NYC Pride :: Done Right!
It would have been silly to expect that the newly passed Marriage Equality Bill wouldn't have a profound affect on how New York City celebrated Pride this year. From the minute the announcement was made on Friday night, the streets all across the city -- but most notably in front of the Stonewall Inn, the site of the historic birth of the Gay Civil Rights movement, were flooded with happiness and cheers as dozens of gay and lesbian New Yorkers spilled onto the curb in exhilaration. Even a supposedly and comparatively mild raid on the popular leather bar The Eagle (See related stories for full details) couldn't dampen the mood. Pride had taken on a whole new level.
New Yorkers and visitors alike were expecting some of the biggest events the Pride season had ever seen, but no one could have anticipated the productions taking place all across this great metropolis. Attendance levels were also remarkably record high and most clubs were lenient with their often-strict velvet rope policy if just to excitedly include everyone into the positive atmosphere and giddy elation.
Both Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea were electric with milling crowds gathering to fill local bars and clubs before they reached sweltering capacity, and still others attended private affairs. In Midtown's Bar-Tini the A-List crowd gathered to celebrate castmate's Reichen Lehmkuhl birthday -- the rest of us will have to wait in eager anticipation as reality cameras captured every moment for the upcoming new season of the Logo reality-soap.
Pride Goes Live!
Downtown the world’s most infamous transgender goddess Amanda Lepore debuted her new album with a full-on concert event at the Highline Ballroom. Joey Arias hosted, photographer David LaChapelle introduced, and hip-hop sensation Cazwell and the Scissor Sister’s Ana Matronic lent vocal presence to the spectacle that is Amanda Lepore. Let’s just say that encores weren’t necessary. And even Courtney Love got into the act!
Saturday night fever ran rampant on the West Side as Heritage of Pride hosted Rapture on the River. The ladies’ Pride dance on the pier featured wet t-shirts and burlesque beauties. If you were wild enough to brave the ferry traffic out to Governors Island, then you were lucky enough to catch the light show on Bondi Beach. Easily one of the hottest tickets of the weekend, Bondi Beach was littered with the beautiful people who waited for a glimpse of the iconic Olivia Newton-John. The disco legend had everyone believing in magic. And just as quickly as she took the stage, the songstress made her exit in as dazzling an escape as her "Xanadu" counterpart.
The biggest event on Sunday had to have been the March (see related stories for full Details). The highlight was the presence of Governor Andrew Cuomo, hailed as a conquering hero after signing the document that made same-sex marriage a reality for thousands of gay and lesbian couples in the state of New York. All across Fifth Avenue, along the parade route, never have more smiles shined upon the Big Apple.
NYC Showered in Pride!
The signs carried upbeat messages, like "Together 30 Years!," "My 2 Daddies" and "I Love My Gay Daughter." As the party wound its way down to Christopher Street, the crowds emptied out onto the West Side Highway. Jared K. Markowitz, Assistant March Director for Heritage of Pride had this to offer in reflection of the winning day: "The reason this year’s events were so spectacular is because we had more reason to celebrate than ever before. Indeed, over the past four decades, we insisted that people not call the March a "parade" because we don’t want people to think that we’re done protesting for progress. But, it might be time to start calling our annual celebration a "parade" in order to more accurately reflect what we’re mostly doing: celebrating the progress that we’ve made thus far."
But one more historic event was yet to take place.
As a new landmark in our community was made, one of the community’s greatest traditions came to an end. After 25 years, Dance on the Pier, Heritage of Pride’s signature event of the season had its last dance on the familiar site. Next year, under an entirely new sun and moon, the dance will find a new home.
The Dance on the Pier couldn’t have gone out with a bigger bang as rising pop princess Wynter Gordon descended on the crowd, flanked by surprise performances from Robin S, Martha Wash and Frenchie Davis. The entire musical event was captured for the ages on Music One, which broadcast the live performances and DJ sets featuring Ana Paula, DJ Lina and Vito Fun.
The proverbial cherry on top was delivered on Sunday night when Alegria, everyone’s favorite Circuit party, opened its doors just as the fireworks settled, with music by Rosabel and Abel. The party, at the Best Buy Theater, featured hot guys and sizzling grooves, along with super-hot go-go boys putting on an angelic show.
This year will be remembered as a benchmark year in our community, as the year that moved marriage to the forefront and guaranteed that as a community we will be recognized as equals. But 2011 also gave us the most joyous reason to party and celebrate and reflect, as things can only get better.