Archive | June, 2019

Sea Creatures Flock to Coney Island For the Wild Mermaid Parade

23 Jun
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Siren Star Eline Powell leads Float With Happy Mermaids

     Every culture celebrates the summer solstice in different ways. New Yorkers shut down Surf Ave. in Coney Island, Brooklyn for one of the largest art displays related to all things from the ocean. People come from all parts of the country to be part of the annual tradition. There were thousands of creative costumes with strategically placed seashells all around. The Mermaid Parade is in its second version and pays homage to Vaudeville, burlesque, and all things related to fascination of the travelling circus. Hundreds of thousands of viewers stepped right up to see one of the greatest shows in Coney Island.

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Founder Dick Zigun Starts Off the Parade

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WKTU Radio DeeJays Lulu and Lala

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Charm City Tail Star Having Fun

     A reviewing stand was set up across from MCU Park, a minor league baseball stadium, where easily corruptible judges weighed in on who would get top prize for the most creative costumes. Parade founder Dick Zigun raised a large key to Coney Island to open the parade. He announced this was the largest Mermaid Parade ever. Congrats, Dick. Coney Island born American icon Arlo Guthrie and wife Nora were this years King Neptune and Queen Mermaid. Then the fun really started with thousands of wild costumes and marching bands setting up a fun filled day. Kicking things off were the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp Marching Band. They were warming up for the big 50th parade celebrating Pride next week.  Of course, there is always a social message in these parades. The New Green Deal Mermaids were out in full force giving warnings of what could possibly happen if rapid changes don’t occur.

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Dressed For the Occasion

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Jakobee As an Axolotl

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Stunning Angel Fish

     It’s hard to say which bands and dancers were having the most fun. The Hungry March Band helped save a marcher that nearly passed out from exhaustion. The Tail Shakers had their dance routine on point. Thunderous booms were coming from the all female marching band Fogo Azul sporting their pink flamingo attire. A perennial favorite ,Charm City Tails, come from Baltimore each year with an original dance routine. Right behind them were the Big Apple Babes showing how it’s done. New to the parade were the Baltimore Highsteppers. Closing out the parade is a crowd favorite. The Rockaway Mermaid Brigade had a zodiac theme float and the crowd just loved it.

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     This is the wildest parade of the year so far. It is one of the largest art parades of the country and a chance for NYers and visitors to show off their amazing creativity. Have a fun and safe summer.

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See Ya Next Year

Millions of Beautiful Flags Waving on 5th Avenue for the Puerto Rican Day Parade

12 Jun
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Vejigantes Take Over 5th Avenue

     The anticipation was building up on the parade route on 5th Avenue with horns blasting, flags waving, speakers blasting and that was just the crowd. Well over 1 million people attended what parade sponsors named America’s Largest Cultural Event. Celebrating the 62nd year of Puerto Rican culture and contribution to the fabric of this city and our country, the event was televised nationally for millions of viewers. It’s also a chance for people to come up from the island and unite with friends and family and march or dance in one of the largest parades of the year. Before the mounted police signaled the start of the parade, a traditional dance was performed by the stage and reviewing stand on 68th St. to usher in good luck and positive results.

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Cortez Working the Crowd

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Ricky Martin Living La Vida Loca

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Getting Started Early

 

     Parade Grand Marshall Ricky Martin really got the crowd worked up on the loud and proud Loiza float. All throughout the parade, themes of female empowerment were front and center. One proud Bronxite was newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez jogging up the parade route. She got lots of love from the adoring crowd.  A perennial favorite is Bombazo Dance Co. and the salsa band representing the NY State Nurses Association. They were really on point. Getting the crowd to raise their flags in unison was the 1199 SEIU float. There was a significant call for movement for Independence and calls to cancel the debt that has been stifling growth on the island.

