Images in Order (1, 8) courtesy Getty Images, (2-6) by Joseph Alexiou, (7) Courtesy Gem Hotel
Story by Joseph Alexiou
Mid-June is an exciting time to be in New York City—not just because all the guys spend Sundays tanning on the Pier. This is better in just two words (is it possible?): Gay Pride 2009. This is a big year for Pride, not only after the release of Gus Van Sant’s Milk, but also being the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.
That’s right, Gay Pride week officially begins this weekend with the Rally, and next week a flurry of festivities so wild that drag queens can barely keep their wigs on. Before we can even sink our teeth into the main event, Brooklyn Pride (New York’s second biggest pride) takes place this weekend, which begins with a 5k fundraiser run starting at 8 a.m., followed by a day festival from 11 a.m.-6 P.M., finishing with the Night Pride Parade (7:30 p.m. start) and the official after party.
Still, this weekend will see the Rally (imagine a gay pep-rally) featuring out comedians Michael Serrato and Marga Gomez, performance artists the Gender Offenders, Academy Award-winning screewriter (and Parade Grand Marshal!) Dustin Lance Black, and many other big LGBT names. The other pre-festival activity is Rapture on the Pier, also known as the Pier Dance for Ladies, with music spun by circuit favorite DJ Susan Levine.
In celebrating the "Year of Milk," Grand Marshaling the parade along with Black are activists and (Harvey Milk Cohorts) Cleve Jones and and Anne Kronenberg. Starting on June 28 at noon, the Parade (sponsored by numerous national corporations, be on the look out for almost naked boys slinging vodka, running shoes, politicians...) begins at 52nd St and 5th Avenue, descending the stately thoroughfare until W. 8th St, where a right turn and a sharp left (with a quick right turn in between) brings the revelry down Christopher St., the original gay epicenter of the city and the PrideFest street fair (which, by the way, also carries on from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the June 28).
A great spot to grab early (think 10 a.m.) is right at 9th St. and 6th Ave., so you can head into the West Village if you desire—crossing Avenues is near-impossible during pride. You can have the option to head to Greenwich Ave and bask in what may be the gayest place in the universe, at least, for one day. Also expect the wonderfully fattening street foods and many vendors selling chunky jewelry, CDs, and gay themed everything—from pride flags of every size to any object imaginable slathered with rainbow colors.
More information after the jump!
Post-parade festivities include the ever-popular Dance on the Pier (the only Pride event that requires a ticket), featuring fireworks and beats by DJs Phillip Kimball, Jack Reina, and Corey Craig. The dance starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m., but in theory one can dance around and party all day during pride—the numerous bars will all have pride specials celebrating the joyous occasion—starting on Thursday the 25th, if you're heading in for a long weekend specifically to celebrate pride.
Pride hotel package deals
For those folks looking for a place to stay, the GEM Hotel Chelsea celebrates pride by offering guests 10 percent off its starting rate ($189), valid June 26 through July 5. If booking through the website, be sure to enter rate code TAG to get the pride discount.
Those looking to dance on the pier while visiting in style can get luxury city view rooms at the Ritz-Carlton New York in Battery Park City. For $545 a night, the price includes VIP tickets to the pier dance, with an open bar, VIP bathroom, and special viewing platform. A more affordable package offers patrons to hang out at Splash! instead of the pier for only $295 a night.
Further hotel packages include “Pride in the City” at Kimpton’s The Muse New York, and “Propose on Pride” at Kimpton’s 70 Park Ave hotel, both offering romantic (and sexy!) luxury accommodations, free wine and champagne all for only $299 a night during pride season; Get Hot For Pride Week at the Carlton Hotel includes a deluxe room, facial or swedish massage at Oasis Spa, a "special kit" from the Pleasure Chest and some free items from the Country Restaurant, all for $406.90 (that's 15% off). And finally, right in Bryant Park the Westin New York offers rates at $289 a person (including a free cocktail with check-in!) if the rate codes PRIDE7, PRIDE8, or PRIDE9 are mentioned.
Ace Hotel, a growing collection of lodging options that started in Seattle, recently opened in New York on Broadway between 28th and 29th Streets offers two pride deals. One package, dubbed Cheap Queen for a Cheap Queen includes one night in a cheap queen room or bunk room plus a copy of the Cheap Bastard's Guide to NYC and a bottle of wine and costs $169 per night. Their Nice Package consists of a bottle of Rudy's Barbershop shampoo, a choice of spirits out of the mini bar (Grey Goose or Jack Daniels), and an in-room movie of your choice. Starting at $239 for a standard room, or stuff your package and upgrade to a deluxe room for $50 more per evening. Cheeky, right?!
NYC & Company, the City’s tourism office, has launched a yearlong “Rainbow Pilgrimage” campaign to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Visitors can learn more at www.nycgo.com/gay.