Sunday, June 28, 2009
Happy Gay Pride Day
It's Gay Pride Day today in New York City and the 40th anniversary, to the day exactly, of the Greenwich Village Stonewall Bar riots that started the gay rights movement.
Gay Pride Day is always a lot of fun in New York.
Last year we went to the closing night festivities at Florent Restaurant in the Meatpacking District for one of the most memorable New York nights ever. I wrote about it, and my friend David Patrick Columbia published it on NewYorkSocialDiary.com.
This year TD marched in the parade with our great church Judson Memorial but I was not feeling so hot; I have this weekend what TD had last weekend. I walked over to Fifth Avenue for a visit.
There is a constant thunderous roar as the gay groups and floats pass and the crowd cheers. It's a joyous event. One of the most popular groups is PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. One year, both of my parents and my brother Thom marched in the parade with TD and I in the PFLAG group. That was when the parade started up at Columbus Circle. We five all held hands in a line and when we rounded the corner at 59th Street onto wide Fifth Avenue, the crowd roared and I felt like the luckiest boy in that parade, I'll tell you.
Today the float passed by for Bailey House, which houses homeless people with AIDS. TD sits on the board of directors – I'm proud of him.
Here is Frontrunners, the gay running group. This is how Ted and I actually met. We were both members of Frontrunners, and ran at the annual Pride race in Central Park. That night we were introduced at a celebratory party. Ted went off to have dinner with friends, and we were introduced again two months later over Labor Day weekend on Fire Island. That time it stuck. This was in 1985, 24 years ago, glory be.
When I moved to New York in 1983 I didn't know anybody and went by myself to see the Gay Pride parade up in midtown in the 50's. As I stood on the curb, I wanted to march in the parade but I was nervous about it. What if someone saw me? What is there was someone from work watching? But, gee, I wanted to join in the fun and also make my own personal statement. I was torn. Then I saw a guy walk by in the parade I knew. I had met him on Martha's Vineyard. Danny Feder was his name, very handsome charming guy who died, as many did. I said to myself, "If Danny Feder can do it, I can do it." I remember looking down at my sneakered feet as they left the curb to join the parade. There are moments in life when you take a leap of faith that everything will be fine.
And everything was fine.