Tag Archives: NYC

Italians Heritage Proudly on Display at Columbus Day Parade on 5th Avenue

10 Oct
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Italian Pride and Heritage on Display

     The third leg of the big parade weekend brought me back to 5th Avenue where hundreds of thousands of revelers lined up the parade route for the start of the 74th annual Columbus Day Parade. Parade sponsors, Columbus Citizens Foundation, always put on a great event by bringing in guests from Italy, several quality local marching bands, and plenty of floats bouncing to the beat of some traditional Italian songs. Events that take place during the year help raise scholarship funds for college bound students of Italian American heritage.  The crowd was getting restless as the 11am kickoff was delayed.

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Proud Italian American

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You Go Girl

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Marni Having Some Fun

     As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and the crowd cheered loudly while the first group marched up the parade route from 37th St. to 72nd St. All the marchers passed right by St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Cardinal Timothy Dolan greeted them. This being a gubernatorial election year, both candidates marched. Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo got the biggest applause from all the politicians. Gov. Cuomo was especially happy to take part of the event as his Italian American heritage was proudly displayed.  His opponent, Marcus Molinaro received a polite applause.  Grand Marshall, Guy Chiarello, First Data President, greeted the crowd.  Once all the parade VIPs, dignitaries and politicians made their way up the parade route, then the fun began.

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Italian Secret Service

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Cars in Italian Flag Colors 

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Flag bearers doing their thing 

     One of the best marching bands to make their way up the parade route was W. Tresper Clark HS Marching Band. They were amazing. Some of the local bands came from East Meadow HS and West Islip HS Marching Bands. Everyone was treated to a special show when Majorettes from Casperia in Italy and twirlers and marching band from Sacred Heart combined forces. Some other notable bands were the Connetquot Thunderbirds  from Bohemia NY and the North Hunterdon Golden Lions from New Jersey represented very well.

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Italian Masons Going for a Walk

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Horn Section Going At it

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High Stepping It Up 5th Avenue

 

     There were plenty of great uniforms and bands. All throughout the parade route, people were happy and proud to wave their red white and green flags in one of the bigger parades on 5th Avenue. It was great to see the zest for life that Italians are well known for. Everyone there was Italian…some forever…some for one day.

 

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Polish People Unite For a Dual Celebration at the Pulaski on 5th Avenue

9 Oct

 

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Let The Party Start

   The second leg of the trifecta parade weekend was dedicated to all the Polish people in the the Tri-state area. On the first Sunday of every October, Polish hero General Casimir Pulaski is honored with a loud and beautiful parade up 5th Avenue. This year’s theme was to commemorate 100 years of Restoration to Independence. The weather was perfect for a day to celebrate Polish contribution to the city and to the nation. Hundreds of thousands of people wearing red and white lined up the parade route from 36th St to 56th St. Parade VIPs, dignitaries, and media set up at the reviewing stand right in front of the majestic New York Public Library.

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Miss Polonias Greeting the Crowd

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Traditional Dancers

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Polish Hero General Pulaski

 

    In this the 81st annual Pulaski Day Parade, you can see tradition being passed down right from the start. Polish Traditional Folk dancers dressed in traditional attire got things started with a traditional dance followed by the old ritual of greeting the crowd with bread and salt. The bread is a symbol of bounty and the salt represents sweat for hard work which the Polish people are well known for. As usual the mounted police kicked off the parade.

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Getting Revved Up

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Proud Marcher

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Honorary Military Marchers

 

     After a large motorcycle brigade revved up their engines and the crowd, the first section from New Jersey arrived. Garfield had one of the largest marching groups. Each town had its own Miss Polonia riding in a motorcade. One of the better marching bands came from the Passaic HS Marching Band. A float from Wallington played a lively Polish song. They really got the crowd worked up. A few groups from Connecticut came down for the big event but the main groups were from Greenpoint Brooklyn, home to a large Polish population. The Poles are a very religious people and many floats were dedicated to Pope John Paul II. The St. Matthias Church float had a lively tune for the crowd. It really is a fun parade and great to see tradition passed on from one generation to the next.

 

 

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A Great Team

 

 

Love Wins At the Biggest Pride Parade in NYC

25 Jun

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     The month long tribute to Pride ended with the largest parade the city has seen to date.  With close to 2 million loud people lining the new parade route, it was sure to be one of the best parades so far and that it was.  As a test run to next years big 50th anniversary of Stonewall and already labeled as WorldPride, the new parade route started on 16th St. and 7th Avenue and worked its way down to Christopher St. over to 8th St. and turned up 5th Avenue. It was in reverse direction than in previous years. It seemed to worked although there were a few lags here and there but that’s to be expected with well over 100 floats making its way to the parade. Pride has by far the largest corporate sponsorship of any parade with all affirming their Pride with the marchers and revelers. The first weekend of summer was typically hot and brought out the biggest parade crowd.  Usually the mounted police signal the start of the parade, but come noon time the Sirens MC revved up their motorcycles and got the crowd worked up for a day of love.

