Centennial Celebration Honors Our Veterans on 5th Avenue

12 Nov
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Presentation of Flags

     A tradition that began 100 years ago in NYC was celebrated in a grand style that only New Yorkers can do. America honored its veterans in all the Armed Forces with marching bands from all parts of the country , floats with our beloved vets, and lots of fanfare. Before the parade started, there was a ceremony at Madison Square Park where a stage was set up for honored guests and speakers to proclaim the importance of the sacrifice these men and women  made to protect our nation. For the first time ever, a sitting US President attended the event. President Trump spoke to the vets about their courage and how we should all help our vets. There was a laying of the wreath at the Eternal Light Flagstaff where the victorious forces of the Army and Navy in World War 1 were honored. The parade kicks off from this spot up 5th Avenue to 46th St.  The warm weather for early November brought out lots of revelers as the parade route was starting to fill up.

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Marine Corp Marching Band

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Raising Our Flag In Victory

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The Few The Proud The Marines

     This year honored the Marine Corp as they were the honorary lead group. Everyone was amazed at the sharp uniform and precision steps. The Marine Corp Marching Band set the bar for the drumline. When I take videos of marching bands at the all the parades in NYC, I focus in on the drumline because that’s the heart and soul of the group. They were one of the best I have seen all year. All the Marine vets came out to march with the most notable being astronaut and moon walker Buzz Aldrin. This years Grand Marshalls represented 4 wars. US Marine Corp Veteran Zach Iscol from Pound Ridge NY was the last one chosen among the other distinguished vets.

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Valley Forge Prep

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Celebrating with Pride

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Buzz Aldrin waving to the Crowd

     The Veterans Day Parade showcases some of the best marching bands from High Schools across the country. They were all great and made the vets proud. For many students, it was their first time in the city. Visiting from Athens, Alabama were the East Limestone HS Marching Band. They got the crowd worked up for what would be a fun filled day. Revelers were treated to a fun marching band from Ankeny Iowa. A band from Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania had a fun group of flag bearers. Probably the best brass section came from Downington East of Exton PA. A small but energetic band was from Waterloo, NY HS Marching Band. Seneca East HS Tiger Pride from Ohio and Bloominton IL HS Marching Raiders put on a great show for the vets.

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     On each block of the parade route you can see vets from all parts of the city, state and country watch with pride. One of the best things to see is how total strangers greet each other with respect because they served the greatest country on the planet. The Coast Guard Marching Band played with lots of energy. They brought out one of their newer boats that protects our shores. The Air Force sent an Honorary Guard from Washington DC. The Navy had a great representation but Army was up for the challenge and out yelled them by a few dozen decibels. That extra energy might translate to win on the gridiron later on this month. The parade also paid tribute to our allies that helped us especially in World War 1 and 2.  Support groups like the Wounded Warrior Project and Headstrong made some noise and helped bring awareness to vets and families about their services.

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     This parade was one of the better Veterans Day parades I have attended. There was alot of thanks and respect given to the men and women for all the sacrifice they made to make this the great country we enjoy. Freedom is not free and we enjoy the freedoms we have because these vets gave of themselves for our country and way of life. Do something nice for a vet when you can. They deserve it.

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Thank You For Your Service and Sacrifice

Wild Things Abound at the Village Halloween Parade

1 Nov
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There’s a Wild Thing In All of Us

      Every Halloween, 6th Avenue is transformed into a busy commercial and residential area into the biggest Halloween parade and party in the world. Thousands of the most creative and creepiest costumes come to life while nearly a million spectators take in the sights and sounds. The 46th annual parade was almost a wash out as heavy rains soaked the City for most of the day. Not a drop came down during the creepy event and as usual at 7PM the white angels came up 6th Avenue with blessings and pixie dust to kick off the parade. Following them was an amazing brass band that got the crowd ready for a frightfest on steroids. Led by Artistic Director Jeanne Fleming, the largest display of puppetry made its way up the parade route to the delight of the large crowd. Hundreds of volunteers from all parts of the country spend countless hours creating these amazing puppets just for the event.

