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#Travel: It’s set to be a rainbow summer in NYC

New York is hosting the biggest Pride celebration in the world. Be there!

ht weekend Updated: Jun 02, 2019 09:53 IST
Kruti Kothari
Kruti Kothari
Hindustan Times
New York City,Stonewall Inn Uprising,Kruti Kothari
A June pride gathering at the historic Stonewall Inn, three years sago; 2019 marks 50 years since the gay rights uprising began at this bar in Greenwich Village.(Kruti Kothari)

Summer is one of the best times to explore New York, and this year is going to be even more memorable. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising and the city plans to celebrate this jubilee on a mega scale. Fifty years ago, in June 1969, there were spontaneous protests by members of the gay community following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.

The bar was then a refuge for young gay men, lesbians and transgender people. Marsha P Johnson, an activist and drag performer, was one of the most prominent figures of the uprising. It was the birth of an international gay rights movement.

This June everyone will have a chance to revisit the legacy through a month-long celebration in New York. To give a glimpse of the festivities to come, popstar and gay icon Madonna, the ambassador of Stonewall Inn, marked the 50th year of the uprising on New Year’s Eve with a surprise ‘Like a prayer’ performance followed by a speech.

The Empire State Building lit up in rainbow colours for Pride Day, 2017. ( Getty Images )
Also, where to go if you’re a…
  • Culture vulture: The Morgan Library and Museum, Manhattan, is a repository of some of world’s rarest books and manuscripts, and an art museum of medieval and Renaissance drawings.
  • Foodie: Go to Smorgasburg, Brooklyn, the country’s largest open-air food market. This annual food flea market is held on summer weekends, from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • Nature enthusiast: Go to Wave Hill, Bronx, an estate turned into a public garden overlooking the Hudson River. Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt summered here. It has a café and hosts cultural events.
  • Party animal: Head to House of Yes, Brooklyn, a nightclub that is routinely on lists of things not to miss in New York. It is known for wild parties, circus performers and burlesque.
  • Theatre lover: Don’t miss Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel, Manhattan. The immersive theatrical experience tells the story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The hotel’s film noir experimental theatre vibe makes for an exciting evening.

“If we truly take the time to get to know one another, we would find that we all bleed the same colour and we all need love,” she said, adding, “As we stand here, let’s remember who we are fighting for and what we are fighting for. We are fighting for ourselves, and each other. But truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for?” The hopeful crowd echoed with the word “Love.” An all-encompassing equal love that will travel through the five boroughs of New York this summer: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Visit the photo exhibit Stonewall50 at the New York Public Library, showcasing the work of photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, that captured the LGBTQ movement of that era. The New York Historical Society features two art exhibitions and an installations on LGBTQ Night life and Lesbian HerStory Archives that are a must-see. Other fabulous exhibits to catch are Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Art After Stonewall; Guggenheim’s Robert Mapplethorpe photography exhibit; and NYC Opera’s Stonewall (The Opera).

Dance away at music festivals, parties and performances by Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge, and many more at the piers on the Hudson River. Relax with your children during outdoor Family Movie Nights on Pier 45, West Village.

Engage and educate yourself at a World Pride Human Rights Conference to be attended by activists, artists, educators and political figures. Make memories taking selfies on a rainbow crossing on Christopher Street outside the Stonewall Inn, now a national monument. Explore New York’s gay history through a tour with a gay professor of Oscar Wilde Tours, or Brooklyn’s dark side with drag queen Mrs Sinister Strawberry.

That’s 30 days of 50-plus events, exhibits, parties and rallies, with an estimated 4 million supporters from around the world paying homage to the Gay Liberation Movement. Millions marching on Fifth Avenue to honor 50 years of pride will be a sight to behold on June 30.

March in the parade or just stroll around and watch the spectacle against the romantic skyline of New York. World Pride is going to be nothing short of a lifetime moment.

Kruti Kothari is a New York-based photographer and writer.

First Published: Jun 01, 2019 15:00 IST