Out with the smoke, in with the rainbows!
After Canadian fire smoke blanketed the five boroughs earlier in the week, Brooklynites of all ages stepped outside and swarmed 5th Avenue on June 10 for the annual Brooklyn Pride festival and twilight march.
There was a noticeably larger crowd along 5th Avenue than in recent years when many events were subdued due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people watched the march from the curb, while others planted their lawn chairs on the perimeter or simply stood and cheered. Several locals waved rainbow flags from their windows or fire escapes.
Perhaps the most prominent theme of Brooklyn Pride is the family-friendly atmosphere. At every intersection on 5th Avenue, children were perched atop their family members’ shoulders next to dogs dressed in rainbow attire. And while the parade itself featured a range of community groups, elected officials, and floats, schools appeared to be the most overrepresented segment of marchers.
One spectator, Julissa, sat in a chair with a youngster but periodically stood up to dance along to music and record iPhone videos.
“This brings out the whole community,” said Julissa, who declined to disclose a surname. “Everybody comes together. It’s really fun. Everyone loves it, the kids love it, and it’s beautiful weather.”
Another spectator, Jason Weiner, sat on the edge of 5th Avenue and bobbed his head to the music as his dog jumped around on his lap.
“My daughter identifies as non-binary and I support everything about the LGBTQIA+ community,” Weiner said. “This is a joyous event. We need every moment of joy we can get. This is my second year in a row, but we plan to make it every year.”
The day-long event featured live entertainment, food, vendors, a 5K run/walk, and Youth Pride festivities before groups assembled for the parade, which drew a plethora of community groups and top political figures. Among the most packed venues was the lesbian watering hole known as Ginger’s Bar, which attracted such a heavy crowd that it was difficult for pedestrians to squeeze past it. Many of the restaurants and businesses along the parade route — which stretches from Lincoln Place to 9th Street — were decorated with rainbow flags. Several outdoor dining tables were positioned front and center, giving patrons a perfect view of the march.
Elected officials on hand for Brooklyn Pride included Attorney General Letitia James, Congress Member Dan Goldman, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, and several out city lawmakers, including Brooklyn’s very own Chi Ossé and Crystal Hudson , as well as Council Members Erik Bottcher of Manhattan and Tiffany Cabán of Queens. Major Eric Adams did not appear.
“Happy #BrooklynPride!” tweeted Hudson, who is co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus alongside Cabán. “No borough does it better!”
City Comptroller Brad Lander, donning a hat with rainbow colors, was especially energetic as he danced across the parade route with a Rainbow Flag in hand.
“Happy #Pride, Brooklyn!” Lander said in a Twitter post. “Our borough is a safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ community, and we will continue to stand together against extremist hate in all its forms.”
Contingents also featured political clubs — including LGBTQ clubs such as Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn and the citywide Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City.
Among other contingents included the Caribbean American Lawyers Association, the Brooklyn Public Library, Drag Story Hour NYC, Poly Prep, the International School of Brooklyn, Cheer New York, Saint Ann’s School, the PS 130 Rainbow Club, the Hetrick Martin Institute, the Berkeley Carroll School Parents Association, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Maimonides Health, and many others.
Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Cay City News. Click here to see the original story.