Tag Archives: cultural events

Greeks Turn 5th Avenue into a Sea of Blue and White

16 Apr
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Greek Marching Band Gets the Party Started

     The second leg of the dual parade day brought me to 5th Avenue to celebrate the 82nd annual Greek Independence Day Parade. Everywhere you looked on the parade route, from 64th to 79th streets, blue and white Greek flags were being displayed or waved. The parade coincides as close as possible to the actual date of Independence of March 25th. Hundreds of thousands of revelers turned out to celebrate this festive event which is televised locally on MY9 and internationally where millions in Greece can see the beautiful event. The crowd was really anxious to get things started and as usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade.

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Evzones Marching Up 5th Avenue

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Folkloric Costumes

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Proud Marcher

 

 

     Parade organizers, The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, led the way to the reviewing stand on 68th street where VIPs and dignitaries captured the amazing display of Greek pride and culture. Among the honored guests were His Eminence Archbishop  Demitrios of America, Mayor Bill deBlasio, US Senator Chuch Schumer and US Rep Carolyn Maloney. This year’s Grand Marshall, George M. Marcus, was honored for his contribution to the fabric of this country. The crowd got an special treat when the Mantazros Philharmonic Society from Corfu, Greece played a marching tune. They led the way for everyone’s favorite part of the parade when the Ezvones, the Presidential Guard,  marched in unison. It really is a special part of a Greek tradition in NYC that makes this parade one of the best.

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     The Greeks are a very religious people. All the Orthodox churches from the tri-state area and even Canada march in the parade with members displaying banners that commemorate the Greek Wars for Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Many floats display images of War Heroes or events that were pivotal in gaining their Independence. Several marchers wore traditional wardrobe that made you feel as though you were in the countryside on the hills of Greece.  This parade is truly a celebration of the unity of Greece and America. The best way to cap off the the double parade day was to head over to Uncle Nick’s on 9th Avenue for some delicious Greek cuisine.

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LONG LIVE GREECE!!!!

Feathers Flying From Festive West Indian Parade

6 Sep

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Every year on Labor Day, Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn turns into one of the largest parties of West Indian nations with over a million revelers coming out for good food, good music and lots of masqueraders. Once you step onto Eastern Parkway around 11am, the aroma of jerk chicken, fried fish, and curried goat entice your senses into having a taste of some delicious food. I stopped by Trini Marv’s kiosk for some roti. They’ve been there for 25 years strong and as usual I was not disappointed.  The start of the parade began with the procession of flags from all the West Indies nations. Then the first of many politicians arrived with Honorary Grand Marshall NY State Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading the way. After a half hour delay, Mayor DeBlasio arrived. No surprises there. A pleasant surprise was when the NYPD band float got into the day long party. Their steel drum section was on point. The fun kept on going with colorful costumes, marching bands and dancers coming from afar as Jamaica and French Guyana. They got the crowd worked up for what would be arriving next….the monster trucks and masqueraders.

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No other parade in NYC has monster trucks with monster speakers blaring favorite songs of the Caribbean community.  You can follow your favorite truck from Utica Ave. for 4 miles to Washington Ave. and hop on a train ride back to Utica Ave. and start it all over again. The Haitian truck had one of the largest followings of the 8 hour long parade. The Freaks Mas group had some great costumes and fine masqueraders. The Last Tribe Group had an amazing display of costumes. A real unique group was the Enchanted Garden with beautiful butterflies, parrots, and peacocks. One of the largest groups is the crowd favorite Ramajay Mas with their Travel The World representation with groups from exotic locals all over the world. All groups made their way to the judges panel over on Washington Ave. for a presentation of their groups theme and costume. This parade one of NYC’s best parades and should be on your bucket list no matter what your country of origin is. If you like to have fun, this is the parade to go to.

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