New York Gay Pride weekend was a huge Celebration

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Gay Pride in New York 2011The passage of marriage equality in New York State turned this year’s annual gay pride celebration and parade into one of the biggest parties New York City has ever experienced. The parade, filling 5th Avenue from noon to well after 6 pm, was viewed by crowds packed curb to curb and wall to wall the entire length of the march. The Pride Parade has always drawn big crowds but it is a long route and in past years, not every block was crowded with as many spectators.

The Annual Gay Pride weekend in New York was a huge party this year due to the passage of gay marriage in New York State.

The Annual Gay Pride weekend in New York was a huge party this year due to the passage of gay marriage in New York State. All photos by Toby Grace.

This year, there wasn’t a single uncrowded inch anywhere from 40th Street to Christopher Street. The mood went beyond celebratory and reached the heights of exaltation. Many spectators and participants cheered wildly – others stood with tears of happiness running down their faces as they reflected on the long struggle that brought the LGBT community from the Stonewall riot of 1969, through a half century of constant, up-hill struggles, to the day when full civil marriage equality could at last be celebrated on the very ground where it all began.

The New York Gay Pride crowds were bigger than ever in 2011.

The New York Gay Pride crowds were bigger than ever in 2011.

With its usual mix of everything from gorgeous go-go boys to drag queens to religious and social service organizations, politicians, gay and gay-friendly businesses and marching bands, the parade was a celebration of real diversity, creativity, the glory of human sexuality and the freedom to be as different as you want to be.

Ending with the traditional street fair, pier dance and a wild night at the clubs, this was truly a memorable day said everyone you might encounter. It was a day presided over by the spirits of thousands of LGBT brothers and sisters who were part of the long fight but, because of AIDS and hate crimes, did not live to see this day. They were remembered when the parade paused and the vast crowd was hushed for a moment of silence. This has been a yearly tradition.

One poet wrote: “You too can hear their voices raised and freedom’s holy cause be praised if on this night you’ll listen. On Christopher Street, the tears they shed, where long ago they fought and bled, still, in the starlight, glisten.”

 

Gay Pride in New York 2011The passage of marriage equality in New York State turned this year’s annual gay pride celebration and parade into one of the biggest parties New York City has ever experienced. The parade, filling 5th Avenue from noon to well after 6 pm, was viewed by crowds packed curb to curb and wall to wall the entire length of the march. The Pride Parade has always drawn big crowds but it is a long route and in past years, not every block was crowded with as many spectators.