NEW YORK — New York City's annual LGBTQ Pride parade was held virtually for the second year in a row Sunday due to the pandemic, but that didn't stop thousands from marching, celebrating and making their presence felt at a series of events around the city.
The main New York City Pride parade, which usually draws throngs of participants and spectators, was presented as a television broadcast special, since now-lifted pandemic restrictions were still in effect at the time it was being planned.
In a pre-recorded video aired during the event, actor Wilson Cruz, one of the parade's grand marshals, said, "Pride for me is about how we work in earnest to truly include all of us across the spectrum of identities in our struggle for freedom and liberation."
On a day marked with high temperatures and brilliant sunshine, throngs gathered around the city, at PrideFest, a street fair with vendors, food and entertainment in Manhattan; at Herald Square where a dance party was planned, and at Washington Square Park, where videos posted online showed a raucous party in progress. Fireworks, music and food were prepared for Pier 45 in Hudson River Park.
Sean Gannon from Maplewood, New Jersey, attended with his husband and two 3-year-old sons.
"It's such an important thing for them to see that they have two dads and that there are other people that have two moms, two dads, single dads, single moms," Gannon told WCBS Radio. "There are all different ways that families are made up, so it's really awesome to be able to share this experience with them today."
For people looking to march for LGBTQ rights, the Reclaim Pride Coalition held its third Queer Liberation March from Bryant Park to the Stonewall National Monument and into Washington Square Park. The liberation march event does not allow police or corporate participation.
New York City's gay pride parades began in 1970 to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising, which started after a police raid on a Manhattan gay bar.
The Stonewall Inn is still there, now under different owners.