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Lets Get This Party Started

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Day of the Dead Costumes

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Looking for the After Party

     This year’s theme was Wild Things where all wild animals roam free only to be corralled and break out again. Brilliant display of puppetry while accompanied by one of the coolest drum bands I have seen this year.  This years Grand Marshall was on display for most of the night as it dangled from Jefferson Market Tower. Zohra, the giant spider, is a staple at the parade. She appears at the start of a video clip of the perennial favorite Hungry March Band. The event is televised locally for millions of viewers to see the madness that comes out from the parade.  To march in this parade, all you need is a costume. Waves of crazy costumed marchers try to put a scare into the spectators there to experience the best Halloween parade on the planet.

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Artistic Director and Producer Jeanne Fleming

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Demon Out For A Walk

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Black Angel Finds A Victim

     Gaining more popularity each year is the Samba NY band with their dancers and drum band. They always put on a great show for the crowd. The all female drum band, Fogo Azul, made it’s way up the parade route with folks dancing all around them. Everyone’s favorite tribute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller danced it’s way up the parade route. Soaking up all the love and hate was a returning rock band that put on a great show. Vampire Rock Opera is becoming a crowd favorite with their driving bass line and sultry singers. Hope they come back for more.

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You Tell Em Bernie

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Birds of a feather…

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Thriller Steals the Show

     This is truly one of the best parades of the City this year and a must do on your bucket list. New Yorkers creativity and imagination are on full display as only the New Yorkers can do…the best there is. Scare ya next year.

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Italians Celebrate Fashion and Culture on Columbus Day on 5th Avenue

17 Oct
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Let’s Get This Party Started

     The trifecta of parade weekend culminated in the largest celebration of Italian culture in the world right on 5th Avenue. The picture perfect day saw nearly a million people lined up on the parade route anxiously awaiting the start of the parade. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, parade organizers, the Columbus Citizens Foundation pulled out all the stops to make this a first class event. This year Grand Marshall Massimo Ferragamo was honored for his contribution to high fashion. Local news anchor Rosanna Scotto was an honoree of the amazing event.  As usual, the mounted police signal the start of the parade.

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Grand Marshall Massimo Ferragamo

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Tribute to Columbus

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Baton Twirlers from Italy

     Honorary lead marching band was Northern University playing some Italian theme tunes to get the crowd ready for a festive day of everything Italian. Sacred Heart University was right behind them. A parade of Maserati’s with the Grand Marshall and Honorees was well received. Italians have always been a religious people and home to the Vatican and where early Christianity thrived. Controversy did not escape this years parade as NY Mayor diBlasio called for more female statues to be erected throughout the city and omitted the beloved Mother Cabrini, even though she captured the most votes. Under immense pressure from the Italian community and Catholic Church to reconsider his decision, the mayor promised to rethink it….good idea.

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Marching Bands Ruled the Day

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Mother Cabrini Makes Her Appearance

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Trumpet Band from Bergamo

     Revelers were given a special treat when two Italian bands struck up some nice tunes. A coastal town from Castellammare di stabia sent a band that got the crowd thinking about home. Blowing the horns off in magnificent fashion were a band from Bergamo, Italy. They put a whole new meaning to fast tempo as it was a challenge to keep up with their fast pace. A variety of High School marching bands kept the high energy going. Perennial favorite Connetquot HS Marching Band always puts on a great show. Matching their intensity was the W. Tresper Clarke Marching Band. One band of note from East Meadow had a sharp drumline.  All in all is was a grand celebration of Italian culture and contribution. Like my Italian friends say…there’s only two kinda people…Italians and those that want to be Italians.

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Long Live Italy!!!!

Cultural Pride Abound on 5th Avenue for the Hispanic Day Parade

15 Oct
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Spain Kicks Off the Grand Event

     Wrapping up the national celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month was done in grand fashion in a way that only New York can do. A grand parade celebrating Hispanic culture, history and contribution to the quilt of this great city and nation took place on Sunday. Thousands marched and danced and sang with great pride up 5th Avenue while hundreds of thousands cheered them on. This is largest parade of its kind in the US. People came from all parts of the US, Europe, Central and South America to be part of the spectacular event.  Media coverage was extended locally and globally via television.  Opening up the parade is the display of flags from all the nations participating from an honorary marching band.

