Tag Archives: NYC Parades

Scots Bring Out Their Best Threads For the Tartan Parade

9 Apr
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Ready To March

     The grand finale of a week long festival known as TartanWeek is always the annual parade up 6th Ave. where the Scottish put on a fine display of dress and pipe and drum bands. Growing in popularity over its 20 years, the Tartan Parade always draws thousands of fellow Scottish pats to come out and cheer on their favorite groups. Although it was probably warmer in Glasgow than in NYC, the eager crowd was lined up around the start of the parade on 44th St and cheered the marchers to the end on 54th St. where a tour bus with parade VIPs and this years Grand Marshall KT Tunstall greeted all the marchers. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade with honorary lead pipe and drums band from West Point at the front getting the crowd worked up for a fun day of music, marchers, and passing of tradition.

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Grand Marshall KT Kunstall

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Getting the Parade Started

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Shamrock & Thistle Pipes and Drum Band

 

     There were plenty of pipes and drum bands to keep the crowd entertained. The NY Caledonian Club brought their A game but not to be outdone were perennial favorites the NY Metro Pipes and Drum Band and the always impressive Shamrock and Thistle Pipes and Drum Band. Another favorite were the Highland Dancers and always a heart stealer are the Welsh Terriers and a newcomer to the event from Long Island were the Shetland Sheepdog Rescue Group showing off their latest arrivals. This years parade had a more organic feel to it as more groups were displaying banners promoting fair trade and getting back to a simpler way of living. It was no coincidence that a large group from St. Andrews made their presence felt as the big Masters golf tournament was being played in Augusta, Georgia. Golf was first played in St. Andrew’s golf course sometime in the 1400s.

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Proud Canadian Having Fun at the Parade

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Welsh Terriers Steal the Show

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Highland Dancers

     A welcome presence is always the foreign connection to the Scottish culture. This year Canada had a large group that played music with pride. The Forest Legion Group had a blast and really got the crowd worked up. There’s always a group from Scotland that performs at the parade and this year the honor was bestowed upon Sgoil Lionacleit. They played in honor of one of their fallen victims of the Manchester bombing, Eilidh MacLeod.  Although they played with heavy hearts, the played magnificently with dancers leading the way in a show of strength and tradition. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and this year the Homestead Highlanders from Wisconsin made sure the crowd knew they were there for a good time. One of the best pipe and drum bands is actually a combination of local bands. The bands from Middlesex County, NJ and Kearny Caledonians made their way up the parade route with one the best presentations. Once the parade is wrapped up, many musicians gather on 54th St. for an impromptu jam session until the police chase them away. It’s always a fun parade and keeps growing each year.

 

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See Ya Next Year…

Diablos and Decibels Dominate at the Dominican Parade

14 Aug
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Diablos Up To No Good

     The crowd was already pumped up along the parade route on 6th Ave. in anticipation of the loud music and costumed performers for the 35th annual Dominican Day Parade. Although the festive mood was evident even before the mounted police kicked off the parade, there was some sadness in paying tribute to a fallen hero, NYPD Detective Miosotis Familia. Her family marched with heavy hearts but were supported by the hundreds of thousands revelers showing their love and support for them. Parade VIPs including Grand Marshall Congressman Adriano Espiallat and baseball legend Juan Marichal made their way up the parade route from 37th to 52nd streets. Representatives from the Dominican Consulate and members of the National Police got an enthusiastic response from the crowd. The first of many diablos cojuelos made their way up the parade route. They are known as the mischievous devils and are the main part of the Carnival celebration. Each area in the Dominican Republic has their own interpretation of masks. The diablos were having fun scaring the crowd in a nice way.

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In Honor Of a Hero

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Scaring The Crowd

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Baseball Legend Juan Marichal

     The first of many sponsored floats made their way up the parade route with some popular entertainers. The Goya float really got things started with a few good merengue songs to get the crowd dancing. Soon after them the Daily News float appeared with a crowd favorite singing a reggaeton. A crowd favorite and probably the best float was with bachata superstar Luis Vargas playing a popular song. Not far behind them was another outstanding merengue band, Los Toros Band. They really tore it up. One float made dedicated a song to former NY Yankee All Star Robinson Cano.

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Luis Vargas Singing Bachata

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Eardrum Busting Ride

 

     Without doubt the largest parade of automobiles with an amazing display of loud speakers was at this parade. The decibel level was raised far beyond anything so far this year. Plenty of dancers and masqueraders were having a fun time and the crowd was just loving it.  The parade has been getting bigger and louder over the years. It might be time they graduated to 5th Ave.

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Que Viva Quisqueya..

Nowruz Brings Many Happy Persians to Madison Ave.

1 May
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Traditional Persian dancers

     Every April, thousands of people from Persian nations and cultures gather on Madison Ave. to celebrate the ancient tradition of Nowruz. The festival is celebrated on the vernal equinox when the Sun crosses the equator into the Northern Hemisphere. This tradition predates Islam and unites all cultures from that world region regardless of country or religion. It is one of the most important holidays and is celebrated with bountiful color, traditional meals and cleansing of the home. It’s very likely where the Spring cleaning tradition comes from. This parade has the most colorful and lively floats of the many parades in NYC. The popping colors represent hope, renewal and rebirth. Aside from the colorful floats, there were also depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster  where the tradition of Nowruz may have been started. At one time Zoroastrianism was one of the powerful world religions. The tradition also coincides with the time of Cyrus the Great, the original creator of the Charter of Human Rights.

