Tag Archives: new york city parades

Sea of Green Floods 5th Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

18 Mar
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Nassau County Pipes and Drum Visit 5th Avenue 

          The grand daddy of all New York City parades kicked off at 11am for the well over 1 million visitors flocking to 5th Ave. to celebrate Irish culture and tradition. Since 1762, the parade has been a call for all the Irish to come out and stand tall. The parade route passes right by St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Cardinal Dolan greeted VIPs including NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. This is one of the grandest parades in the city and the only parade where everyone walks…there are no floats or trucks or cars. Ok there was one horse drawn carriage that carried this years Grand Marshall Loretta Brennan Glucksman.  The excitement for the parade to kick off was building when the mounted police let everyone know things were about to get started.  Since the 1850s, the original “Fighting Irish”, the 69th Regiment of NY National Guard led the parade as a reminder of the contribution the Irish have given to the fabric of the country and the City. Their mascots, a pair of Irish wolfhounds led the way for the 69th and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo

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Grand Marshall Loretta Brennan Glucksman

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Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

 

      The parade is a display of some of the best marching bands in the country and kicking things off were the Virginia Military Institute from Lexington, VA. They had great uniforms but looked a little angry. Guess I would be too if their top ranked basketball team got bounced from the NCAA Basketball tournament in the first round the night before the parade. One group that turned that frown upside down was a familiar group that always gets much love from the NY crowd. The Friends and Family of Detective Steven D McDonald proudly carried a banner with an image of the fallen hero. The Detective passed on last year but his spirit of compassion and forgiveness still lives on. One of the most anticipated bagpipe bands were the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Band. They always set the bar high for the rest of the bands to follow. Local counties from the surrounding areas send their pipes and drum bands to get the crowd worked up.

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Honoring a Hero

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NYPD Emerald Society

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Irish and NY Police Unite

 

     One of the best things about the parade is a bond between the Irish from Ireland and the Irish in the US. The Irish send their Garda Siochana to meet with their counterparts at the NYPD. The Irish Firefighters also send their counterparts to have a pint and show some comradery. The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Band always take the lead for their group and make the City proud. Right behind them were a crowd favorite…the 343 group carrying US flags in honor of the fallen firefighters from 9/11. We Will Never Forget. Banners were carried in honor of two recently fallen firefighters, Raguso and Zanetis, while serving with the Air National Guard near the border of Syria and Iraq.

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These Ladies Know How to Enjoy a Parade

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We Will Never Forget

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Honoring Heroes

 

     Many counties in Ireland send their representatives to the parade carrying tall banners with the name of their county. The one county that gets a lot of love from the crowd is the Donegal group. The McLaughlins from Brooklyn have been coming to the parade for many years and have a great time especially when they see folks from their county proudly displaying their banner. This year we were all treated to some marching bands from Donegal including the Dungloe Band with their accordions. They had a nice American song tribute. Then a flood of marching bands from the local area and across the country made the parade a grand tribute to the Irish. It’s tough to say which ones were the  best and this year’s judges had a tough time deciding which band was the most outstanding. A few newbies to the parade were the group from Arab, Alabama with their flashing shamrocks and the Clark County HS MB from Missouri were pretty good. They had some stiff competition from Lyman HS MB from Florida, Dobyns-Bennett HS MB from Tennessee and Preble HS MB from Wisconsin. Local perennial favorite, the Highlanders from West Milford, NJ always bring their A game to the parade.

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     The parade is being more inclusive as in previous years with banners displayed of Gay and Lesbian groups marching with pride. Heck, if the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, and the NYC Council Chairman, Corey Johnson, both openly gay can march, so can others. All in all, it was a grand parade with a fine display of Irish culture and pride. But of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate without a limerick from Stephanie Porter from Winterport to close out the blog.

 At Geaghans today I’ll be drinkin’,

and all will know what I am thinkin’.

On St. Patrick’s day,

I’ll give a toast and say

Lord, please stop my wallet from shrinkin’.

 

 

 

Israeli’s Celebrate Togetherness on 5th Ave.

5 Jun
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Start of the Parade

     The first leg of the double parade day started out on 5th Avenue and 57th St. for the 53rd annual Celebrate Israel parade. Although the clouds were threatening, the rain held off and the hearts of many of Israeli heritage were filled with sunshine. Revelers felt a sense of relief with heightened security all throughout the parade route. Israel is about the size of New Jersey but has done so much to contribute to the fabric of this great city.  The Israeli people are a very religious with one of the oldest world religions. This parade is very proud to display all the different members of the yeshivas and temples across the Tri-state area.  Celebrate All Together was this years parade theme.  All the schools and temples brought their banners to display their interpretation of Togetherness. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and then the fun began. They were followed by the traditional sounding of the ceremonial Shofar as a call to unite and celebrate. This year’s honorary Ba’al Tekiah (Master of the blast) was Stanley Hochhauser riding on the back of a convertible.

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NY Governor Cuomo and Chemi Peres

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Let the Celebration Begin

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We Are All Connected

 

     A flurry of yeshivas and congregations made their way up the parade route on 5th Avenue up to 74th St. carrying their banners proudly. One of the best things to witness is the passing of tradition to the next generation. That’s clearly evident in how enthusiastic the marchers were. The zest for life, empathy for humanity, and love of Israel that binds the US and Israel together.  This was highlighted when NY Governor Andrew Cuomo declared Sunday to be Shimon Peres Day and announcing new programs promoting heritage between the New York and Israel. Former President and Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres passed away last year but his son, Chemi Peres, was present for the declaration. As another show of solidarity, both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Jersusalem Mayor Nir Barkat marched together waving to the crowd. The celebration kept on going as many floats with live music rolled on by but the one with the most lively band was from the UJA float. They were real good. Of course a parade isn’t a parade without a few marching bands. The Excelsior Drum and Bugle Corp are a perennial favorite. Not far behind them were the Fusion Core Drum and Bugle Corp. They were very good. Another parade was getting started on Madison Ave. further down so I had to hightail it to next parade. Only in New York..Oy Vay.

 

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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