Archive | October, 2018

Hispanic Heritage Month Ends With A Grand Finale Parade on 5th Avenue

15 Oct
IMG_7037

Start of a Grand Parade

     A month long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage finished with one of the largest parades of its kind in the world. Each Spanish speaking country in the Western Hemisphere and Mother Country, Spain, sent representatives  to display costumes,  dance, folkloric tradition and great pride to the parade route on 5th Avenue. Revelers brought out their flags to display on the railings from 44th up to 66th streets.

IMG_7154

Traditional Spaniard Dancers

IMG_7260

Flamenco Style Dancers

IMG_7363

Tango Dancers Heating Things Up

     Right around noon, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. This year, the honorary lead band was a Brooklyn-based Panamanian Bugle and Drums Corp blaring their trumpets and beating the drum while a large group behind them displayed each participating nations flag.  They handled the prestigious honor with style and set the tone for what would be an amazing day of cultural pride.

IMG_7181

Spanish Artist Leyton Showing His Work

IMG_7315

Happy Venezuelan

IMG_7444

Bolivians Taking Over

 

     Parade VIPs and dignitaries march up the parade route to the reviewing stands and stage for the televised portion of the parade on 64th street. There are judges present to award a particular group for best cultural representation. As usual, Spain leads the way with artists, traditional attire and music to get the crowd worked up. Participating countries proceed in alphabetical order. Argentina got things under way with a group of amazing tango dancers.

IMG_7809

San Simon Caporales Kicking It in High Gear

IMG_7861

Chilenos Handkerchief Dance

IMG_8026

Birds of a Feather…

 

     Each year, one of the largest groups to participate are the Bolivians. Their diverse culture has Tincus, Morenales, and the high energy San Simon Caporales in their sparkling costumes. They have hundreds of marchers with some of the most colorful costumes of the parade. They were soon followed by the cowboy clad group from Chile. Another large group with colorful costumes comes from Colombia. They had a group dressed as birds as Colombia is known as the #1 country for bird watching. A group dancing cumbia, a traditional dance, showed off their moves.

IMG_8084

Costa Ricans Having Fun

IMG_8114

Cafe Tarrazu Group Makes Some Noise

IMG_8232

Dominican Lechones Taking Selfies

 

     Costa Rica was a surprise hit with a snazzy marching band called Banda Municipal Cafe Tarrazu. The band came up from Costa Rica just for the event and they played very well. The Dominican Republic had some playful diablos called Lechones. I caught a pair taking a selfie. Ecuador sent their traditional dancers.  El Salvador had two marching bands from Boston to compete. The first one, Banda Sombrero Azul got things warmed up for a perennial favorite, Banda El Carbonero.  Guatemala and Honduras were well represented.

IMG_8490

Puerto Rico Is Rising Again

IMG_8548

Aztec Nation Wants to be Heard

IMG_8580

Folkloric Mexican Danza de Los Tecuanes

     Mexico had a nice variety of cultural representation with mariachi singers, Aztec dancers, and a group doing  La Danza de Los Tecuanes, an agricultural folkloric tradition of chasing away the jaguar.  Mixed in the large Mexican group were representatives from Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. Another group getting larger each year comes from Paraguay. One of the most impressive groups comes from Panama. The females wear the traditional polleras and the men wear the guayaberas. Panama had two bands that stole the show. The military style Instituto America from Panama City, Panama was well choreographed. They were followed by the Centro Cultural China Panamena which displayed an Asian influence.

IMG_8697

Stunning Panamanian Float

IMG_8752

Military Band From Panama

IMG_8901

Uruguayan Drummers Playing Candombe Music

     Peru had a smaller group than in previous years. Not sure what happened this year. Uruguay took to the streets again with their bright colored drummers playing Candombe, an African influenced dance with scantily clad dancers getting everyone worked up. Venezuela closed out the parade with colorful costumes.

IMG_8639

Paraguayan Marchers

IMG_8681

Happy Panamanians

IMG_8918

Venezuelans Marching with Pride

 

     No other parade in the city other than the Dance parade brings as many various cultures together. Hispanics share the same language but have a wide variety of traditions, cultural influences and their own story to tell. In this one parade, it’s all on display for the city and all Hispanics to be proud of.

 

 

 

Que Viva La Hispanidad…..

 

Italians Heritage Proudly on Display at Columbus Day Parade on 5th Avenue

10 Oct
IMG_6609

Italian Pride and Heritage on Display

     The third leg of the big parade weekend brought me back to 5th Avenue where hundreds of thousands of revelers lined up the parade route for the start of the 74th annual Columbus Day Parade. Parade sponsors, Columbus Citizens Foundation, always put on a great event by bringing in guests from Italy, several quality local marching bands, and plenty of floats bouncing to the beat of some traditional Italian songs. Events that take place during the year help raise scholarship funds for college bound students of Italian American heritage.  The crowd was getting restless as the 11am kickoff was delayed.

IMG_6278

Proud Italian American

IMG_6568

You Go Girl

IMG_6701

Marni Having Some Fun

     As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and the crowd cheered loudly while the first group marched up the parade route from 37th St. to 72nd St. All the marchers passed right by St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Cardinal Timothy Dolan greeted them. This being a gubernatorial election year, both candidates marched. Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo got the biggest applause from all the politicians. Gov. Cuomo was especially happy to take part of the event as his Italian American heritage was proudly displayed.  His opponent, Marcus Molinaro received a polite applause.  Grand Marshall, Guy Chiarello, First Data President, greeted the crowd.  Once all the parade VIPs, dignitaries and politicians made their way up the parade route, then the fun began.

