Rainbow connection! Thousands parade through Park Slope for Brooklyn Pride - Brooklyn Paper

Rainbow connection! Thousands parade through Park Slope for Brooklyn Pride

Let your flag fly: Mayor DeBlasio and his wife Chirlane McCray march in the Brooklyn Pride parade in Park Slope on June 13.
Photo by Paul Martinka

Talk about pride and joy!

Thousands of revelers swarmed Fifth Avenue in Park Slope on Saturday to celebrate all things here and queer at the 19th Brooklyn Pride festival.

Mayor DeBlasio — who reportedly showed up 20 minutes late for the parade kick-off — said that he remembered when the event was much smaller, and that this year’s turnout was testament to how far both the city and the country have come in embracing equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

“It says something that it has grown and become a parade that everyone joins in,” said the former Park Sloper, one of many rainbow-flag-waving pols who took part in the march. “That says something about how this city has moved forward. Our nation is moving forward.”

This year’s festival was one for the ages, according to one attendee who said he was thrilled by the (eventual) presence of elected leaders.

“I think that was the best Pride I have ever been to,” said Tivaun Cooper of Canarsie. “DeBlasio’s participation meant a lot. He was just going around and greeting people, and I think that sent a really strong message.”

Three New Yorkers shared grand marshal duty at this year’s twilight parade. Brooke Guinan, the city’s first openly transgender firefighter, led the procession on foot, while husbands George Constantinou and Farid Ali Lancheros, who co-own Bogota Latin Bistro on Fifth Avenue, drove in a convertible with their kids — trailed by restaurant mascots dressed as anthropomorphic empanadas.

The colorful cavalcade, which included scout troupes, motorcycle clubs, cheerleaders, and local businesses, surged down the street from Sterling Place to Ninth Street, where the merrymakers joined the all-day festival between Third and Ninth streets, enjoying live music, kids’ activities, drag performances, and food vendors.

One proud attendee, celebrating in Brooklyn for the first time, said he was impressed by the festivities in his newly adopted borough.

“It was really nice and chill,” said Eric Willingham, who recently moved to Flatbush from Alabama. “I’m planning on going to the Manhattan one too, but I enjoyed the Brooklyn one a lot.”

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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