Archive | October, 2017

A Howling Good Time at Tompkins Square Park

22 Oct
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Best In Show For the Top Dogs

     Every year for the last 27 years, our four legged friends have dragged their owners out to the grandest display of dog fashion and creativity in the Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. This is said to be the largest parade of it’s kind in the country and quite possibly the world. The event wags its tail every year with media coming in from all parts of the country. Dogs bring their owners from as far as Italy and Canada to participate. The warmer than usual weather brought out thousands to Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City in the Lower East Side of NYC. Normally the stage is set up in the dog run but the larger crowds forced use of the multi-purpose courts which made the best sense. A stage was set up with 3 emcees announcing all the contestants. Sponsors including Rubie’s Pet Shop and about 4 rescue organizations contributed to gift cards for pet supplies. Some dogs were rescued from hurricane impacted areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Pooches vied for the top Best In Show prize that was for $250 and tickets to Hamilton on Broadway.

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2nd Place Winner Licking his Chops

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3rd Place Winner Marie Antoinette

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Stunning Cruella DeVille

 

     The parade is a precursor to the annual Village Halloween Parade and if this is any indication of what one can expect, the Halloween Parade will be just howling mad. NYers are best known for their creativity and this parade was no exception. For those paws that stuck around for top prizes there was no disappointment at all. No one had bones to pick with anyone else. In third place was the the elegant yet hair raising Marie Antoinette.  Digging into second place was the lovable Pawskank Redemption group recreating the famous prison cell from the famous cult-movie.  Muzzling every one else and leading the pack was the Pawline New York Sightseeing bus. They were a nose above the other great contestants.  This is a great NYC event and is a must see for all animal lovers.

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Panamanians Proud of Their Polleras and Bands

11 Oct
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Beautiful Pollera

     The largest Independence Day celebration outside of Panama is held every year for the past 22 years on Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights in Brooklyn USA. Each year the marchers and revelers keep growing in size with bands coming in from Maryland, Georgia and from Panama and of course hometown Brooklyn. There are folkloric dancers and women dressed in their traditional polleras with men in guayabera shirts. It is quite spectacular to see how ornate the women dress and follow their tradition. The warm weather had the streets of Franklin Ave. lined up with revelers waiting for things to kick off and once the Elite Riders Motorcycle Club appeared the crowd got revved up.

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Hon. Shawndya Luisa Simpson and Jose Francis

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A grand festival like no other

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Georgia’s In the House

     This years Grand Marshalls were presented in pre-parade ceremonies. The Honorable Shawndya Luisa Simpson, current Assistant Attorney General for NY State, and Jose Francis,  Host of Rinconcito Panameno en Nueva York, a popular TV show in the Panamanian community. Once parade VIPs and dignitaries make their way down the parade route, they settle in at the reviewing stand on President Ave. where many bands display their talents.  The lead band came all the way from Colon in Panama and they did not disappoint. A group that was having a lot of fun were the Campesinos Internacional   banging on the congas and having a spirited dance. They were soon followed by a group of folkloric dancers with ladies in their fancy polleras and probably one of the best floats of the parade.

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Lovely Beauty Queen

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The Band Striking It Up

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Proud Display of Flags

     One of the best things about this parade is the bands come from all over to play their drums and bugles. It is a unique experience for the many of these marchers since it’s their first time in NYC. Kicking off the proud display of talent was the Jose Santos Foca Banda de Musica soon followed by Monsenor Francisco Beckman Marching Band. They can play with any band from the US. A perennial favorite is the Instituto Jose Dolores Moscote Marching Band. They keep getting better each year. The King of Kings Marching Band and  Banda Evangelica El Elion made their presence known to the very happy and proud crowd. The band that had the best uniform had to go the Panamanian Band from Atlanta. Their red white and blue uniforms got the crowd buzzing. Saving some of the best for last was a newer group, ARCIA, that showed off their precision. Great job. Of course, the host band, the 1st International Panamanian Marching Band of Brooklyn showed why their one of the best. This really was an an amazing parade to witness and one the most festive neighborhood parades this year.  After the parade was over, there was more festivities and food available on Classon Ave. where the party kept on going.

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Que Viva Panama

Hispanics Beaming With Cultural Display on 5th Ave.

11 Oct
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Viva La Hispanidad

     The largest display of Hispanic culture in the US occurred this past Sunday on 5th Ave. with over 18 Spanish-speaking nations united to represent their particular customs through costume and dance in the 53rd annual Hispanic Day Parade. October is known as Hispanic Heritage month and this was one huge celebration of all the contributions made to help build this country. NYC is the largest Hispanic city in the country and the parade helps remind revelers of traditional customs from their motherland.  Light rain early on did not stop the hundreds of thousands of revelers from lining up the parade route from 44th to 72nd Sts. The weather cleared up some and the fun started when the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. This years honorary lead group was ARCIA Drum and Bugle Corp. representing Panama. They got things warmed up for a spectacular day of cultural display and unity among nations. After parade VIPs and dignitaries made their way up to the reviewing stand on 64th St., a group of young dancers dressed in traditional Spaniard flamenco attire showed off some of their moves. A surprise display was a mural from Spanish artist Leyton with his homage to Pablo Picasso. The parade always starts off with Spain as the lead group since they were one of the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic to the New World.  Casa Galicia represented Spain with their traditional bagpipe marching band.