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Love Wins

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Stonewall Inn

 

Grand Marshall tennis legend and activist Billie Jean King waved to the adoring crowd. Soon after were fellow Grand Marshalls Kenita Placide , and Tyler Ford. Lambda Legal had a large group bringing awareness to legal issues to the LGBT community. A favorite part of the parade is when the original Stonewall Veterans wave to the crowd. The parade route has always passed by the Stonewall Inn where riots broke out on June 28, 1969 and is considered to be the start of the Gay Rights Movement. I did have to look across the street from the Stonewall just to make sure the flag was raised high, even though your Federal government attempted to disown the flag down just days before the biggest event celebrating Pride.

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Taking Pride In Flight

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Flag From Orlando

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Showing Their Pride

 

Once the parade VIPs and local politicians greeted the crowd, that’s when the fun started. Marchers displayed some of their best outfits and makeup and plenty of love and pride to go with it. A perennial favorite is the Delta float and crowd. Aside from the lovely attendants that get the crowd worked up, they also displayed one of the largest handmade rainbow flags of the parade. The flag was created shortly after the Orlando massacre at Pulse nightclub in 2016 and was proudly displayed by a group of about 50 people.

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Pumping Out Some Good Tunes

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Flaggots Turning It Out

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Spinners Having Fun

 

There was more solidarity with law enforcement than in previous years. The relationship between the police and the LGBT community has always been contentious but this year, NYPD and FDNY sent their representatives to the parade. Even the FBI sent a small group to show their Pride. With over 100 floats and corporate sponsors, there was plenty to cheer about. With every corner of the world celebrating their Pride, the international section was having a great time. Of course a parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and the highlighted band every year is the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band. They always do it the right way. Not too far behind them were the crowd favorite Flaggots showing off their moves. They were so good I had to show their moves off twice.

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Love wins over and over again. With as much hate that has been spewed from the top down, it’s even more important now than ever for all people to unite and join in this special day filled with Pride. I walked away from this parade proud to be New Yorker and a little deaf with all the loud music and screaming but it was the most fun of any parade so far.  And if you think this was a fun parade, wait until next year’s for WorldPride.   The BIG 50!!!

 

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SEE YA NEXT YEAR FOR PRIDEWORLD!!

 

New Balloons Steal the Show At The Thanksgiving Day Parade

24 Nov
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Olaf Greeting the Crowd

     The tell tale signs that Winter is coming was seen in the faces of the well over 2 million people lined up for the greatest parade in NYC. Frosty temperatures couldn’t stop the crowd visiting from all over the globe to see great marching bands, the famous large balloons, celebrities and hundreds of clowns. The 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade starts on the upper West Side and makes its way down 6th Ave. towards Herald Square in front of Macy’s where the parade is broadcast to millions all across the world. It’s a grand finale to a year of some great parades in the City. With extra security in place, parade revelers felt relieved with the visible presence.  This year the honorary lead band was from Prairie View A&M Marching Storm. They got things started with blaring brass sections and precision marching. They really got the crowd worked up for what would be a morning of gratitude and fun for kids from 5 to 95.

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Gulfport In The House

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Super Wings Jett Ready to Take Off

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Chase the Happy Pooch

 

     There were plenty of celebrities to perform and wave to the adoring crowd including legendary music icons Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson. The parade showcases some of the top marching bands in the country. A nice treat was the Nations Ford HS MB from Fort Mill, South Carolina. Everyone stared in amazement at the huge balloons that are as big as houses.  Sending a reminder to everyone of the chilly temperature was Olaf, a huge balloon from a character in the blockbuster hit Frozen. The regular balloon participants made their way along the 2.5 mile parade route. Ronald McDonald, the Red Power Ranger and Charlie Brown are among the tallest balloons ranging up to 50 feet tall and need about 90 handlers to make sure the huge balloons don’t wander off into the crowd.  Another marching band from Trumbull CT, the Golden Eagles soared with high notes and precision.  A really friendly band came up from West Harrison HS Gulfport, MS. They had a fun time and brought their Southern hospitality with them. The Ohio University MB had a great drum line that really got the crowd worked up.

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Patti LaBelle Having Fun with the Crowd

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Patriotic Clowns

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Spongebob Squarepants and his Clowns

 

     The parade has the largest collection of clowns on the planet. They all greeted the crowd with  joyful exuberance especially the kids that were being thrilled with the spectacle that only Macy’s can create. Once the huge Elf On the Shelf balloon appeared that was everyone’s clue that the grand finale was about to happen. Everyone looks forward to Rudolph and Co. hauling a sled with the one and only Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus waving to the crowd. The kids and adults all loved it.

