I was honored to meet Chris Frederick, Managing Director of NYC Pride, at his office on Christopher Street. Considering the vast amount of effects that go into running and creating the events for the biggest ongoing gay festival, parade and party of the year, I was astounded to find Chris so calm and organized. Very clearly in a soft-spoken voice, he went over what we will expect during Pride this year.
What exactly is it that you do to make Pride come together?
Due to the limited full-time staff I tend to take on a lot of different roles. I do everything from obtaining corporate sponsors, securing talent, managing media sponsors, event coordination, to overseeing all of the operations within the organization.
What kind of events can we look forward to this year?
There is a lot of amazing stuff happening this year! We have some really great events that can appeal to everyone. We’re bringing back our free Family Movie Night on Pier 63 on June 23rd. We’ve been doing the event for three years now and it’s become a huge hit! We’re showing “Finding Nemo.” We’re also introducing a really cool burlesque, masquerade event called Fantasy. We’re going to do that on Friday night, June 26, to kick off the weekend. Freemasons [and] Kitty Glitter are two DJs that have a huge following that will be DJing that evening. Ariana Grande will be performing live at the Dance on the Pier so I’m personally very excited about that.
We have a whole list of Grand Marshals: Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, [Ugandan activist] Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera and Christopher Neal, who is an artist and a founder of a bisexual organization called Fluid By Design.
Who chooses the Grand Marshals?
The members of the organization. We have a general membership that nominates people, and it then goes to a vote in December, and then based on how people are confirming we generally announce them between March and May.
So you did the whole entire Pride month?
Our main focus is creating NYC Pride week. For this year it’s June 21 through the 28. So over the last six years we’ve really tried to build out that full week of events. We don’t have events every single night, but we’ve tried to create events that will appeal to everyone. We have a business-style brunch; it’s on June 21. Then we have Family Movie Night. Then we have an event called The Rally, which has been taking place since a month after the Stonewall Riots in 1969. It’s a free-speech event that has morphed into being more of an all-ages event. We had a lot of people coming to us saying, “We’re not old enough to go to the Dance on the Pier” or “We’re not old enough to go to our women’s event,” so we have morphed The Rally into being a sort of youth-style event. We have performances from the amazing Ashanti, country music superstar Steve Grand, Adore Delano from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” We have Tituss Burgess from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” who is going to emcee the event. A lot of talent that will appeal to younger demographics. So that’s Friday night, June 26. After that is called Fantasy, like I said, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Then on Saturday we have a day event, a women’s event called “Teaze.” DJ Ruby Rose, who stars in the upcoming season of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black”, will be DJing that event. That’s pretty exciting. That takes place on Pier 26 from 3 to 10. Then we have our VIP Rooftop Party, which is a more men’s event. It takes place on Saturday afternoon. Really great DJs: Ben Baker, Saul Ruiz, Grind and Cindel. That event’s been going on for five years now, and it sells out every single year. So it’s a pretty popular event for a Saturday afternoon event. Then we partner with Brett Henrichsen who produces We Party: University that Saturday night.
So are you in charge of the parade too?
Yeah. Our float vendor has already sold out of floats for this year! Usually they have around 50 to 60 flats, but we have upward of 350 groups and over 20,000 participants registered. We’re expecting around 2 million in attendance this year.
The parade marches from where to where?
From 36th & 5th, it goes south on 5th Avenue until it hits 8th Street. Then it turns west on 8th Street and eventually turns into Christopher Street and ends on Christopher and Greenwich.
So what about the Dance on the Pier?
The Dance on the Pier is in its 29th year and we’re excited to have Ariana Grande join a long running list of leading artists that have previously performed on its stage including the late Whitney Houston, Cher, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson, and more.
Who are some of the DJ’s
Wayne G, Ralphi Rosario and the Cube Guys. We really wanted to find DJs that really speak to a diverse audience that would want to come to the Pier Dance, so you have more upbeat sound, a house sound, and a slightly darker sound. I think that’s the great thing about the Pier Dance is it really brings people together, from all over.
We’re really excited to deliver an unrivaled Pride experience for this historic year.
And what about the booths that are set up? Can you tell us about Pride Fest?
PrideFest is the longest-running LGBT festival in the city. It’s on Hudson Street between Abingdon Square and 13th Street. So it’s steps away from the March route. We say around 300,000 attendees at that event. Bianca Del Rio is emceeing that event this year and we think that will really raise the caliber of that event this year. There are lots of cool vendors that like to give away a lot of fun stuff, including you guys. It’s just nice because, again, it’s one of those events that is free, so anyone can attend, any ages.
The March is on Sunday, so what day is that event?
That’s also on Sunday, June 28th from 11 to 6.
So it’s going on the same time the March is going on?
Correct. We’re excited because this year is the 45th anniversary of the Pride March. I think one of the things that is on our radar is that the Supreme Court is likely going to decide the fate of same-sex marriage the week of our events. The Supreme Court usually holds their most controversial cases to the end of their term which I think is only going to magnify the importance for people to be at NYC Pride this year.
Where can people get information about the event?
If people want information they can check out nycpride.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.