NYC Pride will turn a huge stretch of the city into a sea of waving rainbow flags Saturday and Sunday, with parties, a street fair and Pride Week's signature parade down Fifth Avenue.
Chris Frederick, the managing director of Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit that organizes the parade, said this year's theme of "Share the Love" means that love knows no boundaries.
"We’ve seen marriage become mainstream in New York state and we want to make it known that love can be shared with your friends, family and/or partner no matter where you live," he said in a statement. "Our hope is that people celebrate one of the most basic and necessary human traits: the act of love.”
The grand marshals of the parade will be pop star Cyndi Lauper; Chris Salgardo, the president of the skincare company Kiehl's and Phyllis Siegel and Connie Kopelov, the first same-sex couple to wed in New York City.
DNAinfo.com New York put together a 2012 NYC Pride weekend guide to help revelers navigate the festivities.
Saturday, June 23
VIP Rooftop Party
The Hell's Kitchen club Hudson Terrace will host an all-day dance party for people age 21 and older. The three-story club at 621 West 46th St. overlooking the Hudson River will feature DJs Corey Craig, Moto Blanco and The Freemasons.
General admission tickets to the party scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. were sold out online as of Friday afternoon. A limited number of first come, first served tickets will be available at the door, according to the ticket sales website.
Rapture on the River
The biggest lesbian dance party of the week will take place on Pier 57 in Chelsea from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., after the NYC Dyke March, an unofficial Pride Week event whose location will be announced by email.
Female comedians will perform at the beginning of the show, and DJs Whitney Day and Missy B & Trini will play a few sets.
Tickets start at $25 each. Pier 57 is located in the Hudson River at the end of 15th Street.
Sunday, June 24
The annual LGBT street fair component of NYC Pride will combine food and product vendors vendors, activities and entertainers. The free event starts at 11 a.m., ends at 6 p.m. and will run along Hudson Street from Abingdon Square to 14th Street.
The gay pride march that is expected to draw more than 1.5 million spectators starts at 12 noon. It will start at Fifth Avenue and 38th Street, travel down Fifth Avenue and head west on West Eighth Street before moving down Christopher Street toward the Hudson River.
"The March is your opportunity to be as big of a bear, twink, jock, queen, girlfriend or boyfriend as you want!" Heritage of Pride's magazine on this year's march says.
A panel of judges will evaluate the parade of floats and marchers and name winners for Best Use of a Theme, Most Original, Best Decorated Vehicle, Best Musical Contingent and more.
Moments of silence to people lost to the AIDS epidemic will be observed at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when organizers ask that all mobile devices and music be silenced.
Groups that want to participate in the march are required to attend a training session, the last of which will be held 8 p.m. Tuesday at St. John's Lutheran Church at 81 Christopher St. No RSVP is required.
Seating at the march for the disabled will be available at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street.
Dance on the Pier
Pride week will wrap up on Pier 57 in Chelsea with a huge dance party from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., where Cyndi Lauper will perform.
Eddie Baez, The Perry Twins and DJ Boris will open the night with DJ sets, and the Dutch singer Eva Simons will also take the stage.
Tickets start at $90.
Bundled, all-access tickets to the VIP Roof Party June 23 and the Dance on the Pier are also available, for $250 each.
Heritage of Pride advises Pride Week participants and spectators to take public transportation to the events.