WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan — NYC Pride weekend kicked off Friday evening with music drawing a huge crowd outside the Stonewall Inn — the symbol of the gay rights movement.
2.5 million people are expected to line the streets for the annual march this Sunday - a celebration of diversity
The theme of this year’s parade is “Defiantly Different,“ which organizers say takes a direct aim at Trump administration policies.
“I think its important to highlight how the community feels,” said Julian Sanjivan,
NYC Pride March Director.
“Pride was not even recognized or mentioned by the current administration so yeah Defiantly Different it is.”
The key change this year – the route. The 49,000 marchers will step off at 16th Street and 7th Avenue, head south down to the historic Stonewall Inn, before heading east on Christopher and 8th Streets before going north on 5th Avenue to disperse at 29th Street.
The reason for the change - a test run for next year. Not only will it be the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots but for the first time, the city will be hosting the World Pride Festival.
“We anticipate 5 to 6 million people congregating in here,” said Sanjivan. “We decided we needed to figure out a route that can accommodate that large number of people.”
But before next year, there’s still the matter of keeping this Sunday’s march safe. The NYPD says they’re ready.
“We will have thousands of uniformed officers and plainclothes officers deployed along the entire route and more than 100 blocker cars and sand trucks that will also be in place on the route,” said Rodney Harrison, NYPD’s Chief of Patrol.
The NYPD also wants to stress there are no credible threats.
Another reason for the route change - the march has been lasting increasingly longer and longer in recent years. Last year’s lasted 9 hours and 38 minutes. They’re hoping the route change cuts down on time.
The parade starts at 12 noon on Sunday.