Brooklyn Pride took over Fifth Avenue on June 11 as a lively daytime festival paved the way for a jubilant sunset march featuring a range of community groups, elected officials, and energetic marchers who waved Rainbow Flags and danced along the parade route.
The lively atmosphere — and the pleasant weather — translated into a spirited revival of Brooklyn Pride after back-to-back years of COVID-related limitations. Brooklyn had a virtual Pride event in 2020 and restarted the festival last year, but this year marked the first borough-wide Pride March since 2019.
The daytime festival kicked off in the late morning and lasted through the afternoon, drawing a large crowd of attendees who browsed the street venders and watched performers on the entertainment stages. Brooklynites of all ages were in attendance — and for good reason: Brooklyn Pride incorporated a Youth Pride event to this year’s festivities, giving families even more of a reason to show their Pride at a time when right-wing forces are targeting LGBTQ youth around the country.
The family-friendly atmosphere was also evident at the evening march, where locals of all ages lined the sidewalk along Fifth Avenue and cheered on the plethora of community groups, non-profit organizations, church groups, and politicians along the parade route.
Different contingents flowed through the parade as night fell, but the front of the march was overwhelmed with political figures. Mayor Eric Adams marched in the parade and drew mixed reactions from the crowd, while other citywide officials were also on hand — including Speaker Adrienne Adams, who marched with the Council’s contingent; Comptroller Brad Lander; and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Attorney General Letitia James marched along as well.
With election season in full swing, there were also appearances from other politicians competing in several different races. New Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado was marching along with a Rainbow Flag as he greeted his constituents just steps away from out bi lieutenant governor candidate Ana María Archila. In the competitive race for the redrawn 10th Congressional District — which includes parts of Brooklyn — out gay Congressmember Mondaire Jones, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Councilmember Carlina Rivera mingled with Brooklynites.
The borough’s two out councilmembers — Chi Ossé and Crystal Hudson — participated in Brooklyn Pride festivities for the first time since taking office. Brooklyn’s out State Senator, Jabari Brisport, also joined in.
After the politicians passed by, however, a community-driven ambiance settled in. The Prospect Park Women’s Softball League injected enthusiasm into the march, while bands like Fogo Azul and Batala New York had locals dancing to the street beat.
Folks representing community non-profits such as the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Gay Men’s Health Crisis also held up their banners as they made their way along Fifth Avenue.
At times, onlookers spilled onto the street to snap pictures or offer high-fives to marchers, but many also remained perched at dedicated spots along the route. Jade Charles, who was attending a Pride event for the first time, sat near the parade and watched the groups pass by.
“I wanted to see what it was about,” Charles said. “I’m part of the community and I’m finally coming out to take part in it. It’s beautiful. The cops being here was a little controversial for a lot of reasons, but other than that, it’s nice.”
Some other attendees didn’t even know the march was coming. Joshua Wall, who lives in one of the residential buildings along the parade route, heard sirens and went outside to check it out. Wall ended up bringing a lawn chair outside to enjoy the festivities.
“The vibe is good,” Wall said. “Everybody is just a little more excited this year, it seems.”