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Beyond the Parade: An Insider's Guide to NYC Pride

by Kelsy Chauvin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jun 15, 2018

It's time to start fluffing your wigs and polishing your marching (or runway) boots -- 2018 New York City Pride is almost here!

This year's NYC Pride promises to be a memorable 10-day event and perhaps a foreshadowing of even greater things to come as the city anticipates Pride 2019, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and hosts WorldPride.

For 2018, there's a new march route, cultural and culinary events galore, the inaugural Human Rights Conference, and more ways than ever to celebrate. As always, the march will feature scores of floats, community organizations, businesses, and elected officials -- plus it will honor four incredible grand marshals: Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Tyler Ford, and Kenita Placide.

Here's a rundown of some of the top places, parties, and other points where you can enjoy the Big Apple for the June 14-24 festival.

Where to Stay

With a new marching route in 2018, a new assortment of hotels between downtown and the Flatiron District are offering NYC Pride packages.

Joie de Vivre Hotels is among them, with a discounted rate and welcome amenity for travelers who book via the Pride website (a discount code will automatically appear). California-based JDV Hotels are reliably gay-friendly, welcoming loyal LGBTQ guests to its boutique hotels -- including 50 Bowery and Park South.

Hyatt Hotels is another great brand for accommodations. It is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and ranked number two on Fortune's 2017 list of the "Best Workplaces for Diversity." Better still, Hyatt marked its 14th consecutive year as one of the few hotels with a 100-percent rating for "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign Corporate-Equality Index. Both the Grand Hyatt New York in Midtown and Hyatt Union Square partner with IGLTA, as does the entire Hyatt Brand.

Where to Eat

Oh, the choices of dining options for a Pride-filled getaway in New York City! Eating in the East, West or Greenwich Villages; Chelsea; and Hell's Kitchen are great places to support LGBTQ restaurateurs, servers, and other queers employed in gastronomy.

For LGBTQ chefs, consider a reservation at the Village's beloved Buvette or Via Carota, run by partners Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. Chef April Bloomfield, one of the city's most prolific restaurateurs (and a noted author) is the mastermind behind quite a few mostly carnivorous eateries around Manhattan, including The Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar in the ACE Hotel (also a Pride sponsor), The Spotted Pig, and Salvation Taco. Also not to miss is James Beard Award-winning Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune.

Chef Roberto Santibanez's Fonda is a frontrunner for best modern Mexican fare, with locations in Chelsea, the East Village, and Brooklyn's Park Slope. Try chef Brian Washington-Palmer's new San Francisco-style taqueria Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash in Harlem, where you can find an assortment of tacos, sharable bites and great cocktails in a casual setting.

Baked goods come in many delicious forms in this city, starting with bagels. Head to Baz Bagel & Restaurant in Little Italy for carb-a-licious bites and all the classic deli trimmings by Chef Bari Musacchio. Take a sweet turn with treats by Cesar Moreno at Gardenia, a Latin-Mediterranean fusion restaurant in the Village or head to the now iconic Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

You can also join some of NYC Pride's fundraising culinary events like Pride Luminaries Brunch on June 17 and Savor on June 21 -- just be sure to lock in your advance tickets soon.

Get Cultured

Among Pride's stellar seasonal highlights is the Pride Series at Joe's Pub series featuring June cabaret and comedy shows by Justin Sayre, Alan Cumming, Becca Blackwell and more.

Broadway is on fire with gay-centric shows, including the most Tony Award-nominated play in history, "Angels in America." The stellar revival stars Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. An all-star cast has also gathered for "The Boys in the Band," boasting an all-gay creative team and cast including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells and directed by Joe Mantello.

Head to MoMA for "Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016," a retrospective of the conceptual artist's work that explores "gender, race, xenophobia, and, more recently, social engagement and self-transcendence."Among Pride's stellar seasonal highlights is the Pride Series at Joe's Pub series featuring June cabaret and comedy shows by Justin Sayre, Alan Cumming, Becca Blackwell and more.

NYC Pride Tips

NYC Pride is hosting an incredible lineup of festival events, starting with the city's first Human Rights Conference on June 14, Family Movie Night on June 19, and a whole array of jubilant, kinky, unforgettable parties - indoors, outdoors, lesbian-centric, themed, and beyond. Pride Island is sure to be the party not to miss, though, with Kylie Minogue, Big Freedia, Tove Lo, and others taking the stage at Pier 97 over June 23 and 24.

The annual NYC Pride March is famous for its huge attendance and revelry. It's almost equally famous for seeming to last forever as it meandered for nearly two miles down Fifth Avenue, then blazed westward through the Village. In 2018, the March will speed up a bit by limiting the number of floats and vehicles, as well as the number of marchers in each contingent.

The Pride route also got a makeover, reversing course and getting shorter. It will set off in lower Chelsea from Seventh Avenue at 16th Street heading south toward the Village. Then it will turn left onto Christopher Street, connect to 8th Street, then turn northward on Fifth Avenue. The grandstand will remain in its usual spot at 25th Street (by Madison Square Park); this year marking the march's end rather than its beginning, as marchers disperse at 29th Street. (Click here for a map.)

With so many exciting and new events, check out the impressive new NYC Pride website for the latest announcements and events, to contribute donations, volunteer, and to join the legacy of New York's Heritage of Pride organization.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBT interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.


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