The NYC Gay Pride Parade takes place this year on June 26,th but the city is home to a lot of LGBT history all year round. For LGBT families that plan to visit the city during the month of June, there are many activities and historical sites to visit during your stay.
While a lot of Gay Pride celebrations take place in the bars and nightclubs around the five boroughs of New York, there are some events and historical locations that are family-friendly and celebrate the spirit of Pride month.
The Stonewall Inn
Most people know that The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village is famous for the riots that started off the gay rights movement in the U.S. in June of 1969. The original bar (ironically owned by member of the mafia) closed only a few months after the infamous riots but its fame lived on. Realizing the cash value of history, investors opened the bar again with the same name in the 1990’s.
Of course you don’t want to take your family into an old drinking establishment but you can visit Sheridan Square Park in the West Village where pop art sculptor George Segal’s Gay Liberation piece was installed in 1992 to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. It is the first public artwork in NYC commissioned to honor the LGBT movement.
Family Pride Picnic
The LGBT Community Center’s Annual Family Pride Picnic is an outdoor celebration featuring games, music, a puppet show, face painting, lunch and lots of other fun activities for children and their parents. Local families of all sexual-orientation come out to enjoy the day and celebrate tolerance and diversity. The picnic will be held this year on Saturday, June 25th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at PS 41 at 116 W 11 Street.
Family Movie Night
What can be more fun than an outdoor movie under the stars overlooking the Hudson River. This annual free outdoor movie event is happening this year on June 21st at Pier 63 at Hudson River Park. While this event is free, families can purchase premium seating that includes a blanket, pillows, beverages and gift bags. Visit the Pride 2016 website to purchase these tickets.
The film this year will be Disney-Pixar’s classic Toy Story and “doors” open at 7:30 p.m.
The Church of Transfiguration (also known as the Little Church Around the Corner)
You may not think of a church as a place to celebrate LGBT history but this Episcopal establishment was ahead of its time in many ways.
Back in 1871, when theatre people were not considered respectable, a celebrated actor of the time, Joseph Jefferson, wanted to arrange a service for a fellow actor who had died penniless. He approached a fashionable 5th Avenue church and was told that they did not provide services for those “types of people” but that the “little church around the corner” on 28th Street might. That little church has been marrying, burying and attended by actors ever since. The church is known for its inclusive practices and welcomed all worshipers despite their sexual-orientation. It celebrated its first same-sex wedding in 2012
The church, located at 1 East 29th Street, has a daily mass at 12:10 p.m. and posts information about its seasonal concert series. The building has a peaceful gated little garden where you can grab lunch at a local deli, relax and watch the madding crowd go by.
New York Public Library – Stephan A. Schwarzman Building
The Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library holds over 100 collections pertaining to the history and culture of gay men and lesbians. The collections opened in 1988 after the International Gay Information Center donated its archives to the library.
Aside from this historical collection, the main library, located on 455 5th Avenue is a beautiful 100 year-old structure that hosts many art exhibits and daily story time for toddlers in the Central Children’s Room.
You may not be ready to take your children to see the artwork of Robert Mapplethorpe but there are many LGBT artists whose works are kid-appropriate and can be seen at the museums and galleries throughout the City.
The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art houses some of the most famous lesbian and women artists of the 20th century. The Dinner Party, an installation piece by Judy Chicago celebrates important women in history. This semi-permanent installation is enhanced by the fascinating Herstory Gallery that has rotating exhibits relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table. As a mom with a daughter, this piece is awe inspiring and a must-see for those interested in women’s history. This museum also has a fun family-friendly night of art and music that is free on the first Saturday of the month.
The Pride celebrations during month of June culminate with the parade. The Gay Pride Parade in NYC is one of the most famous in the world and was organized to commemorate the birth of the gay rights movement in the City. While it does have its share of large noisy crows and alcohol-inspired revelers, there are many families of all persuasions that come out to watch the festivities. The parade takes place on June 26 at 12 p.m. and kicks off at 36th and 5th Avenue. Click here for the parade’s route map.
Before or after the parade head to the local street fair, PrideFest, for food, fun and music. The festival is at Hudson Street between Abingdon Square & W. 14th Street and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.