Thousands of people packed the streets between Madison Square Park and the Stonewall Inn Sunday afternoon for the annual Pride March.
It was the first time since 2019 that there were no Covid-related restrictions in place at Pride, and the mood was celebratory.
The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade was at the forefront of the protest portion of the event (Gays against Guns was another recurring theme). The biggest cheers of the day went up for the large contingent of marchers from Planned Parenthood — among the groups to step off from Madison Square Park and head down Fifth Avenue at noon.
The crowds showed up in force and — perhaps partially because the route was shortened by about a half mile from recent, pre-pandemic years — the sidewalks were more packed with people than they’ve been in recent memory, with everybody ready to party.
Amid the revelry, however, marchers and the spectators were vocal in their anger over recent attacks on LGBTQ+ rights across the country, as well as the Supreme Court ruling on Friday.
“We better remember the riots from where this all came from, and that Pride started as a protest,” said Nicole Maletta, who was at Pride with her children. “We all need to come together and make sure we’re not going backwards . We need to find some Stonewall energy.”
But as it was with Dyke March on Saturday, and Drag March on Friday night, the overall vibe at Pride was joyous, providing a massive stage on which everyone could safely express themselves.
“This is very exciting,” said Andy Hon, an Upper East Sider at his first Pride. “Just being around so many people and feeling very embraced and very included is a wonderful experience.”
The corporate takeover of so much of the event has led to frustration, though nearly everyone toned down the branding this year, even on the biggest floats. And the grim backdrop didn’t interfere with an emotional and unforgettable day for anyone coming to their first Pride.
“I grew up Ultra-Orthodox and this is my first Pride being Out,” said Rev Seinfeld, who was born and bred in New York City. “Growing up I didn’t know who I was because I didn’t have the words for it, but in my adulthood I’ve discovered that there’s nothing wrong with me.”
Seinfeld continued: “I’m just Queer, and Trans, and that’s amazing. And it’s really meaningful for me to be here because I’m finally accepting of who I am and I’m with people who love and accept me as I am. I’ve never been in a place with this many gay people.”