Lynn Rivera lives just a block away from the site of Brooklyn Pride Festival in Park Slope, held on 5th Avenue between Union and 9th Street. But this was the first year the 19-year-old she felt like she could come.
“I’ve never been to a Pride event before,” Rivera told Gothamist at the scene on Saturday. “I wanted to for a few years, but my mom wouldn’t take me or let me.”
But with the help of her grandma, who bought Rivera a rainbow flower crown to match her dress and did her eyeliner, Rivera was ready to soak up her community — in a relaxed, no-pressure way.
Returning to full strength after a two-year hiatus (2021’s Brooklyn Pride was only about a block and a half long on Atlantic Avenue), the street-fair celebration drew many New Yorkers who have been regular attendees. They arrived with the same excitement Rivera expressed – especially those with newer pandemic-era relationships.
“This is our first Pride together, and it is so nice to see Brooklyn Pride back to its normal routine” said 35-year-old Marsh Shugart, who was decked out in leather in the humid weather standing next to his partner, Gabriel Yayac.
That “normal routine” — walking along idly holding hands, getting a lemonade, bumping into old friends — has meant that the festival has provided a laid-back alternative to the NYC Pride March, a spectacle that some feel has grown more and more corporate.
“I definitely like Brooklyn Pride a lot better than Manhattan Pride,” said 18-year-old Vivi Knouse-Frenzer, who was happy to be meeting up with her queer friend group maskless. “Because Manhattan, you just get swarmed with everything and it’s like ughhhh, but this is like a nice little stretch of gayness.”
It’s a stretch that Rivera and others can can navigate gently until it ends at 5 p.m., after which everyone can wait around for the twilight parade to follow at 7:30 p.m., running along 5th Avenue from Lincoln Place to 9th Street.
Tomorrow, the Park Slope venue Littlefield hosts Youth Pride for ages 13 to 20, from noon to 5 p.m. That event, too, is sure to attract first-time Pride attendees like Rivera.
“It’s amazing, I got my first Pride flag, Rivera said of her experience. “I was nervous at first, but I feel really safe here around people like me.”