NYC to Host WorldPride in Celebration of Stonewall 50th Anniversary

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Outside of The Stonewall Inn. (Photo credit: Brittany Petronella)

On June 28, 1969, riots broke out in New York City following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Now known as the Stonewall Riots, the 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in LGBTQ history is being celebrated this year when NYC hosts WorldPride on June 25-30, 2019, marking the first time that this global event will be held in the U.S. For the LGBTQ travelers on your client list, this might be the perfect time to book a stay in NYC.

“We have declared 2019 the Year of Pride not only to celebrate WorldPride and Stonewall 50, but to acknowledge the perpetual spirit of New York City’s vibrant LGBTQ community,” says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “In addition to the iconic events in June, the city is brimming with a yearlong roster of cultural activity.”

Celebrating LGBT History with Art
“Cultural organizations across the five boroughs have thoughtfully planned exhibits and experiences throughout the year tied to Pride and Stonewall 50 so travelers can experience the city’s vibrant and diverse culture, and celebrate the significance of the strides that have been made,” says Dixon.

Stonewall World Pride
Visitors to the various LGBTQ-themed art exhibits can expect to see the work of Keith Haring among others. (Photo courtesy of NYC & Company)

Noteworthy art installations include the Stonewall 50 Exhibitions at the New York Historical Society in Manhattan, where travelers will find three exhibits on display from May 24 to Sept. 22, 2019. Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall will explore the history of LGBTQ bars, clubs, and nightlife in NYC during the second half of the 20th century, while By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives will examine lesbian lives both pre- and post-Stonewall. Special graphic installation, Say it Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride will feature imagery from five decades of NYC Pride marches.

Travelers can also head to they Brooklyn Museum for the Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall exhibit, which will be on display May 3 through Dec. 8, 2019. Borrowing its title from the rallying words of transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, Nobody Promised You Tomorrow aims to expand understanding of the Stonewall Uprising beyond the image of protesters in the streets to consider the everyday acts that reinforce public activism. Meanwhile, year-round offerings include the Alice Austen House Museum in Staten Island, the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, and the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project with sites spread across all five boroughs.

Pride Parades
A central part of WorldPride celebrations are, of course, the pride parades, and each borough of New York City will mark the occasion with its own events. In Staten Island, PrideFest will celebrate its 15th anniversary with more than a week of events May 10-19, including a 5K fun run, a Youth Prom, and an afternoon festival featuring live music, drag performers, food trucks, and craft vendors.

This year is also a noteworthy one for Harlem as the borough celebrates not only the 10th anniversary of Harlem Pride, but also the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. A month of celebrations for the anniversary begins on May 31 and will include performances, discussions, and ceremonies at iconic locations such as the Apollo Theater. Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx will host their pride parades and festivities on June 2, 8, and 23, respectively.

Photo from a previous Pride parade in Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Walter-Wlodarczyk)

Travel Advisor Events and Advice
Along with hosting this year’s WorldPride celebrations, two LGBTQ trade shows have opted to host their 2019 conventions in New York City to align with the “Year of Pride.” The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association will host its 36th IGLTA Annual Global Convention in the Big Apple on April 23-27. In addition, PROUD Experiences—a luxury LGBTQ trade show organized by Reed Travel Exhibitions and now in its second year—is already sold out for its June 18-20 dates.

“This year’s Pride will be particularly memorable as nearly double the usual participants will descend on New York City. Approximately four million visitors are expected to celebrate WorldPride June,” says Dixon.

He also adds that travel advisors should “consider booking accommodations in the boroughs beyond Manhattan. Price points are lower, there is likely to be better availability, and there are corresponding activities and Pride parades in each borough that uniquely reflect the culture of each destination.”

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