Lesbian & Gay Pride March

by Philip Greenspun (1995)

Home : Travel : New York : One Vignette

"Hang out by St. Patrick's Cathedral," my friend Ken said. He has lived in the Village for years so I figured he'd know. "The gays hate the Cardinal and vice versa so there is always a confrontation."

It turned out that the New York's Finest had the same idea, for there were at least a hundred police officers ringing the cathedral (with more standing by on horseback), keeping anyone from getting near it or the sidewalk opposite.

The police did such a good job that I never really did figure out what was supposed to have happened. Mostly I just observed the expected Dykes on Bikes, a bunch of fairly generic parade floats and marching bands, and a large crowd in genial spirits.

Hate rides the bus in from Jersey

Particularly upsetting was a coffin-shaped sign reading "Here lies a Queer who marched last year" (you can see it in the photo at left).

Protesters constituted about 0.01% of the crowd, but got a fair amount of police and press attention. All of them looked as though they'd taken a bus ride in from New Jersey.

Department of Individual Expression: In Your Face

Department of Individual Expression: Cheerful and/or Thoughtful

The Real Action

My favorite part of the parade wasn't part of the parade; it was the staging area for the floats (51st Street between 5th and 6th). People had nothing to do but stand around and wait so they danced and laughed.

Best Advertising Gimmick

D.G. Neary Realty's slogan: "A Castle for Every Queen"

A Tourist's View of the March

The worst thing about New York is also the best thing: it reduces everyone and everything to insignificance. While tens of thousands of people were marching, watching, pondering, and celebrating, the tourist life at Rockefeller Center, 50 yards from the 5th Avenue parade, continued unchanged.

The Cathedral Retains Her Composure

Whatever may be happening outside, St. Patrick's is unchanged inside...

The March is organized by Heritage of Pride.

Text and pictures copyright 1995 Philip Greenspun