The East Midtown Partnership, a group that since 2002 has worked to improve the quality of life and promote commercial activity in a swath of Manhattan from East 49th Street to East 63rd Street, is celebrating WorldPride 2019 and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with three major initiatives — a display of panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt at nine locations, the commitment by 18 area businesses to donate a portion of proceeds to the Trevor Project, the non-profit that combats suicide among LGBTQ young people, and a June 21 street fair held in conjunction with SUNY Pride.
The Quilt was launched in 1987 as an effort by the surviving loved ones of people lost to AIDS to memorialize their lives. That fall, 1,900 Quilt panels were displayed on the National Mall in conjunction with the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Though the Quilt, the responsibility of the NAMES Project Foundation and thought to be the largest ongoing art project in human history, has been displayed in numerous venues since then, the 50,000 panels honoring 105,000 lives lost to AIDS are now too numerous to display together in any one place.
To recognize the tradition of remembering the names of those lost in the HIV epidemic, the East Midtown Partnership, during the month of June, is displaying panels from the Quilt at nine locations in the district, including the Central Synagogue on East 55th Street and the Marriott New York East Side on Lexington Avenue, where the Partnership hosted a Pride reception on June 12.
The Partnership also worked with 18 businesses on the East Side — including retail establishments, salons, and restaurants — each of which has selected one item for which it will donate 25 percent of all sales receipts in June to the Trevor Project. Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film “Trevor” about what happens when a 13-year-old boy’s crush on a male classmate is discovered, the Trevor Project is the nation’s leading group providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people up to 25.
On June 21, the Partnership joins with the Pride group from the State University of New York for a WorldPride block party on East 55th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. In addition to SUNY students, winners from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Annual Drag Queen and King Pageant will be on hand to perform. The afternoon event, from noon to 4 p.m., will also feature DJ Zeke Thomas, a photo booth, snacks and coffee from neighborhood eateries, and tabling by LGBTQ organizations.
For complete information on the East Midtown Partnership’s WorldPride events, visit eastmidtown.org/world-pride-2019.