Big, Beautiful Photos That Prove No One Celebrates Gay Pride Quite Like New York City

Nyc pride parade march police officerMelia Robinson/Business InsiderAn NYPD officer waves a rainbow flag during the NYC Pride March.

This past weekend, cities around the world celebrated LGBT pride with parades, festivals, and demonstrations.

Barcelona, Lima, Mexico City, Paris, Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco all raised the rainbow flag. But few cities could compete with the jubilant atmosphere and sheer size of New York City’s annual Pride March.

The first March was held in 1970 to commemorate the riots at Stonewall Inn. The year before, police raided the Greenwich Village watering hole, which had become a central location of NYC’s underground gay community. Fed up with the ongoing attacks, patrons fought back, stirring a riot and launching the modern day LGBT rights movement.

The March has since expanded to include recognition of the battle against AIDS and to celebrate the progress that has been made.

This year's NYC Gay Pride Parade commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, which are credited with launching the modern gay rights movement in 1969.

The parade route began at 36th Street, blazed down Fifth Avenue, and ended in the West Village, outside the Stonewall Inn.

An hour before the parade started, street vendors parked on almost every corner to sell rainbow flags, bandanas, leis, and other colourful memorabilia.

Others gave out goods for free.

Floats queued up on the cross streets before the parade started. Google's float featured the Android robot holding a pride flag.

Parade-goers arrived early too, with CBS 2 reporting hundreds of thousands of onlookers on the route by kickoff. They wore their pride on their sleeves (although sleeves were in short supply).

Source: CBS 2

Governor Andrew Cuomo was on hand, and took the opportunity to announce a new initiative to identify, track, and treat people with H.I.V. The new measures aim to reduce infection so that by 2020, AIDS would no longer reach epidemic levels in New York State.

By noon, they were off!

First-time marchers, the Boy Scouts of America, led the parade. Last year, the organisation voted to end a decades-old policy of prohibiting openly gay youths from being scouts.

Next up were the Grand Marshals. Laverne Cox rode at the head of the motorcade, and 'Orange Is the New Black' fans went crazy for her. Cox is the first transgender woman of colour to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted TV show.

Source: NYC Pride

Fellow Marshal Rea Carey is one of the most prominent leaders of the LGBT rights movement. She serves as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which seeks to advance a vision of fairness and justice for LGBT people and their families.

Broadway-turned-television star Jonathan Groff was the last of the Grand Marshals. He gained fame from roles in 'Spring Awakening,' 'Glee,' and 'Frozen,' and now stars in HBO's 'Looking,' centered on three gay friends navigating life in modern day San Francisco.

Other celebs were there in spirit. Marchers waved heart-shaped signs with 85-year-old Edie Windsor's face on them. Her landmark Supreme Court case last year struck down the statute than banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

More than 300 groups -- including political campaigns, LGBT advocacy and rights organisations, and corporate sponsors -- marched the two miles. And they did it in style.

This guy worked the parade route like an Angel on a Victoria Secret's runway.

The Emerald City, Glinda the Good Witch, and Dorothy of 'Wizard of Oz' represented.

Others adopted a more abstract look.

Years ago, when gay officers first petitioned the force to march in the annual pride parade, their superiors agreed but said they couldn't walk in uniform. Today the NYPD, Police Band, and Gay Officers Action League march in full force -- donning uniforms accessorized with pride flags.

Along the route, crowd favourites emerged. The Flaggots, one of the oldest gay colour guards in the country, performed gravity-defying tricks to the beat of house music.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau passed out free sunglasses, that literally everyone wore. People love free stuff.

Members of the Comcast -- NBCUniversal crew broke away to perform a sick dance routine they had rehearsed.

Netflix took the cake, no contest. When their float turned the corner onto Fifth Ave., the crowd erupted when it saw surprise guests, the cast of 'Orange Is the New Black.' Yael Stone (Morello), Danielle Brooks (Taystee), and Samira Wiley (Poussey) danced and took selfies with the paparazzi who flanked the float.

As the parade route neared The Stonewall Inn in the West Village, the atmosphere changed significantly. Love was in the air everywhere you looked, and the parade-goers channeled their energy into cheering on the marchers, who had been walking in the hot sun for 40-plus minutes, rather than flagging down the marchers giving away schwag.

For fuel, Nutcrackers were the drink of choice. Lots of people were holding unlabeled plastic bottles, filled with a homemade mix of various hard liquors and fruit juices and selling for $US2 to $US5 out of coolers.

Onlookers stepped up the fashion game in the area.

And upped the look with elaborate face paint designs.

But clothing seemed to be more sparse overall. Women across the West Village exercised their right to be topless in public, like the lady below.

At the route's end, marchers looked exhausted but kept smiling. 'I'm going to keep walking until a trans woman of colour is president,' one marcher said with a wink, just a couple hundred feet from the finish line.

The parade culminated in a blow-out dance party at Pier 26. Lines wrapped around the block to get into the bash, where Demi Lovato and DJs Pagano and Grind would perform.

Others escaped the crowds and fled to one of the West Village's dozens of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars -- to be with the ones they love.

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