The hot summer day was just right for about a million people to come out and celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, the birthplace of the gay rights movement. As usual The Sirens motorcycle club signaled the start of the parade around noon by 38th and 5th Ave. Mayor de Blasio saluted the crowd to polite cheers but Gov. Andrew Cuomo received the loudest praise first for his leadership in getting same-sex marriage approved in NY State a few years ago and his new initiative in an aggressive attack against HIV. Parade maven, Marni, rollerbladed around carrying a politically progressive sign..as usual. After local politicians made their way down the parade route, the Grand Marshalls, Laverne Cox, Rea Carey, and Jonathan Groff were greeted by the large crowd. Then the fun really started when crowd favorite The Flaggots spun their flags with precision. Plenty of corporate sponsors joined in on the fun. It wouldn’t be a march without some protest. This year was a cry for political prisoners to be released and more prevention of tragedies like that of Treyvon Martin. One group that keeps getting larger is the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). As more younger people come out, parents and friends are right there to show their support for their courage.
Marni with a message
Orange is the New Black float
Every parade is different and has its own flow to it. The Pride parade is getting to be as loud as the National Puerto Rican Parade and that says a lot. One reason the parade exceeded acceptable city decibel levels was when the cast of Orange is The New Black float
made its way down 8th St. The crowd went nuts and the cast was eating it all up. Soon after just about every major cultural and religious group represented their pride. Most notably the Caribbean American group
and the Hindu SalgaNY groups
rose to the occasion. Groups from as far as England came to the party. One notable group from Russia carried signs saying Putin is very very bad. It was hard to tell just which ethnic group had the best representation but I did like the Latin group for carrying a flag of all the Latin American nations. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp Marching Band
killed it with their high energy and style. This was one of the better parades this year. The crowd really got into it and the marchers fed off that energy and made it a top 5 parade for 2014. Whether you agree with the lifestyle or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that love is love and this years parade had lots of love to go around.
see ya next year
Most everyone was glad to see the arctic month January leave and welcome some relief in February. Somehow, the weather calmed down some on Feb. 2nd which made it perfect for a groundhog to see his shadow, for the Superbowl to be played in neighboring New Jersey and for a parade to celebrate the most important of all Chinese holidays, the Lunar New Year. The year 4712 is in one of the Chinese favorite zodiac signs, the year of the Horse and thousands of people came out along the parade route on Mott St. to Roosevelt Park. Just before all the fun started, the traditional proclamations and feeding lettuce to the lions for prosperity occurred on Mott and Hester Sts. There is where politicians informed the public of new efforts on immigration, jobs and closing schools on the Lunar New Year to honor the tradition.
Let the Celebration Begin
Dancing Lions Getting Warmed Up
Steven Tan with the Beauty Queens
This year’s version of the parade included some beauty queens and a horse drawn carriage and some classic cars. Parade organizer, Steven Tan, once again performed like a field general and kept things moving smoothly. The beauty queens signaled the start of the parade and soon followed by a crowd favorite, the dancing Lions from Staten Island. They got the crowd worked up for what would be a fun parade for all. Keeping the energy level on high was parade regular, Marni, dressed as a beautiful butterfly on rollerblades. The crowd loved her. A larger presence in this years parade were the group for equality and the LGBT marchers. One of the nicest things to see at this parade is the amount of young children that come watch and even march in the 15th annual parade in Chinatown, USA. All the kids I saw were amazed and truly enjoyed the double dragons weaving their way along the parade route. They were soon followed by an energetic group of dancing lions to close out the parade. Walking away from the parade the streets were filled with confetti showing just how much fun and great times people had.
Marni Having Some Fun
Happy Year of the Horse
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What a great parade year it was….stay tuned for the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown Feb. 2nd as the Year of the Horse is welcomed.