New York City usually hosts one of the largest and most extravagant Pride marches in the world. But this year, with the novel coronavirus still shutting down a lot of the city, big celebrations and gatherings have been put on hold. However, New Yorkers are resilient and have found ways to celebrate from a safe distance. Some of the best ways to back the LGBTQIA+ community are by supporting local queer-owned businesses, restaurants, or by joining a virtual pride event.
Virtual Pride Events
Christopher Street Liberation Day Virtual Q & A
2020 is the 50th anniversary of the first NYC Pride March, which was held one year after the Stonewall riots. One of the best educational events is a virtual Q & A celebrating the original Christopher Street Liberation Day March and the events leading up to it. The Q & A (Thursday, June 25th at 6:30 p.m.) is free but advanced Eventbrite registration is required. From Zoom check-in to the end of the historical presentation should take about 45 minutes before the floor opens for questions and community conversation.
Virtual NYC Pride Rally
Politically active New Yorkers can check out the virtual NYC Pride Rally. This event, hosted by trans journalist Ashlee Marie Preston and trans actor Brian Michael Smith, aims to increase conversation, activism, and education. Register here and be a virtual ally with the LGBTQIA+ community as they take a stand against discrimination. The event will be “located” live on Facebook as well as YouTube @NYCPride on Friday, June 26th from 5-8 p.m. Tune in to ABC7 on Sunday, June 28th from noon-2 pm for a virtual Pride March. There will be salutes to frontline workers and community leaders as well as special performances by Janelle Monáe, Billy Porter, and more.
NYC Virtual Pride 5K Art Run
Usually, the Runstreet Art Runs have curated paths that showcase local murals and street art as participants run a 5K along a predetermined route. This year, the NYC Virtual Pride 5K Art Run is asking participants to do solo runs in their own neighborhood. Runners are encouraged to wear their best rainbow gear and to share the art in their area on social media. Portions of the $10 entrance fee will go to the Callen-Lorde LGBTQ Community Center.
Queer Owned Restaurants
MeMe's Diner quickly became a staple in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn when it opened in 2018. It wasn’t just the food that drew a crowd; it was the inclusive atmosphere inside. This queer-owned diner, with a mostly queer staff, has focused on making every guest feel comfortable while noshing on delicious comfort foods and pastries. Using gender-neutral language and not second-guessing names on credit cards that may not align with a guest’s presented gender are just two ways MeMe’s is creating a safe space for queer and trans people. They’re currently open for takeout on the weekends. They also have a link where supporters can donate to their reopening fund.
James Beard-nominated chef, Roberto Santibanez is serving up enchiladas, guac, and more inventive Mexican delicacies in multiple NYC neighborhoods. All three Fonda restaurant locations (Park Slope, East Village, and Chelsea) are open for delivery and takeout. Fonda is queer-owned, has a queer chef, and has been supporting LGBTQ+ causes since its inception in 2009.
Baz Bagel is an artisanal bagel shop in Little Italy. This queer-owned local favorite has campy decor including a poster of a young Barbara Streisand hung with the same reverence at the Mona Lisa. They’re currently open part of the week for pickup and delivery. They also ship their bagels and other popular nibbles nationwide. Bagel making kits are available for an at-home, DIY Baz experience.
The Bureau of General Services - Queer Division (BGSQD, for short) is an independent, all-volunteer bookstore, event space, and cultural center. They aim to help foster a healthy, mindful, and supportive community for queer people in the New York area. They offer books, publications, and art as well as hosting readings, screenings, and group discussions. While this safe space closed due to COVID-19, books can be ordered online at their website. Donations can be sent through their site as well.
Fredericks and Mae
Design studio turned artful gift shop, Fredericks and Mae offers an eclectic array of gifts, jewelry, and home goods. This Crown Heights gem started when founders Gabriel Fredericks Cohen and Jolie Mae Signorile came together over their shared love of materials. Shop by designer, collection, or price and order online to help support this queer Brooklyn favorite.