Kicking off the parade, which ran down 37th Avenue from 89th Street to 75th Street, was Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made history by becoming the first New York City mayor to serve as a grand marshal of the parade. He joined APICHA Community Health Center, which was also one of the grand marshals.
“This parade stands for a rejection of any bias and prejudice against the LGBT community,” de Blasio said. “We will not stand in this city for anyone who would harm our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. And this parade stands for that resolute value of New York City.”
De Blasio became the first mayor to march in the parade last year, and even marched in 2013 while still serving as public advocate.
Joining the mayor were local elected officials such Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council members Daniel Dromm – who founded the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee over 20 years ago – Jimmy Van Bramer and Julissa Ferreras, and other city and state officials.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Pride – Strength – Unity,” according to organizers.
“We know what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us – ‘The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.’ This parade epitomizes that constant movement towards justice. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep marching on until the day when everyone is truly embraced,” de Blasio said to paradegoers.
At the end of the parade, which featured colorful costumes and even four-legged participants, visitors were able to enjoy the Queens Pride Festival, which ran along 37th Road from 74th to 77th streets.
The festival featured about 100 vendors, community and social group booths and two stages of entertainment with performances that went on throughout the day.