The Best Parties During NYC Pride 2019
This month’s most famous get-together is the Pride March on June 30—but that’s just the capstone on a week (in fact, a month) of events so numerous you’ll have trouble choosing which to attend. Among the more than 50 events planned here in New York City are some not-to-be-missed parties, concerts, and celebrations. These are our picks.
Each June since the early 1990s, the Broadway singers and dancers who stage this burlesque fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS perform striptease to classic show tunes with occasional boldface special guests (past cameos have come from Alison Janney and Judith Light). For 2019, the theme is “Take-Off,” so expect plenty of airplane-related sauciness and an excess of Mile High Club puns.
There are two shows on the evening of June 16—expect the later one, at midnight, to be a little raunchier and rowdier. And sure, Broadway Bares isn’t an official Pride event, but it’s an unmissable, only-in-NYC extravaganza with a rainbow accent—all for a good cause.
WorldPride Opening Ceremony
Come for host Whoopi Goldberg’s EGOT-winning comedy, stay for performances by Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, DAYA, Ciara, and Billy Porter. How’s that for a star-studded official kickoff to WorldPride? Best of all, ticket proceeds will support NYC-based organizations Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality, and SAGE.
Ideally, you got on the ball a while ago and bought tickets to Pride Island, one of the most eagerly anticipated—and quickly sold out—events of NYC Pride. Still, those of you caught sleeping can find tickets on StubHub (you’ll pay, but what’s money with all those memories at stake?). Or just go ahead and beg, borrow, or steal your way to Manhattan’s Pier 97 to see Grace Jones in action. The supermodel, singer, songwriter, actress and icon, who is 70 actual years old, promised the Saturday night show will “go down in illustrious history.” How can it not? And if you don’t have the lyrics to Pull Up To The Bumper memorized yet, get started.
If that's not enough, Sunday’s show will feature a just-announced performance by the one and only Madonna. Yes, that Madonna—the one who called Pride Island “where I was born” and who was honored earlier this year at the GLAAD Media Awards for her advocacy and activism. Which is all very nice background for the music that’ll actually be the reason you’re there.
We’ll say it again, and we’re not ashamed: Madonna, y’all.
We’ll also note that it’s not entirely out of the question that she could be upstaged by the weekend’s other performances—from Brazilian drag queen Pabllo Vittar, rapper Teyana Taylor, German singer-songwriter and trans icon Kim Petras, Love & Hip Hop: Miami star Amara La Negra, and NYC DJ Johnny Dynell.
Everything is bigger and better at WorldPride 2019. Case in point: VIP Rooftop, an official NYC Pride fundraiser so popular it had to move to a larger venue. This year’s party will take over chic-as-ever The Park in West Chelsea (with views of the Highline), and promises sets from DJ Grind, DJ Tony Armada, DJ Ben Baker and DJ Kitty Glitter. The money raised helps NYC Pride host free events for families, young people, and more. Good cause, good venue, good vibes all around—plus great abs.
The next day, ladies—and the ladies who love them—will take over The Park with the inclusive dance party Femme Fatale. This crowd’s been mobilizing for four years now to celebrate the feminine side of Pride; on this occasion, L.A.-based DJ Kittens, known for her work empowering other female DJs through workshops and mentoring, will headline.
WorldPride Closing Ceremony
As the last specks of glitter are being cleared off the city’s streets, WorldPride 2019 will close with another event for the ages. With the glorious, guitar-slinging, Grammy Award-winning Melissa Etheridge for a headliner—and cult favorite comedian Margaret Cho for a host—the extravaganza includes performances by Jake Shears, MNEK, Deborah Cox and the ensemble cast of Broadway musical comedy The Prom. The closing ceremony finishes with a symbolic passing of the torch to the next host city—in this case, Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden, who'll jointly host in 2021. Though the event is free, you’ll need to register first. Expedited entry with access to a viewing area is available for $150.
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