An already festive LGBT Pride Week was capped off Sunday with the annual Pride March from Midtown to Greenwich Village.
The 44th annual event began at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and headed south to the corner of Christopher and Greenwich Streets — the site of the Stonewall Riots, the demonstration that launched the modern gay rights movement 44 years ago.
This came just days after the gay community won two major victories in the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices overturned California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in that state, and threw out the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), opening the door for same-sex couples to receive equal federal benefits as straight married couples.
The plaintiff in the latter case, Edie Windsor, is serving as a grand marshal for the Pride March, along with musician Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes, the head of the Center for Black Equity.
At a Sunday morning press conference, Windsor told reporters she was honored to lead the event, as she used to watch the march with her late wife.
"I have marched in the parade for the last several years, carrying a huge rainbow flag. Last year, I was so elated that I danced my way down the whole street for the entire route of the parade. And before that, Thea in her wheelchair and I would watch the parade every year," Windsor said. "If somebody had told me 15 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City's gay pride parade in 2013, at the age of 84, I wouldn't have believed it."
Onlookers along the parade route brought signs reading "Thank you, Edie" and cheered Windsor as she passed by, along with the marchers in colorful costumes, floats and elected officials.
"It's overflowing with joy and pride and excitement and it's awesome," said one attendee. "The world is finally starting to realize that it's time for equality and love."
Security was increased along the parade route, following a recent string of anti-gay hate crimes in the city.
Organizers also said that the event is a march, and will not be considered a "parade" until LGBT people across the United States have equal rights.
The 20th annual Community PrideFest was held on Manhattan's Hudson Street on Sunday afternoon, offering vendors, entertainers and activities.