Events

Everything You Need to Know About the NYC Pride March

It’s been one heck of a Pride Month in NYC, and we haven’t even reached its pièce de résistance: the parade. The NYPD finally apologized for the 1969 Stonewall raid, Pose returned for Season 2, and Taylor Swift dove headfirst into allyship with an anti-“shade” single and a political plea. July is right around the corner now, but the party’s far from over: There are still a host of Pride events on the horizon, supreme among them the NYC Pride March

The Pride March is a time to celebrate queer identities, increase visibility of the community, and demand full and continued equality for LGBTQIA+ people. Part protest, part party, it’s the grand finale of Pride in New York City -- and this year, the whole world is watching.

For the first time, WorldPride has made its way to the US -- NYC, to be specific -- and the timing is no coincidence. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, often considered the catalyst of the modern gay rights movement, and the world wants to join the celebration. With WorldPride in town through the end of the month, the NYC Pride March is elevated from an already-huge Pride tradition to the world’s most significant Pride event this year.

On the last Sunday in June, people from around the world will flood Manhattan to sing some songs, wave some flags, and shed light on the important issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community. However you identify, this historic celebration is one of 2019’s can’t miss events. Here’s everything you need to know about the 50th annual NYC Pride March.

Pride March
Peppermint, Sasha Velour and Miz Cracke at the 2018 Pride March | Steven Ferdman/Stringer/Getty Images

When and where is the march?

The 2019 Pride March takes Manhattan on Sunday, June 30. Participants step off from 26th Street & Fifth Avenue at noon and parade through areas of the Flatiron District, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea.

What is the march route?

This year, the march begins at the north west side of Madison Square Park and heads south on Fifth Avenue. Marchers will turn right on Eighth Street, cross Sixth Avenue, then make their way down Christopher Street toward the Stonewall National Monument. After passing Stonewall, the procession turns right onto Seventh Avenue and continues past the NYC AIDS Memorial and up to the finishing point at 23rd Street. See the route here.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Pride March
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the 2018 Pride March | Gotham/Entertainment/Getty Images

Who will be at the march?

Everyone you’ve ever matched with on Tinder will be there, so there’s that. And even better, a handful of notable figures plan on attending Sunday’s event -- both members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

For starters, this year’s grand marshals include Pose cast members Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, and MJ Rodriguez. They’ll share the honor with co-founder and leader of UK Black Pride, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah; and creator of the Transgender Pride Flag and transgender activist Monica Helms. Politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Sen. Chuck Schumer also typically appear, and keep your eyes peeled for celebrities and LGBTQ trailblazers who’ve joined marching groups for the big day.

This year, 74% of the marching groups are non-profits, and nearly 150 groups are coming from outside the United States to be a part of WorldPride.

How long does the march last?

A long time. The route takes about 60-90 minutes for most participants to complete, and there are an estimated 115,000 of them. If history repeats itself, the last marching groups could reach the finish as late as 9:30pm.

How should I get to the march?

Any event this large will create transportation hiccups, and with street closures in the area on the day of the march, your best bet is to go underground. It’ll still be crowded, but it’ll get the job done. Plus, so many subway stops line the route you can practically pick one at random: The N, Q, R, and 6 trains all have stops near the start of the parade around Madison Square Park, you can take the A, D, E, or F to its midpoint near Washington Square Park, or hop on the 1 and hop off toward the parade’s end in Chelsea. As always, use the bathroom and check with the MTA before you swipe that MetroCard.

Pride March Stonewall Inn
Crowds watching the march from outside Stonewall Inn | Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis News/Getty Images

Where are the best spots to watch the Pride March? 

Outside the Stonewall Inn -- or anywhere on Christopher Street -- is hands down the coolest place to watch, but it’s also the most crowded. If you want more room to breathe, steer clear of the Village and head to spots a little farther uptown on Fifth Avenue.

What’s the weather forecast?

The only predictable thing about NYC weather is that it can’t be predicted. Currently, the forecast shows a partly cloudy sky with a potential stray thunderstorm in the afternoon. The high is 83 degrees, the low is 65, there’s a 20% chance of rain overall, and 55% humidity. Check the forecast on the morning of the march to see if it’s changed its mind.

What should I wear?

Express yourself, whomever you might be! Expect to see a wide range of attire that includes evening gowns, suits, khakis, crop tops, mesh shirts, tanks, harnesses, rompers, booty shorts, and cut-off jeans. It’s summertime, so weather-appropriate wear makes the day a lot more comfortable. Bright colors are encouraged, bare skin is celebrated, and perhaps more than any other day of the year, sartorial risks are recommended. What’s most important is that your outfit reflects who you are, no matter how flashy or modest. And wear sunscreen. It’s summer.

Henrietta Hudson
Henrietta Hudson | Molly Adams

Where do I party after?

Every queer space in town kicks into party mode when the march winds down. Take your pick from Pride night events like rooftop party Top of the World and R&B-focused T.G.I.S. Or head to one of the city’s best gay bars and make new friends while you wait in line for a drink. If you find yourself roaming the Village, consider Henrietta Hudson’s Occupy Hudson Street dance party.

What if I can’t make it to the march?

If you want to keep up with the celebration virtually, tune into ABC7 on Sunday, June 30, for live coverage between noon and 4pm. 

You can also follow NYC Pride on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for highlights, and keep up with this year’s official hashtags: #NYCPride, #WorldPrideNYC, and #Stonewall50. If you are going, consider tagging your posts so others can see!

What’s this talk of other Pride marches?

The NYC Pride Parade is by and large the weekend’s main event, but it’s not the only march worth your time. New York City’s Dyke March will protest societal injustice and increase visibility for all self-identified dykes starting at 5pm on Saturday, June 29. The inaugural Queer Liberation March, formed as an alternative to Sunday’s big parade, steps off on Christopher Street at 9:30am on Sunday, June 30.

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Kyler Alvord still hasn't put together an outfit for the Pride March. Give him suggestions on Twitter or Instagram.