By Alex Robinson
Despite the No. 7 line being shut down for repair work this weekend, thousands gathered along 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights Sunday afternoon to celebrate Queens Pride 2014.
Parade-goers took in a long stream of colorfully dressed dancers and marchers, led by members of the City Council’s LGBT caucus, who served as the parade’s grand marshals.
Attendees came on foot, in buses and by car as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s upgrade and repair work on the No. 7 line stretched past Long Island City to Jackson Height this weekend with service suspended between Times Square and the Roosevelt Avenue-74th street station.
Music, which blasted all afternoon, was stopped temporarily at 74th Street so that a moment of silence could be observed for Julio Rivera, a gay man who was murdered at the street corner in 1990.
“To them, it didn’t matter whether he was gay, whether he was homeless, whether he was Latino – just because he was different – that’s why they killed him,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who was one of the parade’s grand marshals and the founder of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, which organizes the parade. “And that’s why we stop the parade every year at this location – to remember him.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio made history Sunday afternoon, as the first mayor to ever march in the parade’s 22-year history.
“It is the second largest pride parade in the city, but its spirit is tied for first,” the mayor said. “I want you to know this parade is a celebration of life. It’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and the strength of this city.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.