N.Y. Scene: Pride edition

The first NYC Pride, begat from the Stonewall Rebellion in the infamous summer of 1969, had its humble yet spirited beginnings during the following summer in 1970 and has blossomed into one of the biggest and baddest Pride celebrations in the world. Official events last a full week, beginning with a rally on the second to last Saturday in June and ending with a march the last Sunday in June, and Pride parties continue until the wee hours of Monday morning.

This year, the quantity and quality of events for women were unparalleled. Just a few years ago, the thing for lesbians to do was to congregate on Hudson Street outside of Henrietta Hudson after the Pride March and sip warm beer from Dixie cups, hoping that the cops would believe you when you said your cup was filled with apple juice. Fast forward to 2010. On Saturday, June 26 alone, there were at least five mega parties for women being held simultaneously.

And I was crazy enough to hit as many events as I could without passing out. Although there were plenty more, I hit 13 in all: The Rally, Kiki, Stonewall, Proposition Pride, the NYC Dyke March, Rapture on the River, Choice C*nts, GirlNation Pride, TruckStop NY, the Pride March, a Pride house party, Stiletto Pride and Rodeo Disco. I hereby bring you the AfterEllen.com 2010 NYC Pride Marathon. All right, ladies – gird your loins. Let’s do this!

NYC Pride Rally @ SummerStage, Central Park – June 19, 2010

The first NYC Pride Rally was held one month after the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969; approximately 500 people gathered for a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park. In 1997, the Rally moved midtown to Bryant Park. This year, the Rally was held in Central Park’s SummerStage, near 5th Ave and 72nd St. Like the Jeffersons, we’ve moved on up to the east side, next to some deluxe apartments in the sky.

Several nationally recognized speakers and activists, such as Lt. Dan Choi, gave motivational speeches between performances by well-known comedians and musicians. Among the musical acts were Billie Myers, the Broadway cast of Hair, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Billie Myers

Broadway cast of Hair

Meshell Ndegeocello

At one point Billie Myers jumped off the stage and weaved through the crowd, much to everyone’s delight. Later on, Lt. Dan Choi gave a fiery speech, rousing the crowd to chant, “I am somebody!” before he marched off the stage.

Kiki Launch @ Mix Café and Lounge, Astoria, Queens – June 22, 2010

Next we move to the borough of Queens. Although most people would consider the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn to be the hubs of lesbian nightlife, the often overlooked borough Queens has its own thriving lesbian scene, including Bum Bum Bar and Chueca. Both venues draw a loyal crowd, but if you’re not into Latin music, your options are hopping on a train to Manhattan or taking the long ride to Brooklyn.

Two weeks ago during Pride week, Kiki, a new women’s party in Astoria, Queens was launched. Astoria is a neighborhood that is trendy enough to invite excellent bars, restaurants and cafes but low key enough not to attract the not so excellent hipster contingent. It is also where I live, so there was no way I was going to miss this.

A stream of familiar faces strolled into the room – women that would otherwise be headed towards Manhattan out of necessity, but since Kiki is within walking distance of pretty much all of Astoria, the R and N trains will be seeing less dyketastic patrons on Tuesday nights – unless the traffic is flowing east from Manhattan. Why leave home when a friendly place is just down the street? Cheers!