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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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Puerto Ricans Bring Their Flags to Fifth Ave.

11 Jun

Puerto Rican Day Parade 2013

     The unofficial start of the summer usually happens on the second Sunday in June when the National Puerto Rican Day Parade kicks off on 5th Ave. and 38th St. and makes its way up the parade route ending at 74th St. where well over a million parade revelers waved flags and danced to salsa and hip-hop. Marking the 56th anniversary of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade was an honor to both the state of Rhode Island and the pueblo of Guayanilla. This year’s parade theme was Salud: Celebrating your health. The sun-filled day was perfect for thousands of marchers to show off their Puerto Rican power and pride and show off some of their dance moves. As usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade soon after followed by the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg. The excitement was building soon after as more parade VIPs including NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and mayoral candidates marched up the parade route waving to potential voters for the big election come November. Then the fun started. Grand Marshall Chita Rivera was driven up the parade route waving to the crowd like the royalty of entertainment she earned.

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     The honored town or pueblo of Guayanilla sent their representatives to the parade and proudly waved the flag just before two impressive High School bands marched playing some classic Latin jazz hits. They could compete against any American HS band. Next came a crowd favorite..  the all female drum band called Batala from DC. They rocked as usual. Keeping the tradition of authentic costume, music and dance were some plena dancers. One float representing a local union 1199 Healthcare workers  had the best plena singer I have seen in a while. They got the crowd worked up for another annual favorite..Estrellas Tropicales, the all-female baton twirlers from Boston. They had a fun dance routine and kept the flow going. Taking it to the next level was Sky Blue from LFMAO with 92.3 NOW-FM radio personalities, the lovely Lala and Lulu on the front of the float getting the crowd worked up to a fever pitch. Keeping the crowd worked up were more celebrities including legendary salsa singer Jose “El Canario” Alberto, the various talking heads from Univision news, but the one that got the most attention was the Colombian superstar Carlos Vives.

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     A special treat from the island were the Ballet Folklorico from Vega Alta with their unique dance moves that kept the crowd worked up. They were not to be outdone by another dance studio,Pointe, with a more modern flare from the pueblo of Aguada. Everyone that goes to the parade knows when the group from Loiza comes in. The demon masked costumes and acrobatic stilt walkers make them instant hits. More salsa music came jamming from another local union float with a timbale player that was channeling Tito Puente for a bit. One thing about this parade that stands out is the selection of fine automobiles brought in from the island and locally. From antique vehicles to hot rods to suped up low riders, the car enthusiast was not disappointed at all.  A pleasant surprise was a salsa dance group from Manhattan called Young Ambition that showed how teens can really dance salsa…great to see the tradition passed on and the young ones embracing the art form. Vaya…. Closing out the parade were some favorites including Daddy Yankee, John Brackett, and the crowd for 1st International Hip Hop Parade coming up in July in the Bronx.  The parade was very much representative of the Puerto Rican community …loud and proud and lots of fun to be with…and more than anything..enjoying life.

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Yo Soy Boricua…Pa que tu lo sepa….

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