What a beautiful day for a parade! A colorful, overwhelming, hours-long parade! Aisha and I arrived about an hour early, first stopping by the Stonewall Inn and then settling across from the AIDS Memorial, near the start of the parade route. I'm not sure if we could've picked a better spot.
I knew New York Pride was going to be epic, but I couldn't anticipate just how epic. The people! The floats! The rainbows! The confetti! The condoms! The helicopters! The media! The signs and sounds and sweat! Phew!
Pride is heavily corporatized, and it's no different in NY, the commerce capital of America. So there were the usual suspects like Macys, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Target with their flashy floats and free swag, which of I happily took. But there were also many independent cultural and nonprofit groups that had the best performances and energy.
I also really loved seeing some of my favorite drag queens from Ru Paul's Drag Race, especially Miz Cracker from Season 10. When the float arrived carrying the final 4 queens of the season, I was a bit star-struck! I forget these are people who exist in real life!
I was surprised by the heavy presence of politicians at the parade. The biggest press rush occurred when Cynthia Nixon's crew arrived. Many politicians and candidates were handing out signs with inspiring pro-gay messages on them, "Paid For" captions at the bottom. That made me uneasy, and I didn't want to hold signs for anyone. I'm from MA people, I can't even vote in NY!
I also found it fascinating and a bit ironic that the parade was led by a fleet of NYPD cars, considering the first pride parade in the US and in NY was to commemorate the Stonewall riots.
Aisha and I lasted about 3 hours before the sun and hunger forced us to abandon our post. We ventured through the crowds to find the end of the parade route. When we did, we saw that the last float hadn't even begun moving. The parade still had a long way to go.