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Loiza Dancers Having Fun

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Vieques Marchers Going West Indian Style

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Baton Twirlers Getting Ready

 

     Puerto Rican culture was proudly displayed with a group from a close neighbor island of Vieques dancing to a West Indian tune. The Batuteras de Guaynabo are a crowd favorite. They can twirl their batons with the best of them. A new group from the University of Puerto Rico performed beautifully with their dancers and singers. Loiza is a small town in the northern part of Puerto Rico that kept true to their African roots and was on full display with their dancers and float.

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Sorority Dancers

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University of PR

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ATA Fraternity

 

     Puerto Ricans loved to dance and love their cars. Some of the best choreographed moves came from the ATA Fraternity and the XTC Sorority. They really got into it. The group with the most swag was Dancers Dreamzzz. They always represent well. Paying their respects to Puerto Ricans on their day were the Highsteppers with their signature dance moves.  The parade of Polaris 2 wheel cars and jacked up jeeps was jaw dropping. My personal favorite was the Hulk Jeep with monster speakers just shook the ground. The decibel level was off the charts and the crowd just couldn’t get enough.

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The Hulk Jeep

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MLB Slugger Edgar Martinez

     This parade showed off some of the best Puerto Rico has to offer in all aspects of life. In sports, three champions of their game received lots of applause were golf legend Chi Chi Rodriguez, baseball slugger Edgar Martinez and current professional boxer Amanda Serrano.  In the arts, Jose Feliciano waves to his adoring fans while La India and Salsa legend Bobby Sepulveda got lots of love. This is one of the best parades of the year so far and typically marks the unofficial start of summer. Yo Soy Boricua Pa Que Tu Lo Sepa. 

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Que Bonita Bandera…What A Beautiful Flag

 

 

 

 

Filipinos Dazzle on Madison Ave. for the Independence Day Parade

4 Jun

 

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   The second leg of the dual parade day was for one of the more colorful parades so far this year. Billed as the largest celebration outside of the Philippines, the Filipino Independence Day parade got under way on Madison Ave. near 38th St. and made its way down to 25th St. where a large stage was set up for an after parade festival. On  June 12th, 1898, Filipinos proclaimed their independence from Spain and has been a key ally of the US ever since. In this version, there were groups both honoring and decrying the current Filipino President Duterte. Beauty queens were abound with elegant gentlemen dressed in the Spanish style guayaberas.

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     One of the best parts of the parade are the native tribal costumes and dance. There is a huge group dance competition each January in the Philippines and the winner is invited to this parade to display the much revered Nino Santo – the Holy child. One group that really stood out was the colorful group from Cebu. Their costumes were amazing.  All the marchers stopped by the reviewing stand on 28th St. where parade VIPs approved of the dance or display.  Another group from Talisay also had colorful costumes and nice dances. This is one of the most colorful and friendliest parades of the city. If you have the chance, it’s well worth the effort to see it.

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Only In Israel Theme Abundant on Celebrate Israel Day

4 Jun

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     The first of the dual parade Sunday started out with a sea of white and blue Israeli flags being waved by the thousands of revelers on the parade route on 5th Ave from 55th to 74th Sts. All the members of temples and yeshivas in the tri state area come out to celebrate Israel and the Jewish people of New York City.  This year the parade celebrates its 55th year and the celebration was loud and proud.  As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and was soon followed by the blowing of the shofar – a large horn blown to signal the people to come together for a special occasion.

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     One of the nicest things about the parade is the large homemade banners displayed by the many groups depicting the theme of the parade. This year’s theme was Only in Israel. Banners depicted the Israeli entry in to space with a spacecraft getting close to the moon and innovations in agriculture that will help feed millions more across the planet.  Of course a parade isn’t a parade without marching bands and they did not disappoint at all. Fusion Core kicked things off with a nice drumline. They were soon followed by the impressive Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Band.  A really nice surprise was the Quaker City String Band from Philadelphia that really got the crowd worked up. I wished I could have stayed for the entire event but the second leg of the dual parade day got started on Madison Ave.  Gotta go. Oy Vey!!!

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Celebrate Israel

 

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