Tag Archives: marching bands

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!!!!

Over 2 Million Strong Come to 5th Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

17 Mar
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NYPD Emerald Society Leads the Way

     One of New York City’s oldest traditions continued with a huge crowd of well over two million people lining up the parade route on 5th Avenue for the 258th celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The honoring of the patron saint of both Ireland and NYC is a way to keep the connection and unity between the people of both nations. People come from all parts of the country for this grand event. This year the parade was held on the 16th for religious observances on the 17th which fell on a Sunday.  The parade has evolved quite a bit since its origin in 1762, where today top High School marching bands across the country come in for the event to showcase their talents. All 32 counties from Ireland send their representatives to march. In this parade, everyone marches. There are no floats or cars. Everyone marches the 2.5 miles up 5th Ave. and stops to greet Archbishop Timothy Dolan in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Revelers call out their counties name like they are checking in at school when their name is called. As it has happened since about 1851, the 69th Regiment, the original “fighting Irish”, lead the parade route with their beloved mascots, a pair of Irish Wolfhounds.

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69th Regiment Officer with Mascot

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Lancers Getting the Parade Started

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Honoring St. Patrick

 

     One of the largest marching bands from Londonderry, New Hampshire was the honorary High School band leading the first group of marchers. They were a great indication of the talent level seen throughout the day. Pipes and drum bands reigned supreme throughout the day with favorites like the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drum band setting the bar way high. The Blue Wall always take care of their own whether here or on the other side. Included as part of the celebration was the family and friends of Detective Steven D. McDonald. It was great to see his family continue to honor his name and message for all to see…Love is the Way.

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Honoring A Special Man

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These Ladies Always Have Fun at the Parade

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FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums

 

     County representatives from Ireland walked up the parade route displaying large tapestries of St. Patrick or another religious symbol. The crowd got a special treat when prize winning Maghery Fife and Drum Band from County Donegal played a beautiful tune. They got a loud cheer from everyone especially one of my favorite group of revelers, the Half Mad McLaughlins from Brooklyn. They always have a great time and are the life of the parade.

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Maghery Band Academy from Donegal

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We Will Never Forget

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Bagpipers Doing Their Thing

 

     A crowd favorite that brings out national pride to everyone present is the FDNY memorial group 343 which represents the number of fireman lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The banner now says 343 and counting for all those first responders that keep dying of cancer and other diseases related to the exposure to the toxins in the air. One thing is for sure…. We Will Never Forget. Another High School Band that stepped up their game was Jefferson Davis from Alabama. For a small group, they packed a big punch. It was the first time in the Big Apple for many of these high school students and what a way to be in the mix of one of the biggest parades in the city.  If this is any indication of the 2019 parades season, it’s going to be an amazing year.  But at least for one day out of the year, we are all Irish.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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Eirinn go Brach!!!

 

Millions Brave Freezing Temps to Give Thanks at the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

24 Nov
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Let’s Get This Party Started

     Arctic temperatures couldn’t stop the millions of fans from lining up the parade route from 77th St. and Central Park West all the way down to 34th St. in front of the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the biggest parade in the city and always enjoyed by kids from 5 to 95. It was the coldest Thanksgiving in 100 years but that didn’t matter. Everyone was there to have a great time and be part of a New York tradition since 1924. With a large display of giant balloons, celebrities, and clowns, the grand spectacle is the premiere showcase that only Macy’s can pull off.

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Paw Patrol On Duty

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Dragon In Training

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James Madison University MB Bringing It

     The parade features some of the top tier marching bands in country. This year the prestigious lead band came from Ohio State University. The frigid temperature had them marching double time just to keep warm. It seems as though this year had more celebrities than in previous years. Headliners included Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and a whole host of other performers. The parade also boasts the largest collection of clowns assembled for one event…other than a clown convention.

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John Legend Waving to the Crowd

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Goku Ready to Defend

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What A Fun Celebration

     Some of the marching bands putting on a great show were the James Madison University Marching Band from Virginia. They were great and had a loud following from the crowd. Oregon sent some of their best in Grants Pass High School marching Band and Color Guard. The giant balloon of Charlie Brown made it’s way down the parade route soon followed by the Northstars from Syracuse NY.  There was a drum showdown between two excellent bands. It’s tough to decide which had the better drum section. Check out Riverside High School from California marching band and then the thunderous Homewood Patriot High School Marching Band from Alabama. They were both well instructed and on point for the parade.

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NYC Landmarks Got In on the Action

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Frosty as Frozen Olaf

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That Nasty Grinch Up To No Good

 

     A few new balloons made their grand entrance to the parade. Goku, from Dragonball Z fame floated in over 56 feet tall and 70 feet long. All kids were watching in amazement at the giant balloon. The Netflix film,  The Christmas Chronicles,  had characters Fleck, Jojo, Bjorn and Hugg airing it out in novelty balloons. They were fun. Hope to see them next year. Everyone’s favorite Mr. Grinch and Spongebob Squarepants always get the loudest applause. The tail end of the parade is dedicated to the Christmas season with lots of elves and Christmas themed floats gathering anticipation for the last float carrying Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus waving to the crowd. It’s always a special part of the parade to watch kids of all ages smiling and waving to Santa Claus.