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Presentation of the Flags

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Bolivians with Big Hearts

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Honduran Traditional Dress

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Panamanian Float

     The way this parade works is the opening group is the mother country, Spain. Their representatives dressed in medieval attire this with some amazing costumes. They set the tone for what would be a spectacular show of culture and pride. Countries display part of their cultural heritage starting in alphabetical order.  Argentina kicked things off with about 8 pairs of tango dancers. Bolivia showed off a variety of dances. The high energy caporales are dedicated to San Simon (St. Paul) while the Morenales have a more slow rhythmic pace. Tinkus are more indigenous in nature. Then the party started when the Colombians showed up. Their group of a hundred revelers really got the crowd worked up with their fun antics. Cumbia dancers followed them with some traditional steps.

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Bolivian Caporales Dancing For San Simon

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Frolicking Colombians Starting Trouble

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Dominican Lechones Getting the Crowd Whipped Up

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Guatemalan Cowboy

     Chileans were applauding their dancers recreating the Handkerchief Dance. Costa Rica sent some stylish dancers. Dominicans had their lechones whipping up some action. Ecuador had a group doing a traditional dance. El Salvador sent an internationally acclaimed marching band, El Carbonara to get the crowd ready for more more marching bands. Guatemala sent a group of cowboys and cowgirls with some of the more beautiful horses ever to be part of a NYC parade. Hondurans were proud of their singers and dancers. Mexico had a few traditional dancers that really got the crowd worked up.

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Mexican Traditional Dancer

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Panamanian Drum Master

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Guatemalan Aristocrat

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Peruvians dancing up a storm

     Nicaragua and Paraguay had some beautiful costumes. Bottle dancers were seen balancing bottles on their head. One of the largest groups of the parade made their presence felt in grand style. Panama sent their ladies dressed in fancy polleras while marching bands from schools in Panama made their people proud. Peru had traditional dancers perform an energetic dance. Puerto Rico has a nice group dancing salsa while the all female drum band Fogo Azul got in on the fun. Uruguay gets to have the most attention when their Candombe drummers and dancers take over 5th Avenue. Closing out the parade is Venezuela displaying their tropical paradise and warning of its  threatening loss due to climate change and fires. Political statements are not allowed in the parade but it was clear that Venezuela was sending out an SOS message.

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Flamenco Dancers Showing off their Moves

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Argentinian Gaucho

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Bolivian Diablos

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Cumbia Dancers Having Fun

     This was one of the best parades of the city because of the different cultures on display. They all speak the same language but all have different customs. It was great to see those traditions passed on from one generation to the other. It was truly a day to be prideful of being Hispanic and a proud day to be a New Yorker.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc and Aluche_Events

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Que Viva La Hispanidad

Layout of Hispanic Day Parade

Pretty Polleras and Bugles Blast on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn

14 Oct
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Panama Prep School Band Taking Charge

     Neighborhood parades can be a great way to get a sense of that area. Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn is home to a very large Panamanian population. The parade boasts of being the largest Panamanian Independence Day in North America. People travel from Maryland, Texas, Florida and of course from Panama to be part of the spectacular event.  Around noon time on Saturday, a group of motorcycles riders, displaying the Panamanian flag, let everyone know the parade was soon to start.  Parade VIPs and organizers made their way up the parade route on Franklin Ave. and turned on Carroll St. where a stage was set up to review the many marching bands that came up from Panama. Prizes were awarded at the end of the parade for the best band.

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Pollera, traditional dress of Panama

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Marching Band Leads the Way

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Colegio San Martin de Porres

     These same bands participated in the Hispanic Day Parade on 5th Avenue the following day. Beauty queens waved to the adoring crowd. They were followed by some fun folkloric dancing and women dressed in traditional polleras. It’s great to see the tradition passed on from one generation to another. The best part of the parade is when the marching bands from Panama come up the parade route. They have the best uniforms for marching bands this year. First up were the musical band Instituto Fermin Naudeau with their military uniforms. They got the crowd worked up for the next band in line, the Panama Prep School Band. This band ended up winning first prize at the event for best band. A perennial favorite is the Colegio San Martin de Porres musical band.

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Beauty Queen Miss New York

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 Drum and Bugle Corp. International Bands

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Getting Ready for the Grand Finale

    Not too far behind were the Guillermo Endara Galimany musical band. They were having some fun with the crowd. The last of Panamanian student group was the Musical Band Mons. Audilio Aguilar. Local bands close out the festive parade with the First Panamanian Drums and Bugle Corp making some noise. Saving the best for last, the United Panamanian Veterans Marching Band always closes the parade out with a bang. Once they pass by the reviewing stand, everyone heads over to the festival where a stage is set up for more entertainment and food kiosks with some delicious Panamanian food. This is one of the best neighborhood parades in the city.

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IMG_6153 Que Viva Panama!!!

 

 

Thousands of Polish People Celebrate Gen. Pulaski on 5th Avenue

7 Oct
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Let the Parade Begin

    A long standing parade tradition in early October is the celebration of Revolutionary hero General Casimir Pulaski. Hundreds of thousands of Polish people from the Tri-State area gather on 5th Avenue to celebrate all things Polish. The parade route was a sea of red and white flags. Now in its 82nd year, the Pulaski Day Parade is the largest of its kind on the East Coast. It coincides with the death of the War Hero at the Siege of Savannah in 1779. Pre-parade festivities took place right in front of the NY Public Library where there were stages and reviewing stands set up for the remarkable occasion.

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Traditional Dancers Start Up the Parade

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Royal Waltz with Senator Schumer

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Polish Marching Band Having Fun

     Before all the fun starts, there is a traditional breaking of the bread with wine and salt on the trays. The Bread is symbolic for never going hungry while the wine is present so that one may never go thirsty and salt for life’s tears….may they always be happy ones. There was a traditional Royal Waltz performed with special guest US Senator from NY Chuck Schumer taking part of the good times. Senator Schumer has been instrumental in pushing for the visa waiver program to include Poland since 2013. President Trump approved Poland’s entry to the program just recently. Poland is one of America’s best allies and certainly deserves the exception. A marching band from Poland played both national anthems and then the fun started.

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Saluting the General

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Bikers Making Some Noise

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Polka Dancers Have a Go At It

     Groups from all parts of the Tri-state area marched in red and white. They danced to polkas and more modern music. One of the favorite parts of the parade is when a few hundred motorcycles ride up 5th Avenue while making thunderous sounds. Groups representing Connecticut marched with lots of joy and pride. One of the largest groups is from Greenpoint in Queens that is home to a large Polish population. New Jersey sent some of the largest groups to be part of the festive day. It really is a fun parade with lots of happy faces in the crowd.

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Polska na zawsze!!!!

German Americans Salute a Hero at the Steuben Parade on 5th Avenue

23 Sep
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One of the many amazing German Bands

     Museum Mile on 5th Avenue was the setting for the 62nd annual Steuben Parade honoring German culture and a tribute to the Revolutionary War Hero, General Von Steuben. It was a festive celebration with several marching bands from Germany playing some traditional tunes. Marchers dressed in traditional attire from the region including Bavaria, Alsace, Austria and Swiss. A stage and reviewing stand was set up between 78th and 79th streets for parade VIPs and guests to welcome the happy marchers.  As usual. the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. National anthems of both countries were played by the honorary marching band from Hamburg, Germany.  Then the fun began with the marching band getting the crowd ready for a day of yodeling and all things German.

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A Salute to the Great General Baron Von Steuben

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Karnival marchers

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Singing a Happy Tune 

     The Steuben serves to unite both German and Americans in different professions. German firefighters unite with NYFD German marchers. German police get to march with NYPD officers of German descent. Signs of unity were displayed all throughout the event. Of course the fun floats were all the bouncing beer floats. Perennial favorites of the parade are the doberman group which keeps growing each year. The Long Island Volkswagon car club with their classic cars and the Turners doing gymnastic feats. This year everyone was treated to an impressive Japanese yodeler. Still makes me nervous when the Germans and Japanese get together. But his time it was for a good cause.

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Classic Bugs

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Beer anyone?

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Best Uniforms of the Parade

     It’s always a treat to see the marching bands from Germany and near regions. Most notable were Kreisfeuerwehrmusik Celle, the St. Johannes Baptiste marching band and Nussdorf Salzburg Austria marching bands. They were incredible. But the marching band with the best uniforms goes to Jugend Musik Corps with replica War of 1812 uniforms.  Closing out the marching bands were a cool band AKA Blas play I Could Have Danced All Night. Excellent selection. At the end end of the parade route on 86th St., most marchers turned right back around and headed to Central Park to continue the party at Oktoberfest.

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