Early October is one of the best times to be in NYC. The weather is usually pleasant. The Yankees are in the playoffs as is tradition and the parade season is winding down with a resonating boom. On Sunday, Rachel and I made our way to 5th Ave. and 39th St. where the 74th annual Pulaski Day Parade was getting ready to kick off. The pre-parade buzz was felt in the air as soon as we walked around the side streets of the start of the parade route which started on 39th St. and went up to 53rd St. The traditional colorful costumes of both young and old made one feel as though they travelled to the old country. All parts of the tri state area were represented as well as marchers from Poland and other parts of the US in preparation for a day of pride and celebration of custom, tradition and contribution to America. For without the heroics of General Casimir Pulaski, America might be a far different place. Rachel made her way to reviewing stand by the famous NYC Public Library on 41st St. to take some great shots. The mounted police announced the start of the parade soon followed by the Highlander Band of West Milford, New Jersey in their colorful tartan marching attire. Parade VIPs and marchers in traditional Slavic costume gave the crowd a preview of the fun waiting for them.
Polish power was shown in the float for the Bricklayers Local Union#1. The laborers helped to contribute to many of the biggest projects in the city. Polish beauty was displayed with all the many Miss Polonias from all the towns that sent marchers to the parade. Getting most of the attention was the beautiful and graceful Miss Polonia from Manhattan, Kasia Markowska. In keeping with this year’s parade theme of Polish Youth is America’s future, many children dressed in traditional costume. Central to Polish society is religious devotion to the Roman Catholic Church as was seen in many marching groups throughout the parade especially with Maspeth Holy Cross Parish. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and one of the highlights was the Mother Cabrini marching band with their precision and discipline but they had some close competition from the Fort Hamilton marching band. You decide. A crowd pleaser were the dancers from the Hudson Valley but the authentic dancers were the Warsaw dancers. Parades are always a way for groups to try to educate the crowd about issues of concern and the issue of visas was presented by some marchers. Poland has always been an ally of the US and has contributed greatly to society. Several politicians including US Sen. Chuck Schumer gave recognition to this issue.
Although there was a fair share of motorbikes, the Husaria bike club had some of the coolest bikes. There were plenty of tricked out cars but the one that stole the show was the elegant Rolls Royce with the mayor of Wallington, New Jersey sitting proudly in the back. One of the largest groups to march were from Williamsburg Brooklyn with a live band and lots of happy viewers. Rachel and I met up later towards the end of the parade and were glad to see the mass of red and white all over 5th Ave. had a great time seeing their country and heritage celebrated in grand style.
For additional photos go to the photograph links on the right column.