When I close my eyes and picture the ideal New York City that people move here for — the colorful, frenetic, something-special-in-the-air place that holds its arms in a wide embrace as a welcome to all sorts of differences — the Pride Parade marches right through my imagination and into my clearest line of vision.
In person, it is as if the entire city is there: attending, celebrating, watching. Even those who are in transit through it turn into participants by way of high fives, giant smiles and outfit admirations. The noise is that of uproarious joy: laughter, whoops, hollers, sing-alongs to the nearest audible song, friends calling out to one another from across the way and so many compliments. For a city that is teased for its generally grumpy demeanor, during Pride, there is no shyness nor avoiding eye contact. There is connection, acknowledgment, respect and mutual admiration. Strangers smile at and hug one another. People make out on corners. At the intersection of every street near or adjacent to the parade’s route, there is an optical intersection of the LGBQTI+ flag: different races, genders, sexual preferences, sizes, bodies, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, ages, abilities. There is an incredible tangible display (by way of dance, clothing, makeup, floats) of self-expression. It is impossible to not feel the joy of those around you.
“[T]o be able to come to Pride and to see that for one day, so many different kinds of people can come together and celebrate something, it’s a little refresher from all the craziness going on,” Sabrina, 21, told photographer Simon Chetrit, who captured the NYC Pride Parade in the slideshow above.
This parade, for all its chaotic, wild energy, was and is a steadying reminder that there is a heart at the center, and that great big love abounds. Below, feel free to keep sharing your pride stories, upload photos from the parade you attended, or anything else that keeps the joy of this day flowing. –Amelia Diamond
Photos by Simon Chetrit.