As everyone knows, the modern worldwide gay rights movement began on a hot night in late June when queens fought back after police attempted to raid a dive bar in Greenwich Village, a bohemian enclave of Manhattan. The rest, as they say, is history.
The world's first Gay Pride March was held in late June 1970 to commemorate the seismic changes already underway because of what happened on the streets of the Village a year before. Despite greater numbers in cities like Sao Paulo, Brazil; the intensity of Marches in cities like San Francisco; and the utter fabulosity of places like Sydney, New York's Pride March has held pride of place among the thousands of such events throughout the world.
With over 80 floats and over 350 organizations, the Sunday march is an all-day affair that consumes much of Lower Manhattan. This year, there will be a decidedly more political bant after the organizers agreed to let anti-Trump activists have the coveted lead position. But there will be plenty of hot men in tiny shorts dancing on one or another of those floats.
Nor is the eye candy all the way from 36th Street into the Village so bad, either. As the most cosmopolitan city in the world, New York already contains more nationalities with more languages spoken than any other city in the world. During Pride, people from all over the world arrive, not only for the March and related events like the Friday-night rally, but for the multitude of parties, most of them on a scale to match the March itself.
Before his death, DJ Peter Rauhofer's Friday night "Work" parties had risen to become the pinnacle of gay hard House, with hard men dancing all night. This year, "Men at Work" will feature two DJs who have followed in the master's footsteps. Prepare to dance your ass off.
Patti LaBelle and Deborah Cox will perform on Friday for Pride Island -the new 3-day LGBT cultural experience at Pier 26. Pride Island is the reimagined take on Dance on the Pier.
The next day, the don't-miss event is the "VIP Rooftop Party" at Hudson Terrace on the edge of Hell's Kitchen. All levels will be open, including the rooftop, with its spectacular views of the Hudson River and cityscape. This one sells out real fast!
On Saturday night, L.A.'s Masterbeat returns to once again transform the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom into New York's largest mega-club. The world-class production will feature custom concert sound, hundreds of moving lights and lasers, and a theatrical production showcasing the hottest dancers and performers in this world and very likely the next.
On Sunday, just after the March comes the Big Kahuna of gay dance parties. Over the decades, the Pier Dance grew from merely gargantuan to something polistiively mind-bending. Two great DJs will precede the headliners, superstars Chus and Ceballos, who will be spinning for thousands of people enjoying their freedoms, the city and each other on a pier jutting into the Hudson River.
NYC Pride waits to announce the live performer. What everyone does know is that whoever she is (always a "she"), she will be following in the footsteps of every dance-music megastar, from Madonna to Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande to Cher, whose appearance last year was covered as heavily as the presidential debates.
Be warned: Tickets are not easy to get. Act quickly or be disappointed. And keep in mind that it's quite likely this may be the last Pier Dance, since all of the available piers are being developed.
Finally, on Sunday nght, there's Alegria. The capstone of the weekend, this party distills out of the millions of thousands of Pride-celebrating residents and visitors the hottest men. The party always has a fun, upbeat theme. Impresario Ric Sena puts even more effort into this one, not only because NYC Pride is the place to showcase the premier North American gay party brand, but because Alegria began at NYC Pride.
Again, this is quick sell-out. New York is a competitive place, even for partying. You have been warned. Once you're inside the party, you'll understand why tickets to these events are so coveted.