By Kyra Baffo

Our NYU dorms were in a prime location for the World Pride Parade (Also happens to be our very first weekend in the city.) World Pride experience began earlier in the week with a trans rights protest that passed right in front of Lipton Hall, though festivities were coordinated for the entire month of June. Performers held live events in the preceding nights that brought out hundreds of locals and students excited to celebrate Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stone Wall Riots. This was my first Pride event, and considering it was World Pride, I had high expectations. And let me tell you- it did not disappoint.

Millions of people traveled to the city in light of the celebration. Pride Flags decorated the city, and Greenwich Village felt like the central hub for Pride parades, performances, and festivities. The Pride March originated in Madison Square Park and followed a U shape through the city; it brushed just north of our dorms at Lipton, passed the historical Stone Wall Inn and culminated at 23rd street. There were food trucks offering decadent foods (I enjoyed a delicious lobster quesadilla and homemade whoopie pie), drag queens, auctions, and a variety of vendors.

Unfortunately, participating in the march itself was closed off to most people. We spent most of our time spectating from the sidelines and navigating through massive crowds. We stopped for 99 cent pizza, a must do if you find yourself in the village. The pizza was seriously the best pizza I had in New York City, and it was only 99 cents! It was interesting to see all of the corporate sponsors making their debut on Pride Floats, from T-mobile to JP Morgan, I couldn’t help but notice how commercialized the Pride had seem to become or maybe- how global the movement has become.

Is this a good thing? Or does it take away from fundamental message of Pride? As Global Studies majors, maybe it is inevitable that we would question this. We spoke with activists celebrating at the Stonewall Inn who emphasized their discomforts and/or appreciations with the police force at Pride, which draws from a long and violent history between law enforcement and members of the lgbtq community. For some people I spoke with, the police did not have a place at the parades at all. For others, it represented the progress and accomplishments that the movement has achieved.

Attending the Parade was an amazing opportunity to learn about the varying perspectives and ideas about the movement today. Despite the official conclusion of the Parade, the streets were full of people, confetti, and flags well into the night. I spent the latter part of the evening in Christopher Park, a lively hub located directly in front of the Stonewall Inn and home of the Gay Liberation Monument; performers and activists stayed well into the night and were a great source of fun and entertainment. Spending Pride in NYC was an unforgettable experience and one I am glad I got to experience with my fellow Global Studies peers.

Kyra studied abroad in New York in Summer 2019.