MANHATTAN — Thousands of walkers poured into Central Park on Sunday to take part in this year's AIDS Walk New York, in hopes of raising thousands of dollars to combat the deadly virus.
With the temperatures rising into the mid-70s, walkers, teams, famillies, and groups pounded the pavement to help generate funds and awareness of AIDS support services provided by organizations like GMHC, and other foundations in the tri-state area.
The AIDS Walk website, which tracks online donations only, stated that more than $4 million had been raised to date.
Local schools, companies, churches and individuals assembled at Central Park's Rumsey Field, some walking in memory of loved ones they've lost, and others showing up to support efforts in finding a cure.
Celebrities regularly show up for the high-profile event, which is in its 27th year. Actor David Hyde Pierce, supermodel Karlie Kloss, and singer Keri Hilson all joined in the walk on Sunday.
The 6.2-mile course began at East 72nd Street on Fifth Avenue, and headed north up to East 110th St., walking west on Cathedral Parkway towards Riverside Drive then down to West 86th Street. Walkers headed back to a finish line in Central Park, and most completed the course in 2 or 3 hours.
"I'm totally excited to be here today," said Jennifer White, 39, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. She walked for the Urban Resource Institution, which deals with domestic violence and AIDS issues.
"The weather is beautiful and it's great to see everyone out supporting this cause."
Walkers Tony Sommella, 56, and pal Dominic Catena 56, both from Queens, weren't first-timers.
"We're for the fight against AIDS," said Sommella. "We did the walk in Florida last year, and this is our first time walking for AIDS in New York City. We raised over $3,000 for local charities and next year we want to raise even more," he said.