Buckle-up Bitches, NYC Pride's Here!

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It’s almost that time of year again when debauchery floods the streets of Manhattan in a vibrant flash of rainbow-colored flags, floats, and tutus. That’s right folks, NYC’s Gay Pride is almost upon us and I can already smell the nauseating cocktail of sweat and alcohol that permeates the air during this weeklong summer party. Although pride is considered to be only a weekend long, I refer to the event as a full week because members of the LGBT community from all around the world migrate to NYC for Pride and their presence is noticed filling up all the gay bars and clubs throughout the week. 

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The weeklong love fest kicks off on June 23rd on the tamer side with a family night. At Hudson River Park’s Pier 63 a free screening of Disney and Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” will begin at dusk and welcomes all children and LGBT families to attend.  Thankfully, this is the only night during Pride Week that is expected to remain even remotely conservative. The real Pride weekend (sorry kids) begins on June 26th with the NYC Pride Rally, where my queen Ashanti will be performing. I am holding out for a cameo by Ja Rule, although doubtful, because who can forget the music video for “Mesmerize”?! 

Anyway, enough of my fangirling. The first Pride Rally was in June of 1969, just a month after the Stonewall Riots, and boasted a gathering of 500 people rallying for “Gay Power” at Washington Square Park. Each year the Pride Rally occurs in a new location, with this year’s location being Hudson River Park’s Pier 26. This year’s rally will start at 7pm and end at 9:30pm which gives us all enough time to run back home and pregame before the night’s festivities. If you aren’t feeling gay barhopping after the motivational Pride Rally there is a burlesque and masquerade event located at The Diamond Horseshoe, a $20 million club that is hidden beneath Times Square. There will be international DJs at the event with UK’s The Freemasons and Sydney’s Kitty Glitter attending. The festivities begin at 10pm on Friday and roll into Saturday morning ending at 5am. This masquerade and burlesque party is a ticketed event so be sure to check out NYC’s Pride website in order to purchase tickets. 

Pride Saturdays are always my favorite, because that’s when the parties really take off. Starting at 2pm, the fifth annual VIP Rooftop Party is one of NYC Pride’s most popular events. The event spans three different levels: Hudson Terrace Rooftop, Indoor Salon, and Outdoor Terrace and music is provided by four incredible DJs: Ben Baker, Saul Ruiz, Grind, and Cindel. What makes this event truly amazing is the open vodka bar from 2pm-3pm which will be sure to get you turnt enough to dance until the party ends at 10pm. Tickets for this event have sold out every year so if this event sounds appealing, it’s best to guarantee a spot early. Saturday also boasts an event exclusively for women, but since I clearly cannot and would not (no offense ladies) attend that then who cares. Now if you boys are still wet from the pool party and want to shake those booties dry then head on over the Hammerstein Ballroom for the official Saturday Night event at Pride – WE Party: University. Though ticket prices are steep (general admission starting at $100) the party is said to be filled with 3,000 of the hottest men from around the world dressed or undressed from head-to-toe in a collegiate theme. As typical Pride fashion, this mega party will be hosted by two international DJs: DJ Sagi Kariv from Tel Aviv and DJ Mickey Friedmann from Berlin. If you are looking for an unforgettable Pride party experience, then sign up for some tutoring from the studly professors found at WE Party: University. 

Hopefully come Sunday the alcohol in your body will have powered you all through your hangovers so that you can attend the penultimate event of Pride, the March. Beginning at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue at 2pm the 45th annual Pride March will be led by Grand Marshals Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellan, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, and J. Christopher Neal. If you’re like me (vertically challenged) you will probably have a hard time seeing all the amazingly inspirational floats and marchers unless you lock down a space at the guard rails early. If you are like me again, however, you can continuously run to various parts of the parade route to catch all the glitter, glamour, and gratuitous nudity that the March has to offer and then get mind numbingly drunk at one of many jam-packed gay bars in the area. Now if the parade isn’t your thing or if you have seen enough and want to skip over to another event, Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 is hosting the last event of NYC’s Pride week, “Dance on the Pier”. This incredible fundraiser and party will take place along the Hudson River and lasts until 10pm, with all proceeds going towards New York City’s Official Pride Events and local LGBT community organizations. In addition to a fireworks display over the Hudson, my OTHER queen, Ariana Grande, will be performing and I cannot wait to see that ponytail in action. Like most other Pride events, “Dance on the Pier” requires a ticket so be sure to purchase one from NYC’s Pride website before attending. Though this event ends relatively early, gay bars in the area will be open until 4am so you still have time to bring a man home on your last night as Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” plays in the background.  

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I attended my first NYC Pride when I was 21 years old (to sum it up in one word: WILD), and I have been hooked ever since. Every year I request time off from work citing the need to attend “family weddings” so that I can experience a full week of the Pride-induced alcoholic binger (did I just get fired?).  If you’ve never attended a NYC Pride before, now is the time to do so. Nearly everyone at Pride exudes an air of friendliness and shares the hive mindset to party and have fun, which opens the door to new friendships and relationships alike. So join me and hordes of LGBT community members from around the world during this incredible event. All week you’ll find me drunkenly stumbling to or from a gay bar in women’s muscle tees or whipping my man bun around on the dancefloor. I hope you’ll join me. Happy Pride everyone and see you June 23rd-28th!