|Pride March 1974|
I'm reaching into the deep past to conjure up my early remembrances of the NYC Pride march. I hope I don't scare anybody with the "age" issue. Age stereotyping and discrimination is still very prominent in the gay community which, like the dance-music world, can be a tad thorny for me at moments. But, I mean, I'm still hep! I'm still youthful! I'm "Forever Young!" I can still disco down without fear of hip replacement or heart attack! I swear to God! It's just that I've just been around awhile -- oh, and, yes, in so many ways as you may have guessed.
|It's a riot!|
The march was unofficial and not sanctioned by the City or then-Mayor, Abe Beame. Consequently, we had to march on the sidewalks, not in the road. Traffic was not stopped, there was no police protection nor overboard crowd-control equipment nor onlooking crowds. There were no vendors selling souvenirs, no floats, no pier dance to go to, no go-go boys but, yes, the drag queens were there.
The route for these early marches went from Christopher Street, where the riots took place, uptown to Central Park. It got media attention, of course. At the band shell in the park, there were performances. Then everyone took the subway or cabbed it back downtown to go to the bars and discos on and around Christopher Street, where most gay action was located at the time.
From 1993 through 2011, I lived in a cramped studio apartment off the corner of Fifth Ave & 8th St in Manhattan. Even when I far outgrew it with material things, I held onto it because (a) it was rent-stabilized, (b) location location location and (c) the Pride march passed by, right out front. Many brunches, coffees and cocktails were served up for my friends, plus there was a restroom and a space to sit down when standing got too much or the heat outside got too intense. Good times! Before that cushy situation, I alternately marched or watched.
This year, I'll be commuting in from Bay Ridge. But I will be there, eager to catch the start with Dykes on Bikes and Cyndi Lauper, its Grand Marshal. I will probably go to the Gay Pride march for my lifetime, remembering my first marches that felt so civil-disobedient. Watch out for my walker!
Every year, my Dr Spinelli reminds me: "Be safe!" And, every year, I say to him: "At my age, what (or who) do you think I'm gonna do??!?" (Of course, I guess you (and I) never know.)