I went to Pride today. I went by mistake, and not really willingly, because I suffered some sort of nuclear brain fart while planning my afternoon and thought coming into the city on the west side would work out really awesomely for meeting my non-carnal spouse Wing at a cinema at East Houston and 2nd Avenue. For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan geography: not awesome at all. If the Pride parade route is a boomerang, I emerged from the car near the elbow, and physically could not get out of the crook of that arm for two hours — not going south, not looping out to the river, no how.
I couldn't get to the movie, and I couldn't sit anywhere and read, so I wandered around and dug the atmo. I counted bridal veils (dozens) and pairs of buttless pants (surprisingly few, boo) (come on, butts = good times), and I remembered seeing Quentin Crisp at Pride years ago, and the thrill I got from that, seeing his purple hat go by. I got shooed off a stoop, and I helped form a screen of bodies behind which a queen could perform a flying re-tuck. I watched a big line of couples wait patiently to take pictures in front of the huge wedding-cake window display at Michael Kors. It's easy for me to forget what Pride is about, that it's still necessary; I've lived in the city a long time and I've been gay-friendly much longer than that, so I was standing at the 184th crosswalk I couldn't use all, "I've been proud of y'all — can a hag with plans get this barricade moved maybe?" But folks come from all over the country and all over the world for Pride, from places where it isn't safe to hang out, hold hands, and be.
(And dear those places: seriously, that's unacceptable. You know it's unacceptable. Get with the tolerance. It's not that hard, Chris Christie. And what is that? He's "not a fan" of gay marriage? What a weird locution, like it's a sports team and he's refusing to wear the jersey on game day or something. Get over it, Butterpants.)
So the afternoon started out seeming like a hassle, but there's a hassle, and then there's that kind of hassle. Not really comparable, so I just enjoyed the signage and the energy, and in my perambulations, I discovered another awesome thing about Pride: the crowd knows what it's doing. It knows how to…crowd. Yeah, it got bottlenecky at street corners at times, and you had people stopping short or walking four abreast here and there, but compared to the average afternoon on 7th Ave. in the Slope? So minimal. People knew how to move. People observed lanes, texted at speed, didn't spill on neighbors or push. The few messy drunks I saw had friends on duty with it. No ralphing, no fighting, no bad vibes really at all — everyone happy, dancing, patient with the congestion. My single biggest peeve about public behavior generally is that people's basic awareness of their surroundings, and corresponding courteousness to others, has taken a nosedive in the last few years (probably thanks to iPods and smartphones et al.), and it took me a while to notice that peeve's absence today, that the Pride crowd collectively understood, hey, other people exist. Perhaps you have to drive regularly in Brooklyn to appreciate the rarity of that, but in any case, it's really quite rad to spend time in a huge clump of people who don't confuse fun with flailing about. Or who flail politely, I guess.
I wonder why that is. Correlation is not causation, of course, but given the dearth of backwards-baseball-hatted chipsters in the area…who knows. Who cares! Well done, fellow Priders! A-minus.
Tags: Andrew Cuomo Chipsters on parade Chris Christie city living mmm cake Quentin Crisp shut up Prop 8 and all the others like you who's your drag mother?