The Ultimate NYC Pride Guide: 40th Anniversary Weekend Fun

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Balloons wave as Pride hits NYC for the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots
Balloons wave as Pride hits NYC for the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

It’s hard to imagine that GLBT rights are such a recent occurrence in such a great country, but that is the fact. This weekend concludes a month long celebration of GLBT Pride in New York, and the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots will definitely not be something you want to miss! While events have been ongoing all month in all of the boroughs, you can be sure that this weekend will be a fiesta of epic proportions, and there are several you shouldn’t miss out on!

Thursday

If you have time to get your weekend started early, swing by the opening reception for Stonewall: The Revolution, a photo exposition that will be open throughout Pride Weekend. The photo exhibit opens at The Chair and The Maiden, featuring the historical photography of Suzanne Poli. Documenting GLBT life from 1969 til the modern day, the exhibit will be open for many days. However, the reception will give you an opportunity unlike any other to meet the artist and discuss the photos, and should not be missed.

Friday

First, start off Friday the right way with an extravaganza karaoke happy hour to take you into the night at the place where it all began, Stonewall Inn! Hosted by bartender Ben and DJ Mike, an extended version will be going this Friday. Starting at 4pm (you know you can beg your way off work a little earlier than usual, it’s a Friday and it’s Pride!), well drinks and some beer and house wine will be buy one get one free until 8pm, which should help ply you well on your way towards the stage to yodel out your favorite tunes. Get there early, stay late, it’s going to be amazing. The festivities will be ongoing all the way through the weekend at Stonewall, so be sure to swing by on a regular basis. After all, it’s the birthplace of the riots, and surely worthy of a visit even if it’s purely for historical acknowledgement and not liver based destruction. The Friday late party scene will be hectic, as will the rest of the weekend, and with so many places to choose from, it’s best to check out Next Magazine’s full listing to see what will float your boat. Expect lines, covers, and a ton of fun wherever you go all weekend!

Saturday

Saturday provides a whole host of amazing options. Rapture on the River: A Women’s Dance is a huge women’s dance party, scheduled at Pier 54 from 6pm to 11pm. Tickets start at $25, and you should get yours in advance if you can! However, if that’s not your thing, check out Love Ball instead. Starting at 10pm at the Nokia Theater in Times Square (yes, they really do need such an enormous venue for this event), the party will last til the wee hours of the morning, giving you just enough time to run home and shower before the parade begins. Tickets can be purchased in advance online and are either $70 or $150, depending on whether you want the VIP admit (which also includes an open bar).

Sunday

Sunday is, of course, the most looked forward to part of the whole weekend, the Pride Parade! Beginning at noon and stretching from the 50s well into the West Village, you’ll have to get to any spot pretty early for a good view. My personal favorite viewing spot is on the corner of Christopher and Gay Streets, where the buildings and trees will shade you from sun and rain alike. In addition, you’ll find yourself in close proximity to numerous bars where you can partake in the festivities while still watching the parade. Of particular note in this area are Pieces, the Monster, and of course, the legendary Stonewall Inn. All of them will be open bright and early, and while they may charge a cover, it’s worth it to pay and go in if you want to enjoy the celebrations (and possibly have access to a relatively clean restroom). You’ll usually get a bracelet, which allows you to come and go as you please, and is good for the whole day. Myself personally, you can find me at Stonewall all day on Sunday, so come by and say hi!

Additionally, Sunday is host to PRIDEfest , an annual GLBT street festival from 11am to 7pm. It stretches along Hudson Street between Abingdon Square and West 14th, and is home to numerous community groups, vendors, entertainers, etc. Much like a typical New York Street festival, it will be a ton of fun. The huge event that culminates the Pride Parade, however, is the annual Dance on the Pier, which will also be on Pier 54. Starting at 4pm, this enormous extravaganza will go on til way past the sun setting, and culminates in a fantastic fireworks display around 1030pm. The tickets are pricey, starting at $50 for general admission, and $150 for the VIP admission, which does include a free bar and may be worth it if you plan to indulge heavily as you dance your pants off.

Good luck and Happy Pride to all!

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