By Bill Parry
Mayor Bill de Blasio will be the grand marshal of this year’s Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights June 7, one year after he became the first mayor to march.
The second largest pride parade in the city, now in its 23rd year, will step off at noon at 89th Street and follow a lavender line down 37th Avenue to 75th Street.
“When I founded the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee over 20 years ago, I was hopeful that we would increase the visibility of the LGBT community in Queens in a positive and impactful way,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “Having the mayor of the city of New York as our grand marshal shows just how far we’ve come. The mayor’s presence is an acknowledgment that the LGBT community in Queens and throughout the city is visible, welcome and included.”
More than 40,000 spectators are expected for the parade, with the No. 7 subway line running that day, a Sunday. The parade will carry the theme; “Pride-Strength-Unity.” A street festival with more than one hundred vendors will take place at 75th Street and 37th Road and performances will take place on two stages from 1:30 to 6 p.m.
CeCe Peniston will perform her hit “Finally” and other songs from the Festival Stage.
“I’m very proud of all the people who pour countless volunteer hours into making this event so special every year,” Dromm said. “I look forward to many more years of this celebration of LGBT pride in Queens.”
Dromm’s office is sponsoring a kickoff event at Diversity Plaza June 6. Flushing Town Hall will present performances by local artists who identify as LGBTQ.
“The show will include poets, dancers, singers and musicians,” Dromm said. “It is a great way to celebrate LGBT pride.” The free program begins at 5 p.m. and will include former Queens Poet Laureate Paolo Javier, singer and songwriter Gabriella Callender, the SALGA Dance Team and pianist Jaun Valencia.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr