The excitement was clearly visible as soon as Rachel and I made our way on 5th Ave. near 35th St as the 42nd annual Pride Parade was getting ready to kick off. Just two days earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the same-sex marriage bill into law. NY State became the 6th state in the Union to take progressive steps and everyone was ready to party like only New Yorkers know how to….hard. Before the marchers stepped off onto 5th Ave. Gov. Cuomo spoke to the media about the historic bill signing and how New York will lead the way in a nationwide movement. Ahem..you’re next California. He was later met by the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg and openly gay State Senator Tom Duane.
They were all ready to take their victory lap down 5th Ave. But first, they had to make way for the thunderous Sirens Arc all female motorcycle club who opened up the parade with over a hundred loud bikes. They were followed by the men in their loud motorcycles. The crowd was in a feeding frenzy wanting more when the signature balloon flag of the rainbow colors made its way down the parade route. Soon after the hero of the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo marched behind his banner with other politicians and parade VIPs. The crowd of close to two million people went nuts. Then the fun really started.
The first part of the procession of loud and proud marchers made their way down 5th Ave. with the most applause going to the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Marching Band, the Flaggots who danced with their flags in superb synchronicity, and SAGE: services for the advocacy of GLBT Elders.
The next group included various sports related groups with the most attention going to the dodgeball team as they played with their balls and had some revelers play with them as well. Another crowd favorite was the boxing float and the Bootcamp Trainers as the showed the crowd how to get buffed up. Regional groups made their appearances and kept the energy level high just in time for the nightclub floats to keep the crowd pumped up.
Hombres Lounge and the Black Men’s Initiative @ Harlem United had booming music with fun dancers. The ethnic section was well represented with Asians, Israelis, and the South American section had to be the most colorful and flamboyant but not to be outdone by the Caribbean group that displayed their carnival outfits and danced to some hot soca music.
Many marchers carried signs showing how long they have been together with their significant other. Some marchers were seen wiping tears of happiness as they now can walk down the aisle with the person they love most. Other signs expressed how love has no gender and that gay rights are human rights. All the marchers made their way down the parade route down 5th Ave. and down towards Christopher St. past the Stonewall Inn where the gay rights movement is said to have begun. The fight and struggle for equality was finally recognized in NY State and this years Pride Parade proved to be one big party with a major achievement celebrated in grand style that only New Yorkers can. Rachel and I met up later towards the end of the parade and agreed this was one of the better parades we had seen all year. We couldn’t help notice the happy faces of the crowd. Yes. Love was everywhere you looked and we walked away proud to be New Yorkers.
For more photos and report click on these links below from CNN ireport and on our Photograph section on the right.