June is the traditional month of weddings, in addition to Father’s Day and the Gay Pride Parade – one of the West Village’s premier events. As many residents know, it commemorates the clash in June 1969 between gay patrons of the Stonewall bar on Christopher St. and the NYPD, a riot credited with sparking the gay liberation movement. It’s the only parade in the City that ends by squeezing itself into some of the side streets of the neighborhood.
I’m sure most of us have memories of the first time we saw Dykes on Bikes, men marching in leather harnesses and chaps or seeing friends or colleagues from work, who we didn’t know were gay, participating in the parade. Another memory is often the weather conditions on parade day.
As a weather historian, I’m fascinated by the weather of yesteryear and I write about it on my blog New York City Weather Archive. Being gay and a resident of the West Village, I was curious whether Mother Nature has been a friend or foe on Gay Pride Day. What I found is that since the first parade in 1970, the weather for the most part has been pretty darn good – and this year was no exception. Rain has fallen just seven times and 90-degree temperatures have occurred in six years.
Interestingly, the first full day of the Stonewall riot was scorching hot, with a high in the mid-90s – considerably hotter than any subsequent Gay Pride Day. The average afternoon temperature over the years has been 82 degrees, which is seasonable for late June. However, it’s ranged from the mid-60s to low 90s. Whether you’re participating or watching, cooler is better.
Highlights? In 1972, the morning of the parade was a washout as remnants of Hurricane Agnes soaked the City. However, the most rain to fall on parade day was in 1984 when nearly an inch and a half poured down – since it didn’t begin until 4 PM, much of the parade had been completed. The parade of 2008 was held in very tropical conditions with temperatures in the upper 80s accompanied by a number of quick afternoon downpours. In 1972, 1979 and 1996, the afternoon temperature rose no higher than the mid-60s. The hottest temperature occurred seven years ago when it hit 92 degrees. The last time it was in the 90s was two years ago.
However, even in the most pleasant conditions, if you have the misfortune of being stuck in the masses waiting to cross Seventh Avenue South to get to your apartment, it doesn’t have to be a hot day for it to feel sweltering!
To read more about New York City’s weather history: http://www.nycweatherarchive.com