May 31, 2023 By Micahel Dorgan
Sunnyside will host its very own Pride march and celebration on Friday, June 2, with hundreds of people expected to attend.
The event, called SunnyPride, will kick off at 6 p.m. with a rally at Lowery Plaza followed by a short march under the 7-line. There will also be drag and dance performances, music, and plenty of colorful outfits and rainbow flags.
The event aims to bring western Queens residents together to celebrate members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community.
Friday will mark the second running of SunnyPride, having been established last year by Morry Galonoy, the former chairperson of Community Board 2, and Dirk McCall de Palomá, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, an organization that oversees the neighborhood’s business improvement district (BID) and one of the event’s sponsors.
Organizers say that more than 200 people attended the 2022 event and Galony said even more are expected to turn out this year.
“We are so excited for the second annual SunnyPride!” said Galonoy. “It’s going to be twice as fun, twice as inclusive, and twice as fabulous.”
SunnyPride will begin with a series of speeches by local leaders, activists and business owners from the LGBTQ+ community at Lowery Plaza, located underneath the elevated 7 train line at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard.
A marching band will then lead attendees on a march eastward through the parking lot and into Bliss Plaza, located underneath the 46th Street–Bliss Street subway station, where the performances will take place.
New to this year’s program will be a “Queer Makers Mart,” a vendor market where more than 20 local LGBT makers and artists will sell various items along the new 46th Street Open Street.
There will also be an afterparty at Alewife Brewing, located at 41-11 39th St., where the brewpub will be offering its annual pride beer, called “One Love.” Proceeds will go to the Queens Community Houses Queens Center for Gay Seniors.
De Palomá said organizers are looking to build on last year’s success and he is thrilled that a number of organizations and businesses have come forward to sponsor SunnyPride. Sponsors include Elmhurst Hospital, the APICHA Health Center, Public Health Solutions, the sex shop Romantic Depot, as well as Sunnyside Shines board members, Maureen Stathis and Artie Weiner.
“We are delighted to see so many people supporting the LGBTQ+ community,” De Palomá said. “Together we will stand up for equality and inclusivity and make Sunnyside Shine for all.”
Council member Julie Won said she is looking forward to celebrating the event with the LGBT community.
“As an ally, I have always provided funding and advocated for LGBTQ+ initiatives like SunnyPride, Drag Story Hour, the Queens Pride Parade and Pride at Work,” Won said. “Thank you to Dirk McCall de Palomá, Sunnyside Shines, and community partners for creating the inclusive celebration for our neighbors.”