NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — World Pride festivities kick off Wednesday and culminate with the Pride March in Manhattan on Sunday.
CBS2’s Tara Jakeway reports more than two million people are expected to attend the march, and as expected, major security will be in place.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill knows all eyes will be on New York this weekend as events to mark World Pride are rolled out throughout the city.
“This is the first time World Pride has ever been held in the United States,” he said at a press conference Tuesday.
O’Neill says he expects millions to be taking part in celebrations, but he adds with events on this scale, there are also massive security challenges.
Web Extra: NYPD Briefing On Pride Parade Security —
This year, there will be a longer parade with a U-shaped new route, starting at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue and ending at 23rd and Seventh.
“There will be approximately 80,000 more marchers this year and 42 more floats than there were last year,” Terence Monahan, NYPD chief of department, said.
“The entire route will be locked down with sand trucks and blocker vehicles. We will employ our counter drone interdiction technology,” James Waters, NYPD chief of counterterrorism, said.
“After the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, we had to reassess what the event meant in terms of security posture, and it went from a medium, as the commissioner said, to a high, the kind of place we would put New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving Day parade, things that have been the subject of direct threats,” John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence, said.
But O’Neill stresses that New York is ready and expects everyone to be safe.
“I can tell you there are currently no credible specific threats into any of our Pride events or at New York City in general,” he said.
“We still need the public’s help. There will be thousands of additional eyes and ears at the parade, and we rely on the public to report anything they believe to be out of the ordinary,” Monahan said.
O’Neill adds that he’s proud of how far the department and the city has come to be able to celebrate this event.
Also for the first time, there will be a closing ceremony in Times Square that begins on Sunday at 7 p.m., impacting traffic in the area for the entire day.