It’s impossible to overstate just how jam-packed with marchers and revelers the big 50th Anniversary Pride celebration was on Sunday afternoon, and over every inch of the two-mile route. The groups marching even seemed notably larger than previous years—for example, the DOE sent more than 400 people to march instead of their usual 40 or so. There were also thousands of marchers from around the world this year, with the NYC march being one of the main WorldPride gatherings for 2019; according to the NY Times, "scheduling WorldPride for New York was a first: In the 19 years since its inaugural conference in Rome, WorldPride had never taken place in the United States."
An official crowd estimate has not yet been released, but prior to the event, the NYPD predicted some four million people would be in attendance. Among the crowd was longtime attendee Frances Goldin, holding the same sign she's had for 40 years: "I Adore My Lesbian Daughters, Keep Them Safe."
Even with the barricades set well into the broad avenues (Fifth and Seventh), the viewing areas were absolutely mobbed all the way back to the storefronts. The usual soft spots, at which the casual Pride fan could stroll up mid-afternoon and get close to the action, were non-existent this year. All in all, it took about 3 hours for the first corporate float to hit Christopher Street.
And this was the second Pride march of the day! The Queer Liberation March, launched this year to offer a non-corporate alternative to the official event, stepped off from Sheridan Square at 9:30 in the morning, as thousands made their way up to Central Park. One volunteer for that event, Jake Seller, told 1010Wins, "What's important to remember is that this is a protest against the monetization of the Pride parade, against the police brutality of our community, against the poor treatment of sections of our community, of black and brown folk, of immigrants... We march for the liberation of our community so they can live and celebrate their identity. So they can reclaim it. This will always remain a protest, not an advertisement."
Some people, most notably a contingent of the original Stonewall rioters 50 years ago, doubled back to participate in the official Pride March after partaking in the Queer Liberation March.
Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Chuck Schumer, Attorney General Letitia James, and NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Senator Brad Holyman, Borough Presidents Ruben Diaz and Gale Brewer, Comptroller Scott Stringer, US Representative Nydia Velázquez, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams were all in attendance at the official Pride March, as well.