Goodbye, Mr. Chaps

koblin 1970sgaypride1h Goodbye, Mr. ChapsOn Sunday, June 24, organizers of New York City’s Gay Pride Parade expect a throng of one million people to line Fifth Avenue all the way down to the Christopher Street pier to march and watch from the sidelines.

Nick Shapland, a tall, well-tanned and skinny 22-year-old with carefully tousled brown hair, won’t be one of them.

“Gay Pride is boring,” said the self-described poet and resident of Williamsburg.

It was 2:30 in the morning, and he and two friends were standing outside the East Village gay bar Phoenix, where Bud and Bud Light are on offer for a dollar a cup on Wednesdays, debating the point. One of his friends seemed appalled, but only registered it by shaking his head disapprovingly as Mr. Shapland went on.

“Maybe in the 60’s, it was fun when you’re like, ‘Fuck you! Fuck you, I’m gay and you’re an asshole,’ you know?” Mr. Shapland said. “Then you fast-forward from 19-whenever—whenever the gay revolution was, I don’t know, I’m not a scholar—things go on and get kind of boring.”

A few days later, on Sunday, June 17, Brian O’Dell, a co-founder of Heritage of Pride, the organization that convenes a week of Gay Pride events each year, looked out over the green at Bryant Park.

“We used to get thousands of people at an event like this,” he said.

This was the Rally, the kickoff event of the week, and traditionally a magnet for New York’s politically motivated gays. Memorable speeches from the likes of Harry Hay, Urvashi Vaid and Morty Manford have thundered through the podium at the Rally in decades past, to the applause of thousands.

But on this Sunday, the lawn was mostly empty, with a crowd of about a hundred people watching comedians Keith Price and Julie Goldman take the stage. Press material for the event had anticipated a crowd of 8,000.

“There’s sort of this indifference to Pride,” he said.