NYC Pride Parade and Other Classics

Saturday was a happy day for homosexual couples here in New York: Governor Andrew Cuemo approved the act of same-sex marriage, which will be reinforced in the 30 days following his announcement. This makes New York the 6th (!) state in the US which allows gay lovers to finally tie the knot and obtain all the legal rights connected to marriage (adoption is one; on the flip side, divorce and all the drama connected to it are now also an issue gays would have to deal with). Needless to say that bride and groom costumes were an all-to-common theme at the 42nd annual Gay Pride Parade in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon. One of the best parades I’ve been to so far here in the City!

It started in Midtown and went down 5th Avenue until concluding in the Village. I got a good glimpse of it around W8th Street, being smashed against the sign of Barnes & Nobles but happy to see all the artistically made-up people celebrating their new freedom. Even though I was there for 3 hours straight, I wasn’t bored but rather entertained. The vibes were great and there were no conflicts I experienced (unlike other parades). It was good to look at some nice half-naked trained bodies who were just enjoying showing off and being among their like-kind. I don’t consider the US to be one of the most open-minded countries when it comes to homosexuality and same-sex love. California and New York City (not necessarily the rest of the New York) might be some of the rare sad exceptions to this rule. Compared to a gay parade in Germany, this was more flamboyant and a lot bigger by size and different from the people participating in the parade. Which is a good thing – I am glad NY somehow gets to play a lead role when it comes to this topic. You should have seen the expressions of some cops, though, they were ready to “kill.” Oh boy! The after party must have been pretty rough, I can tell you that much.

Parade time is usually from June to November here in New York. Two weeks ago I had the chance to check out the Puerto Rican Parade more uptown on Fifth Avenue. Due to me being a waitress last year and missing out on all the sweet Sundays (the day most parades are held), I did not get a chance to attend it last year. This was made up for this year so I patiently waited, taking in all the energy around 80th St. And noticed I really wasn’t feeling it!
Sorry, but what is so special about pimped up rides and socially disadvantaged people showing their cars off? Since when is it in fashion to be a hardcore “thug” with gold in your mouth and an aura of non-trust? The entire hour I stayed (didn’t feel any need to stay longer than this!) I basically clutched my handbag tight to my chest and tried to avoid any eye or body contact with ANYONE around me. No joke! And man, was I glad I am not blond, otherwise those drunk wanna-be-Latinos would have been all over me (as seen with a Russian girl who was followed by quite a bunch of these). I’m sure Puerto Rico has a lot more to offer than this and that their culture has a few more interesting sides than from what I experienced so far.

Well, it was good I went and great I saw it here in New York but to quote my former boss “it is not a cultural event you would want to attend if you don’t have to.” So true! Thanks, should have listened to him.

Off to the Halloween Parade, which is on October 31 (every year) and which I still didn’t get a chance to see because of the immense crowd of people that kept me from going last year. I cam from the Union Square side and people were standing around 6th Ave from two blocks away. A slight turn-off and a reminder for me to either be there ahead of time or to go to a different spot this year.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, one of the classics for longterm New Yorkers, is held every third Thursday in November (hence the name!). I was there in 2010 with two other German girls and we were bored out of our minds. I guess it is a great thing to do if you are with children or a younger age group but nothing too interesting to watch when you are a teenager or older.

And, to save one of the best marches for the end: The German-American Steuben-Parade at the end of September! The best part about this is not the parade itself but surely the party afterwards aka as the New York Bierfest in Central Park. The Parade shows some traditional German groups but for some unexplicable reason it also includes German Karneval costumes (which has nothing to do with Bavarian tradition or Beerfeest fashion). Well, I guess Americans WOULDN’T know the difference, so be aware of this and you won’t be fooled the next time you go. The Steuben-Parade is okay if you have never seen anything German before. But you should definitely follow the hungry crowd to the tents (you do pay a fee) and get it on with good German beer. We stayed until the bitter end, six long hours, and then went on to “Zum Schneider’s” in Alphabet City. That’s where it ends around 4AM (or 5AM, depending on the bartender). One of the most eventful days here in New York so far.

A doctor tapping our beer

Now that you have a slight overview I hope you will enjoy watching a few fun parades and don’t get ticked off by some rude people stepping on your foot. It’s all part of the experience!