Pride Island for the past couple of years has been virtual, and before that it was in Hell’s Kitchen at Pier 97. This year it will actually be on an island — Governors Island from June 24 to 26

Ritz Rainbow Flag-Pride Restaurant-Row Hell's Kitchen
The flags will be out at Ritz and on Restaurant Row in June. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The weekend festival on the Play Lawn at Governors Island will feature three days of parties and concerts — kicking off on Friday, June 24 with a Drag Island party, followed by performances on Saturday, June 25 by Papi Juice, a collective of artists who affirm and celebrate the lives of queer and trans people of color, and wrapping up Sunday, June 26 with headliner and international pop star Kim Petras, performing hits from her upcoming debut album. 

This year’s Pride theme is “Unapologetically Us”, aiming to honor the indelible impact of the events of the past two years on the LGBTQIA+ community. ​​“Our community has been through tremendous hardships over the past few years, beginning with the pandemic, and continuing with a reckoning with social justice, threats to our democracy, and more recently armed conflict overseas,” said NYC Pride Executive Director Sandra Pérez in a press release

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Madonna headlined the Pride Island festivities on Pier 97 in 2019.

“Compounding these struggles is the onslaught of legislation around the country that directly targets LGBTQIA+ individuals. In spite of these challenges and attacks, we are here to tell the country and the world: we will not be erased. We will stand together to face these attacks on our LGBTQIA+ siblings across the country and around the world. We will continue to love and live our truth and be our full and complete selves — and we are not going to apologize for it.”

Said Lauren Cheeseborough, Pride Island event manager: “With our first-ever trans headliner and our move to Governors Island, this will truly be a historic weekend in the history of Pride. The expansion of Pride Island to a three-day event creates new experiences for the community to love and live their truth by dancing freely without fear of consequence.”

Pride on the streets of New York in 2019. Photo: Erin Song/Unsplash

In addition to the party on Pride Island, the organization will host its annual commemorative Pride March through Manhattan on Sunday June 26, as well as satellite gatherings around the city  at The Conference (a symposium on queer changemakers) on June 23, a Youth Pride gathering on June 25, Teaze (a celebration of queer existence) on June 25, Fantasy Days (a leather-themed celebration) on June 25, The Rally (an advocacy focused gathering) on June 24, Bliss Days (a celebration of LGBTQIA womxn) on June 26, and the Greenwich Village PrideFEST on June 26. 

If you’re looking to stay hyperlocal, there are still plenty of Hell’s Kitchen haunts to gather in over Pride weekend and month! The first bar to literally get the flags out is Ritz on Restaurant Row at 369 W46th Street. While there are likely more Pride-specific event announcements to come, why not plan to visit newcomer Thirst Bar (692 10th Ave), known for its Thirsty Thursday and Drag Race viewing parties, or stop by The Spot for Drag Brunch? Head over to longtime happy hour favorite Rise Bar (859 9th Ave) or a Super Size Queen Friday at Hardware Bar (697 10th Ave), pay your respects to neighborhood veteran Industry Bar (celebrating 11 years at 355 W52nd St), check out the newly refashioned Hush (in the space of much-beloved and now shuttered Therapy at 348 W52nd), dance the night away at The Q (795 8th Ave) or visit the patio at DBL (667 10th Ave). And when in doubt, there’s always a party at Flaming Saddles (793 9th Ave)!

Jacqui Squatriglia Flaming Saddles
Jacqui Squatriglia and her team at Flaming Saddles are ready to welcome you to 9th Avenue. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Where will you be celebrating Pride this year? Sound off in the comments and help keep us up to date on what’s happening this June in HK!

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