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     This years NYC parade line up was amazing. Tens of millions of revelers attended this years parades in the greatest city ever created. In a city with such a diverse population, the fact that all these parades can go on without problems or protests shows just how strong a city we have. Thanks to the parade organizers and volunteers that dedicated their time to produce events that keep the star shining on top of this beaming metropolis. Thanks to the NYPD for keeping everyone safe and FDNY for responding quickly to any emergencies, and Sanitation for cleaning up. Thanks to all the marching bands for the endless rehearsals and making the parades festive. And thanks to you the reader that helps keep this blog going. Thank you. It’s been a blast.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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                   Have a great holiday season and a safe and Happy New Year!!

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Israelis Turn 5th Ave, Into a Sea of Blue and White

4 Jun
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Celebrating In Style

     June is a busy parade month with major parades celebrated throughout the city. The first Sunday of the month has two parades going on in close proximity. The first leg of the dual parade day was the 54th annual Celebrate Israel parade on 5th Ave. starting from 55th St to 74th St. Thousands of marchers and revelers came out to celebrate the nation of Israel and all its contributions to NYC and the US. Security was extra tight with all the heightened tensions after the US decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem recently. Every large marching group had their own security detail and NYPD deployed the bike patrol to ensure everyone’s safety.  Better safe than sorry. The usual protesters were confined to a block in front of the Plaza Hotel where a heavy police presence maintained order and kept the parade moving so that the celebration of the 70th year of Israel as a nation continued without disruption.   The mounted police signaled the start of the parade with this years theme for all participants being Sababa, which means super, fantastic, awesome. Bestowed with the high honor of sending notice to all present with the sounding of the ceremonial Shofar was Stanley Hochhauser, riding on the backseat of the convertible cruising up the parade route on 5th Ave.

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Taking Pride In Israel

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Raider Drummers Doing Their Thing

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Traditional Wear In Celebration

 

     This parade is known for all the colorful handmade banners displaying the years theme made by the many groups participating. Many banners were very creative and colorful. The parade gives all the local politicians a chance to meet with the crowd and put some good words in with potential voters. The Israeli Government also sends a delegation to greet the crowd and make the day more festive.  Some of the better drum and bugle bands from the area get to show off their moves. A perennial favorite is the Raiders Drum and Bugle Band from Burlington, NJ. Not to be outdone were the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Band from Princeton, NJ. They were both excellent and helped make the event a memorable one. Everyone that witnessed a marvelous display of culture and pride would agree this years theme was felt by all. Israel, you are Sababa!  I had to leave  the Israeli Parade ahead of schedule to make it to the second leg of the dual parade day. The Philippine Independence Parade was under way on Madison Ave. near Madison Square Park…Only in NY…Oy Vay.

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Let’s All Celebrate Israel

Italians Rev Up Their Hot Cars for Columbus Day

16 Oct
Hot Lamborghini

Hot Lamborghini

     Fast cars and beautiful women were the big draws in the 69th annual Columbus Day Parade up 5th Ave. Tens of thousands of Italian-Americans lined up the parade route to catch a glimpse at about a hundred floats and marching bands. The weather was just right for a fun day of Italian style and heritage. Most had the chance to see Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC mayoral hopeful Bill DeBlasio meet and greet and the crowd. Even the prestigious Columbus Day Parade was not immune from the government shutdown as the lead band from West Point was not allowed to march. The Ohio Northern University replaced the West Point band on a short 3 day notice. This parade had over 20 marching bands with some flown in from Italy just for the occasion. One stand out band was from Parma, Italy. They had a different style of play than what most New Yorkers are accustomed to but it was still very good. One band that really got the crowd worked up were the lovely Golden Stars and the Band Musicale Comunale from Italy.  They really put on a good show for the crowd. It was a nice sight to see firefighters from Venice march in the parade and share a moment with their counterparts from NYC.

Marni Rollerblading

Marni Rollerblading

Golden Stars

Golden Stars

Miss USA

Miss USA

Most parades I have been to this year have had a nice showing of exotic cars but this years honor goes to the Italians with their Lambourghinis, Maseratis, Ferraris, any car lover would dream of having in their garage.  Even Miss USA was seen riding in a Ferrari. The parade is getting more international attention as a group of Basque dancers from Barcelona, Spain marched up the parade route. The crowd showed their love for them with lots of applause and support. The quality of marching bands is getting better and proof of this was in the Sacred Heart University Pioneer MB from Connecticut. They put on a good show with some nice choreography work. The band from West Islip once again showed why they get invited back every year.  They are top notch.  All in all it was a fun parade with lots of Italian style and culture for all to see.  Loved the cars. Vroom vroom.

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Sailing off into the sunset

Sailing off into the sunset

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