with Drag Queens
Everyone—and we mean everyone—is doing some kind of drag brunch this month, many featuring performances by Drag Race alums. Case in point: Kennedy Davenport is scheduled to show at United Airlines’ first-ever drag brunch taking place at Newark Airport’s Terminal C, of all places. And then there’s the official WorldPride brunch at Burger & Lobster on June 30, hosted by Bob the Drag Queen.
Grub That Gives Back
Something to feel good about: During Pride month, many businesses in East Midtown will be teaming up with The Trevor Project to donate 25% of the proceeds of one special menu item to the organization, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ youth. A few examples: Copinette’s Pride cocktail, Padoca Bakery’s rainbow sugar cookies and Sweetcatch Poke’s Pride bowl.
Sissy That Walk
On June 13, the James New York NoMad will host Love & Lipliner, an evening dedicated to drag education and makeovers (!). Guests can get glammed up with their very own drag look, enter for prizes or just sit back and enjoy live entertainment from some of New York’s top queens: Alexis Michelle, Jan Sport, Lagoona Bloo, Rosé, Brita Filter, Jasmine Rice, Kizha Carr and Vix.
The hotel’s retail pop-up will also feature an Androgynous Fashion Show with partner Feign, a NYC-based design shop known for its chic gender-neutral garments that fit and feel equally luxe on women and men.
Sing Your Heart Out
On June 24, Broadway Sings—a nonprofit that works with Broadway performers, celebrities and activists to educate the public and raise awareness of the needs of LGBTQIA+ [[?]] youth—will hold its ninth annual Pride concert, highlighting Broadway shows that have helped progress Pride in our city and beyond. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, meanwhile, will perform “Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall50,” a choral suite written by LGBTQIA+ [[?]] composers, on June 27 at Carnegie Hall.
Pick Up a Pride Souvenir
Looking for something more permanent to commemorate WorldPride? Celeb-favorite jewelry brand Astrid & Miyu will host a pop-up piercing and jewelry shop on June 11 at Bar Moxy in Times Square, where you can shop the brand’s special Pride collection and get a new piercing should you so decide.
Not *Not* Fire Island
If you’re willing to trek out to Long Island (Harvey Milk was born there…and Long Beach is only technically an hour from Penn on LIRR, after all), you can experience Pride on the Beach. The three-day destination weekend (June 21 to 23) includes 30-plus events, including a pet Pride parade, which, let’s face it, is reason enough to go. There will also be special parties, concerts and more, including a 5K run and a foodie-focused culinary event.