New York City residents and visitors are gearing up for an historic Gay Pride Weekend.
Thousands of attendees turned out for the annual Pride Rally Friday night at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26. The free three-hour event started at 7pm.
YouTube sensation and former American Idol contestant, Todrick Hall, hosted the event which marked the opening of the official Pride events. Bob the Drag Queen, best known for winning the eighth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on Logo, performed a few numbers. Hall and Bob the Drag Queen also performed a duet to a song entitled “Wrong Bitch”.
The highlight of the night was hearing from the owner of Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. On June 12th, a gunman opened fire at the club — leaving 49 people dead and 53 injured. Nightclub Owner Barbara Poma addressed the crowd. “Today we must also use this opportunity to comfort one another. We will not allow hate to prevail,” Poma said. “It is our time to show that love will conquer hate – that we are one pulse — that we are one nation.”
Prior to Poma’s speech, a group took to the stage and read aloud the name of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre. An overhead screen displayed the images and names of those victims.
Once past the checkpoint, an “NYC Pride” sign greeted attendees and provided a perfect selfie-moment. Event sponsors — including Kiehls, T Mobile and Glaceau Vitamin Water set up booths around the pier’s perimeter. Staff manning booths handed out complimentary gifts and promotional items. Among them: temporary tattoos, bottled vitamin water, photo booth images, rainbow-colored bracelets, astringent and moisturizer samples and orange handkerchiefs that said Pride Stands With Orlando #WeAreOrlando.
The 2016 NYC Pride Rally is the 47th annual rally. The first occurred a month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. That’s when about 500 people gathered for what they called a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park and a candlelight vigil in Sheridan Square.
The annual Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 26th in Manhattan. Marchers will step-off at Noon from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The route ends at Christopher and Greenwich Streets.
For more information about NYC Pride 2016 events, check out https://www.nycpride.org/events