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Start of the Parade

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Central Asians in Traditional Attire

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There’s A Party Over Here

 

     As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. They were soon followed by parade VIPs and energetic dancers getting the crowd worked up for a fun celebration. Usually the traditional characters of Amoo and his sidekick Haji Firuz kick off the parade with presents and revelry but looks like they missed the bus ride in. There was a group of traditional dancers that really got into the spirit of the holiday. It was great to see representatives from Central Asia come and blow their horns. This was the first year a group from Washington DC made their way North to join in the celebration. They did a great job and represented well. But probably having the most fun this  year were the masquerade dancers dressed in black. They really put on a good show for everyone. The parade always closes out with a crowd of students chanting out a happy chorus in unison “Iran”.  One of the best things about the parade is the after party. First, most people get some delicious food from kiosks a block away from the end of the parade route on 24th St. I opted for the traditional soup, Ash Reshteh from the Taste of Persia spot. The party kept on going at Madison Square Park where the spirit of Nowruz was alive and well.

                                                           Wind and rain have gone.
                                                           Lord Nowurz has come.
                                                          Friends, convey this message.
                                                         The New Year has come again
                                                         This spring be your good luck
                                                        The tulip fields be your joy.
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                                  Happy Nowruz……see you next year.

 

German Bands and Beer Make For Great Fun at the Steuben

19 Sep
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Traditional Costumes of Germany

Mid-September is when people of German descent in the Tri-State area gather together and celebrate the birthday of a Revolutionary War hero, Baron von Steuben. In it’s 59th year, the Steuben Parade is also a time to display unity and friendship with native Germans and their German-American counterparts. This year’s Grand Marshall, ice skating champion, Katarina Witt made her way up the parade route on 5th Ave. to the reviewing stand on 78th St.  She was announced by an annual favorite, the German Air Force Band. One of the best displays of unity was the Steuben Association of the NYFD hosting their German Firemen counterparts. They marched right behind each other as brother and sisters in arms. Both dedicated to protecting and serving others in harms way. I did get a kick out of the police car used by Germans …made a Smart car look like a Suburban. The first of many beer floats made its way up the parade route as there was a huge tent in Central Park that had a big Oktoberfest celebration that coincided with the big one going on in Munich the same day. Many dancers and marchers dressed in traditional German attire were happy to stop by for a quick photo op.

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Carnaval Costumers

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The Little Car That Could….

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German and American Unity

One of the best things about the Steuben is we get treated to hear German bands play their marching songs or even a few American favorites. Stadtkapelle Offenburg played a Jersey Boys favorite tune.  They were soon followed by a newer group that played well. Zierte Jonge Niederzier got the crowd excited for what would be the scene stealer with the marching band clad in all white from Fanfarenzug Potsdam. They really did a fantastic job and got the crowd worked up. Keep in mind the Steuben is by far one of the most polite parades in NY. Yes there will be a hoot and a holler once in a while but for the most part people just applaud and wave…yawn. The beer floats definitely pick things up whenever there is a lull in the flow. There were easily a dozen beer floats and every one of those was having a good time. One of the best floats was in honor of the German contribution to film making. Annual crowd favorites continue to be the Volkswagon cars from Long Island, the German dobermans, and the Carnaval costumers. Americans from German descent came from New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania to share in the friendship and unity and of course…beer.

A Fashionable Stroll on Easter Sunday

28 Apr

 

    This year’s presentation of the Easter Parade along 5th Ave.  once again displayed the creative and free spirit that New Yorkers have. From the traditional and elegant to the bizarre and breathtaking, all types of  bonnets were everywhere to be seen. Rachel and I couldn’t believe how many people came out to show off their hat creations. Many owners dressed up their dogs to suit the occasion while some families helped to pass on the annual tradition that goes back to Civil War times. One such family all dressed as though they stepped right out of the late 1800s were making their way down 5th Ave to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  They were stopped quite often for some picture-taking and were anxious to meet friends that were dressed in similar fashion.  Rachel was quick enough to take some great shots of folks dressed in traditional attire reminiscent of New York’s Gilded Age

    

     The parade itself is casual and family friendly. The 10 block area for the event had magicians, puppeteers, dancers, live music and incredible basketball handlers amazing the crowd with their talents.  Folks from all over the world came to see the fashionable display of bonnets and clothing. One family came as far as New Zealand only to be part of an amazing magic show.   No. No one disappeared but the 10-year-old boy was amazed the foam star he squeezed in his hand transformed into a much larger foam bunny rabbit.  One of the best things about this parade Rachel and I noticed is that many parents passed down this fun tradition to their children as many were dressed similarly. Even much older parents kept the tradition with their children alive and well as Rachel made friends with a wheel chair bound lady that claims she worked at Saks Fifth Ave for many years and is a veteran of the event.  She even told Rachel, “I’ll see you next year.”  I’m sure she will.

                                 

It was difficult to say which bonnet and attire was the best one. There was one lady that had a striking outfit from Hong Kong. Vanessa Sterbenz-Guerra from Queens had probably the tallest blue flowers anyone has ever seen. She says it took her 3 weeks to complete and was made in honor of her first child.  Mike Revenaugh had a lego ferris wheel on his straw hat.  Tony Gudell came from Washington DC with the facade of the White House and cherry blossoms on his hat. It was his first Easter parade but said it wouldn’t be his last. The colors were striking and vivid everywhere you looked which only helped to usher in best part of spring where everything comes back to life.

Happy Easter.

 For additional report click on CCN ireport links:

Click the following link to view the full article:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-596125?ref=email

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-596126?ref=email

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-596271?ref=email

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-596382?ref=email

 

 

 

 

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