A buzz was clearly felt around 57th St. and 5th Ave. near the start of the parade route in celebration of the 64th anniversary of the creation of the current state of Israel. The hundreds of thousands of revelers came out in droves to take in the sun and favorable weather and share in unity with the estimated 35,000 marchers to help salute Israel. In this 48th rendition of the parade, the theme was clearly seen in every group represented. The Branching Out theme helps the marchers and viewers get in touch with flowers and blossoming and the fruits of one’s labors. Planting seeds and growing in the Jewish tradition and passing it on to the next generation was clearly visible. Each group or cluster hand painted their own mural to keep with the theme of Branching Out. The start of the parade got the crowd worked up especially when the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg waved the Israeli flag with pride. NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo soon followed to the cheers of the crowd. Two powerful figures in NY politics greeted each other in Mayoral hopeful and current NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and US Representative Carolyn Maloney.
The fun started with a series of marching bands and floats that got the crowd worked up. The Hillel Yeshiva float had a live band and were soon followed by a crowd favorite in the Fusion Marching band. The JCRC dancers did a great job in expressing joy for the event in their dance moves. The were helped by the hip sounds of the Moshe Hecht band. Another marching band that played with flair was the Excelsior band soon followed by a cool jazz band in Blue Fringe. A special treat came in the form of the Approaching Storm High Steppers with their unique marching steps. All in all there were 17 marching bands and 29 floats to help make this one largest and proudest parades in NYC. It was a great day to celebrate all the goodness Israel does all over the world as it branches out to help where help is needed in service to our fellow man. MOZEL TOV.