The Fourth Arts Block and the LES Business Improvement District are joining forces for the first ever "Pride Goes East" celebration. The two organizations are sponsoring a week full of free entertainment events, nightlife specials, restaurant deals and shopping discounts that stretch across the East Village and the Lower East Side (click here for more info). The kickoff event is this coming Sunday from 4-6 pm on Orchard Street, between Houston and Stanton. The emcee is Allen Roskoff, a veteran gay activist who co-authored the nation's first gay rights bill. A number of elected officials have been invited to attend, including City Councilman Alan Gerson.
Pride Goes East, is an effort to expand New York's Gay Pride celebration beyond the West Village. Sunday's event will also feature special musical performances and an appearance by the popular drag queen, "Ms. Sarah Palin." According to Roberto Ragone, executive director of the Lower East Side BID and Tamara Greenfield, executive director of Fourth Arts Block, their collaboration is meant to show that Houston Street is not an imaginary barrier separating two neighborhoods. They point out that, historically, the entire area was thought of as the Lower East Side — and that today they still have a certain kinship. We'll have more about that next week.