In June 1969, gays and lesbians fought back against police harassment in an event that later became known as the Stonewall Riots. Since then, an annual Pride Week has been held in New York City to promote the civil rights achieved by the lesbian, gay and transsexual community and to publicize their successes over the years. There are a number of events that take place around the city throughout the week of June 17th through June 24th.
The annual Pride Rally will take place on the afternoon of June 17th, starting from 2pm, at Bryant Park behind the New York City Public Library. This event officially kicks off the Lesbian and Gay Pride Week. An event that has become part of the activities of Pride Week is the AIDS Candlelight Vigil. This acts as a support march for those struggling with HIV/AIDS, as well as a memorial for those who have died of this disease. A procession of people carrying candles proceeds from Sheridan Square Park to the Hudson River waterfront, where a wreath is tossed into the river in memory of the victims.
At noon on June 24th, the 38th annual Pride March will take place at 5th Avenue and 52nd Street. Floats, vehicles and thousands of marchers all make up one of the most colorful processions in New York City, and is watched by thousands of others who line the streets of the town. Other Pride Week events include the Rapture on the River (June 23rd, Hudson River Park) – a dance event for ladies only, as well as the Empire Auto Show that presents a classic car show.