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Thousands are expected to take to NYC streets to celebrate WorldPride

    (CNN) — New York has always been a major Pride destination, but this year’s celebration is expected to draw record crowds.

The city is playing host to WorldPride, the largest LGBTQ celebration in the world. It’s the first time WorldPride is being held in the United States, and it is taking place during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, considered the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement.

Thousands of people will take to the streets Sunday for a parade that will pass by the Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 uprising that saw the LGBTQ community fight back against NYPD officers who routinely raided the bar in Greenwich Village.

The city’s annual Pride march regularly draws large crowds, but organizers expect 150,000 people to attend and there’s expected to be a heavy police presence.

“The LGBTQ community is an essential part of NYC,” New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill said at a news conference on Tuesday. “And during #PrideMonth2019, it’s the NYPD’s mission—as it is for every large event held in our great city throughout the year—to ensure that everyone can enjoy the festivities safely, free from violence & intolerance.”

Sunday’s march caps off a month of events that included a rally commemorating Stonewall 50, Youth Pride and Pride Island, a three-day outdoor music festival.

“New York City is the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted last week. “We’re honored to host #WorldPride as our city recognizes #Stonewall50. Let’s paint the town proud!”

Last year’s march in New York City featured more than 550 groups and more than 100 floats. That number is expected to be even larger this year, with participation from community organizations, corporate sponsors, political candidates, activists and more.

Among the grand marshals at this year’s parade are the cast of “Pose,” the TV series about New York City’s LGBTQ ballroom culture in the 1980s and 1990s. The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth, and the Gay Liberation Front, the original warriors for LGBTQ rights who first organized after the Stonewall riots, are also grand marshals.

The march kicks off at noon ET from Madison Square Park.

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