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Homage to Picasso

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El Salvador Bringing It

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Panamanian Polleras

 

     The sequence of the parade always goes in alphabetical order even though the Bolivians always have more groups than anyone else and scatter them throughout the parade. Argentina displayed a float with a pair of tango dancers and a classy singer pumping out national tunes with heartfelt tones. Bolivians have some of the most diverse of any groups. They have Tinkus with a very energetic dance and colorful costumes and Morenales which have a slower paced dance and the favorite Caporales paying homage to San Simon. Chileans came up the parade route with their Huasos (cowboys) and lovely partners performing a Cueca dance, the National dance of Chile. Then the party really got started when the Colombians made their way up the parade route. Last years Appreciation Award winner returned in full force with the Carnavalers From Baranquilla. They were one of the most energetic groups and proud to show off their magnificent costumes. Soon after them was the traditional Colombian Cumbia dance group. A bit more toned down but still fun to watch. Costa Rica showed off their beauty queen while the Dominican Republic sent their mischievous diablos to crack their whips.

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Spaniards Taking the Lead

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Dominican Diablos Getting Fired Up

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Bolivian Angels Flying Up the Parade Route

 

      Ecuador had traditional dancers showing their moves. A show-stealer was definitely the El Salvador Torito Pinto Marching Band down from Boston. Their marching band was a diverse instrumental band with a large brass band section that tore it up. Guatemala sent a nice band from Trenton, NJ. Honduras had a nice float with traditional dancers. Mexico had a good diverse group with Indians and a nice group performing the Danze de los Tecuanes (dance of the Jaguar). Nicaragua displayed an original artwork of unifying flags from Hispanic nations. Panama always brings a large a proud display of culture. They are very proud of their bugle and drum bands as well as their traditional polleras. It truly was an amazing sight. Paraguay sent their cowboys and cowgirls. They always send a group of ladies performing the folkloric Danza de las Botellas (The Bottle Dance). Peru had a nice group of traditional dancers. Puerto Rico had a group of salsa dancers but more importantly had a large banner of where to donate to help recover from one the most disastrous hurricanes to claim the island. Have no doubt, Puerto Rico will rise even stronger than before. Uruguay had a float with traditional Candombe band but its really better to watch them march and dance instead of riding on a float. Wrapping things up was Venezuela with a nice float and fun dancers.

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Jaguar Scaring the Crowd

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Panamanian Float

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Paraguay Bottle Dancers

 

     This was one of the better parades of the year. It showed the diversity and strength of the Hispanic culture. People from all parts of the world come in to march and watch a grand extravaganza that made anyone watching captivated by its glory and passion.

 

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Que Alegria..What Happiness

Polish People Proudly Display Traditions at the Pulaski

2 Oct
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Shall We Dance…

     After rain outs the last few years, warm azure blue skies were a perfect backdrop to celebrate the 80th annual Pulaski Day parade. The parade route along 5th Ave. from 36th to 53rd Sts. was lined up with red and white flags as thousands of parade revelers waved their flags. Huge crowds were assembled by the reviewing stand on 41st St. in front of the NY Public Library awaiting the start of the parade and the ceremonial welcoming with bread and salt, (“chlebem i solą” ). There was a group in traditional costume that paired off with parades VIPs to celebrate the start of the parade. Although this parade honors the famous Revolutionary War hero, Casimir Pulaski, around the time of his death on October 11 in the Siege of Savannah, the parade also honored  Tadeusz Kosciuszko as a hero of two nations.  Groups from the Tri-state area came in droves to celebrate and show their Polish pride. As usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. The parade was being broadcast back to the homeland in Poland by television and radio. A special treat was when the Polish army marching band played a nice tune for the crowd.

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Let The Fun Begin

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Polish Army Marching Band

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Proudly Displaying Banner

 

     The Polish people are a very religious people and had various church groups from all over the area send representatives. There was a big devotion to Pope John Paul II who was of Polish descent. Just about every group sent a Miss Polonia beauty queen to be part of the parade. Two groups that had the largest marchers were the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, the largest ethnic credit union in the country,  and the Unknown Bikers Motorcycle club. Both made lots of noise at the parade.  A fun group to watch was the Traditional Folk Dancers with their waltz like dance and great costumes.  The crowd loved them. Another perennial favorite is the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Bugle and Drum Corps. They always play it up for the crowd. One of the more lively floats came from Wallington, NJ with a band playing a tune in Polish.  It was great to see all the traditional costumes and revelers taking in the sights with great pride and love of their motherland.

 

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A Great Parade It Was

                                                            długa żywą polską

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