It wasn't just the throngs of supporters that had lined the Senate hallways for days that cheered when the chamber approved a gay marriage bill in New York on Friday. Crowds gathering in Sheridan Square near the Stonewall Inn, considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement, also celebrated the victory.

In the neighborhood bars of the West Village, people watched and reacted with jubilation.

“Equality is what this means; this is our right as people,” John Huls, 52, standing in the Stonewall with his partner, Jay Hoff, 50, told The New York Times. “It'll be our same relationship. We're the same people as when we met, except now it's proper in the eyes of the state, and I'll be able to look at people and say, 'This is my husband.'”

When the measure passed its final hurdle in the Senate – after more than a week of indecision – the crowds spilled out onto the street and a huge party erupted. Revelers dance and cheered as they waved rainbow flags. (Video of the party is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

As the party swelled, elected city officials reacted to the news.

Openly lesbian City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said: “I really can't really describe what this feels like, but it is one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who first lent his support for the effort more than two years ago, called the vote “a historic triumph for equality and freedom.”

“History!” exclaimed Saturday's edition of the New York Daily News.