New York City is an exciting place to discover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture any time of year. But every June, the five boroughs come alive with parades, festivals and parties that bring this vibrant community's heritage to the forefront of public attention. Here's our guide to this year's wide range of events celebrating the rich history and unique diversity of the City's LGBTQ community.
Pride month kicks off in the heart of Queens with this annual parade through Jackson Heights, followed by an afternoon street festival that features music, drag performances and local cuisine.
Brooklyn Twilight Parade
The borough puts it own unique twist on its pride parade by starting at dusk for a march through the streets of Park Slope. During the day, there is a pride street fair that takes place on Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 9th Streets. Expect crafts, food and entertainment.
LGBTQ families are welcomed to Chelsea's Pier 63 for a free evening of outdoor, kid-friendly movie-watching. The Pier will open to the public around 7pm for folks to grab a good spot for picnicking before the film starts at dusk. While the event is free and open to the public, there will also be premium tickets for sale (for reserved seating and pre-packaged meals) to support the Heritage of Pride foundation.
NYC Pride Rally
A month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, five hundred peaceful protesters gathered in Washington Square Park to express solidarity and gay pride. Forty-seven years later, the rally continues to serve as the official kickoff for Pride Week. Taking place at Pier 26 in TriBeCa, the Pride Rally will feature dozens of well-known speakers and performers and attract thousands of attendees. The event kicks off at 7pm and ends at 9:30pm.
After the rally ends, head uptown to a multimillion-dollar nightclub in Times Square, the Diamond Horsehoe, for a night of dancing and special acts at this semi-secret space underneath the Paramount Hotel. The theme this year will be neon, so dress colorfully.
The VIP Rooftop Party
Be a part of one of the most popular boys' parties of NYC Pride Week, and dance the afternoon and night away on the rooftop of Hudson Terrace. DJs Eddie Martinez, Paulo and Peter Napoli will keep the energy going throughout this eight-hour celebration. Proceeds from the party, which sells out every year, benefit Pride Week events and community organizations.
Harlem Pride Day
Taking place in Jackie Robinson Park, the seventh annual Harlem Pride extravaganza includes artists, food, entertainment and activities for families, adults and youth of all cultures. The free festival takes place from noon to 6pm.
DJ Samantha Ronson headlines the 13th annual Pride Week rave for women. This high-energy dance party (formerly known as Rapture on the River) runs from 3 to 10pm, creating a day-into-night experience where revelers can watch the sunset on the Hudson River. Proceeds from this wildly popular evening benefit Pride Week events and community organizations.
The streets of New York City are never so festive, outrageous and energized as they are during the annual Pride March. Outlandish floats and spontaneous dance parties blend perfectly with the political components of the march, which begins in Midtown at noon (at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street) and makes its way downtown to the West Village. This event is free and open to the public (though to march in the parade, individuals must affiliate themselves with an officially registered group; a list of groups accepting individuals will be posted at nycpride.org in June).
The streets spill over with a vibrant mixture of food and craft vendors, musicians, entertainers and local residents at the annual Pride Week street fair, now in its 22nd year. The PrideFest smorgasbord runs along Hudson Street, from 14th Street to Abingdon Square, just a few blocks away from the end of the march route, and also just a few blocks from the Hudson River. This event is free and open to the public and takes place from 11am to 6pm.
Dance on the Pier
Capping off the excitement of Pride Week, the Dance on the Pier is an invigorating montage of bodies, lights and music. World-class talents like DJ Ben Baker and DJ Alain Jackinsky will be manning the turntables and keeping the crowds grooving into the night at Pier 26 in TriBeCa. The dance reaches its climax with the annual fireworks display over the Hudson. Proceeds benefit Pride Week events and community organizations.
Extending Pride Month all the way into July, Staten Island's PrideFest celebrates 12 years of SI pride with a week of events, including a 5K run, a trans open-mic night and a “Seniors Prom” for LGBTQ elders. The week ends with a daylong festival on the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden featuring live music, drag performers, food trucks, craft vendors and plenty of activities for folks of all ages, providing a platform for the borough's growing LGBTQ community to show its numbers—and its pride.