IMG_6250

Italian Secret Service

IMG_6319

Cars in Italian Flag Colors 

IMG_6370

Flag bearers doing their thing 

     One of the best marching bands to make their way up the parade route was W. Tresper Clark HS Marching Band. They were amazing. Some of the local bands came from East Meadow HS and West Islip HS Marching Bands. Everyone was treated to a special show when Majorettes from Casperia in Italy and twirlers and marching band from Sacred Heart combined forces. Some other notable bands were the Connetquot Thunderbirds  from Bohemia NY and the North Hunterdon Golden Lions from New Jersey represented very well.

IMG_6540

Italian Masons Going for a Walk

IMG_6789

Horn Section Going At it

IMG_6825

High Stepping It Up 5th Avenue

 

     There were plenty of great uniforms and bands. All throughout the parade route, people were happy and proud to wave their red white and green flags in one of the bigger parades on 5th Avenue. It was great to see the zest for life that Italians are well known for. Everyone there was Italian…some forever…some for one day.

 

IMG_6261

 

 

Polish People Unite For a Dual Celebration at the Pulaski on 5th Avenue

9 Oct

 

IMG_5987

Let The Party Start

   The second leg of the trifecta parade weekend was dedicated to all the Polish people in the the Tri-state area. On the first Sunday of every October, Polish hero General Casimir Pulaski is honored with a loud and beautiful parade up 5th Avenue. This year’s theme was to commemorate 100 years of Restoration to Independence. The weather was perfect for a day to celebrate Polish contribution to the city and to the nation. Hundreds of thousands of people wearing red and white lined up the parade route from 36th St to 56th St. Parade VIPs, dignitaries, and media set up at the reviewing stand right in front of the majestic New York Public Library.

IMG_5520

Miss Polonias Greeting the Crowd

IMG_5979

Traditional Dancers

IMG_6087

Polish Hero General Pulaski

 

    In this the 81st annual Pulaski Day Parade, you can see tradition being passed down right from the start. Polish Traditional Folk dancers dressed in traditional attire got things started with a traditional dance followed by the old ritual of greeting the crowd with bread and salt. The bread is a symbol of bounty and the salt represents sweat for hard work which the Polish people are well known for. As usual the mounted police kicked off the parade.

IMG_5612

Getting Revved Up

IMG_5850

Proud Marcher

IMG_5945

Honorary Military Marchers

 

     After a large motorcycle brigade revved up their engines and the crowd, the first section from New Jersey arrived. Garfield had one of the largest marching groups. Each town had its own Miss Polonia riding in a motorcade. One of the better marching bands came from the Passaic HS Marching Band. A float from Wallington played a lively Polish song. They really got the crowd worked up. A few groups from Connecticut came down for the big event but the main groups were from Greenpoint Brooklyn, home to a large Polish population. The Poles are a very religious people and many floats were dedicated to Pope John Paul II. The St. Matthias Church float had a lively tune for the crowd. It really is a fun parade and great to see tradition passed on from one generation to the next.

 

 

IMG_5580

A Great Team

 

 

Panamanians Proud of Their Bands and Polleras

7 Oct
IMG_5139

Marching Band From Panama

     The first Saturday of October is one of the busiest parade days in the city with several going on at the same time. On Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, the largest Independence Day celebration outside of Panama was getting under way with hundreds of thousands coming out to cheer on their countrymen and friends. It’s a fun neighborhood parade that showcases school bands from different parts of Panama, fancy traditional costumes and bugle and drum bands blaring marching tunes.

IMG_4943

Traditional Pollera on Display

IMG_4996

Band of Instituto Rubiano

IMG_5017

Fancy Polleras

     For many of the bands coming up, it’s their first time in the US. One band that showed off their moves was the Colegio Bilingue de Cerro Viento. They were really good. Right behind them was a group with military style uniforms. The Instituto Rubiano Marching Band got the crowd worked up for a day of fun and cultural pride. Rounding out the student marching bands from Panama was the Colegio San Martin de Porres Marching Band. They were impressive.

IMG_5169

A Real Conga Line

IMG_5206

Diablo Ready for some Mischief

IMG_5300

First Panamanian Veterans Band Having Fun 

    A perennial favorite that keeps growing are the Campesinos Originales. They brought out 3 different lines of conga drummers that really got the crowd worked up. Bugle and Drum bands are the crowd favorites. A repeat band came from Atlanta. They were real good. The First Panamanian Veterans Marching Band played their hearts out. A local band that teaches youth the style and techniques is the Drums and Bugle International Band Association. The host band always saves their best for last. The First International Band of Brooklyn always puts on a great show for everyone.

IMG_5034

Focused Drummer

IMG_5285

A Family Affair

IMG_5360

Twirlers Getting Ready

     All the marching bands turn off Franklin Avenue at President St. where the parade VIPs are set up with a stage to review all the different bands. Then after the parade ends the festival on Classon Ave. gets into high gear with plenty of food vendors available to try some delicious Panamanian food. There’s also a stage set up for more music and entertainment. Even though the festival is really nice I’d rather stick with my favorite spot… Kelso’s on Franklin Ave.   A must have for some of the best Panamanian food in Brooklyn. Que Viva Panama.

 

IMG_5117.JPG

Hasta La Proxima…Until the next time

%d bloggers like this: