Archive | 10:29 pm

Silent Footsteps Heard in Little Neck

3 Jun

     Every so often an event gives you a reality check . Yes parades are fun and you meet some funny characters in New York but every so often we get reminded of just how fragile life really is and how blessed we really are.  Rachel and I made it to the last leg of the trifecta. Three parades in three days and the best one saved for last at the 84th annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens.  It’s the largest Memorial Day parade in the country and attracts former service members and politicians alike.  There was a nice turnout although the summer like heat may have had more people heading to the beaches or parks.  Just before the parade was about to get under way, Rachel and I couldn’t help notice Tharenie Tsalikis wearing a T-shirt and medallion with a picture of her godson, Michael Postal, who paid the ultimate price on May 21st in the Iraq War at the young age of 21. You couldn’t help see the emotion she was holding back at the loss of Michael

     The parade was just about ready to kick off as the mounted police  galloped their horses ahead of a crowd favorite, the Rough Riders of Long Island with a remarkable Teddy Roosevelt look-alike. You would think he was ready to charge San Juan Hill. They were quickly followed by the Grand Marshall Major General Willian Waff, USAR and the 319th Statue of Liberty Band, US Army from Ft. Dix. One the most dominant participants had to be the Volunteer Firefighters of Manhasset and other local areas. The line of fire trucks seemed to go for a quarter-mile. A display of vintage cars with war veterans waving to the cheering crowd was just ahead of the Distinguished Patriot of the Year, famed war photographer Tony Vaccaro. The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn waved the American flag proudly and vigorously worked the crowd.  NY Governor Andrew Cuomo received a large applause from the crowd as he marched down Northern Blvd. US Senator Chuck Schumer got on his bull horn getting the crowd to cheer for the USA and calling out the good works of neighborhood families.  Several pipe and drum bands representing the Emerald Isle in Queens played well including one small but distinguished band of the Sons of the Revolution playing Yankee Doodle for the many children attending.  Incarnation Church of Queens had a large representation of girl and boy scouts with team leader Malcolm Robertson in the front of the pack wearing a vest that couldn’t fit one more patch or merit badge.


 A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and the most notable was the Patriot Battalion of Fresh Meadows Francis Lewis HS. This marching band meant business as no one smiled or waved and kept marching in a tight military formation.  They made their fellow countrymen proud to be an American. Rachel and I met up close to the end of the parade as I noticed her taking pictures of dogs ceremonially dressed for the occasion. Not too far from her I spotted Al Csorta, a World War II veteran sitting alone. He mentioned he served our country in the jungles of the Pacific Theater and remembered performing an emergency tracheotomy on a fellow solider who thanked him for saving his life three days later. Al mentioned he saw a lot of death as he worked as a medic and many men who were in basic training with him were killed. That reminded me of a float from the parade that had written…Some Don’t Make It Back. As I shook Al’s hand to thank him for his service to our country I reminded him that freedom is not free and we are so lucky to be in the land of the free and home of the brave. Al smiled and agreed and at that moment I felta  warm breeze brush my back and heard the gentle sound of light footsteps… millions of them as the Memorial Day parade came to an end.

Videos can be seen on YouTube search NYCParadelife.

For more pictures go to Photograph link on the right column and CNN link below.

Next Parades:

Sunday June 5th ~ Phillipine Independance Day Parade – Madison Ave. & 37th St at noon.

Sunday June 5th ~ Israeli Parade – 5th Ave & 57th St. 11am.

Sunday June 12th – Puerto Rican Day Parade – 5th Ave   & 44th St. 11am.

Saturday June 18th – Coney Island Mermaid Parade – W. 21st St. and Surf Ave. 2pm.

Sunday Jun 26th- Pride Parade – 36th St & 5th Ave. noon

Crescent Moon and Star Shine on Madison Ave.

3 Jun

     Holiday weekends are often retreats from the everyday work week and a time to gather with friends and family to rest. There was no rest this weekend as the first of three parades in the city was about to get started. Rachel and I started hearing the preparade buzz around 51st and Madison as the 30th annual Turkish Day Parade and Festival was getting ready. The hot midsummer weather felt more like July than May. Marching bands were tuning up while soccer teams and their fans were stretching out their team flags in preparation of their turn to march. The blaring police sirens announced the start of the parade as  the Turkish Consulate General Mr. Mehmet Samsar, Turkish Ambassador Mr. Namik Tan and President of the Federation of Turkish American Associations Mr. Kaya Boztepe among other Turkish officials proudly sang the Turkish National anthem.  They made their way to the reviewing stands at 48th St. and awaited the arrival of the procession. Marchers carrying large Turkish and American flags waved to the crowd and saluted the VIPs. with an enormous mural of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk  getting the largest applause from the crowd. The dignitaries all stood and saluted the depiction of the founder of modern Turkey.


     Various clubs and organizations made their way down Madison Ave. and turned on 47th as they made their way to Dag Hammarskjold Park near the Turkish Consulate. Although the parade is primarily a celebration of Turkish culture and contribution to American society, there were other regional countries with fancy floats including ones from Azerbaijan and Crimea. Cem Sarioglu was waving a large American flag and informed me the main reason he was at the parade was to support his favorite soccer team from Fenerbache who won the championship match this year. The team supporters carried their large flag in front of the reviewing stand and jumped up and down as though they had won the match again. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and there were a few of note including two all girl bands from Mother Cabrini and Cathedral HS and a Spaniard bagpipe band from Queens representing Unity Gallega (Casa Galicia). One of the floats having the most fun were the Flying Eagles soccer team with blaring upbeat music and lots of dancing all around as everyone made their way to the Festival.


     At  Dag Hammarskjold Park, the Festival was getting crowded with lots of vendors and food being sold with lots of entertainment on the way including two famous stars from Turkey, Ferhat Gocer and Linet sang for the crowd and marked a finale to the largest Turkish parade and festival in North America.  Rachel and I couldn’t help but get caught up in all the excitement and good times the Turks were having even though Rachel is still looking for one of the coolest T-shirts some the crowd had on. Guess she will have to go to Jersey for that one.

For additional pictures go to the Photograph link on the right side.


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