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NYPD Marching Band Enjoying Their Turn

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Grinch Looking For Trouble

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Santa and Mrs. Claus with Rudolph Leading the Way

 

     There was plenty to be thankful this year. Thanks to all the parade organizers for continuing their traditions and passing it on to the next generation. Thanks to all the marchers that created great costumes and banners. Thanks to all the marching bands that rehearsed for endless hours to get the song and march right for us to enjoy. Thanks to all the NYPD and FDNY and Sanitation that helped keep us safe and ready for emergencies and clean up after the festive events. And thank you the reader and viewer for helping keep this blog going.

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It Really Is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

Mexicans Celebrate Cinco on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn

7 May
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Folkloric Dancers

     The overcast day made Cinco de Mayo feel more like Cinco de Marzo. The chilly weather didn’t stop the first Cinco de Mayo parade on 5th Ave. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn from marching on. Local neighborhood parades can be just as much fun as the bigger parades in the city. Kicking off the parade were sponsors and local politicians including NYC Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who was vital in organizing the event. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the famous battle in the town of Pueblo where General Ignacio Zaragoza led a small army to repel the invading French troops. Even though it was not a major part of the war, it did gain support and confidence among Mexicans to defend their land.

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Danza de Tecuanes costumer

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Happy Cinco

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Chinelos Dancing It up

 

     Lead groups included parade queens and traditional folkloric dancing with colorful dresses. The first of several costumed groups made their way up the parade route from 60th St. to Sunset Park.  Danza de Tecuanes from San Rafael made their appearance with the traditional costumed jaguar being tricked by farmers. They were pretty good and brought back Mexican agricultural tradition to Sunset Park.  Closing out the parade were the crowd favorite and energetic chinelos.  The crowd gathered for more fun and celebration in Sunset Park.  One of the best things about neighborhood parades is the variety of restaurants available. I had to stop by Tacos Los Poblanos for a quick spicy chicken taco. Well worth it.

Blooming Bright Bonnets Abound at the Easter Parade on 5th Ave.

17 Apr

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     The unusually warm weather brought out a huge crowd this year for an original New York City tradition, the Easter parade. Since the Gilded Age of the 1880s, New Yorkers have dressed up to the nines and casually walked up 5th Ave. with the latest fashions. Today, the tradition has evolved into a combination of well dressed celebrants and creative expressions of bonnets and top hats. The blocks from 49th St. to 55th St. are blocked off where street entertainers and music fill the air on a day of celebration. New Yorkers from 3 to 93 or more continue to show some of the best creativity in the country. Some pets enjoy bringing their owners to the parade so they can show off how cute they can look. If you have never been to this parade, it is one of the most colorful and creative you will experience. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I had taking them.

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Scots Turn 6th Ave Into a Tartan Panorama

9 Apr

 

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Colorful Tartans on Display

     The culmination of a week long celebration of Scottish contribution to American culture and the passing on of tradition ends with the Tartan Parade up 6th Ave. In a glorious display of Scottish pride and colorful tartans, this young parade is gaining more popularity. In it’s 19th year, the Tartan Parade is well known for having one the largest displays of bagpipe bands from the Tri-State region, Scotland and Canada. The sun soaked day gave the marchers and viewers a hint of the nice spring weather soon arriving. As usual, the mounted police gave the signal for the parade to start.  The honorary opening pipe and drum marching band were the US Cadets from West Point, NY.  They were pretty good and warmed up the crowd for what would be an amazing show of Scottish culture and tradition.  This years Grand Marshall, Tommy Flanagan, of Sons of Anarchy fame, greeted the crowd and took his place to review the festivities on a large tour bus on 56th St.

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Grand Marshall Tommy Flanagan

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Start of the Tartan Parade

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Shamrock & Thistle make their mark

     One of the pipe bands to kick off the day of celebration were the NY Caledonian Club Pipe Band. They were impressive. Soon after them were the NY Metro Pipe Band straight out of Brooklyn. A perennial favorite is the Shamrock & Thistle Pipe and Drums Band from Ocean County NJ. Their colorful yellow and black tartans always sets them apart from the crowd. Besides they can really play. One of the best things about this parade is the invited bands that come in from Scotland. This year Oban HS Scotland band made their country proud. A crowd favorite has always been the display of Scottish and West Highland Terriers. The dogs always bring their owners to the parade so they can show off their Scottish pride. A pleasant surprise was the Middlesex County, NJ Police Pipes and Drum Band. As usual, the lamest interpretation of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, made an appearance. Really, they should give it a rest. This year, the parade organizers saved the best for last with special guests from Scotland. St. Columba’s School Kilmalcolm made quite an impression both during and after the parade. In keeping with tradition, pipe and drum bands get together for a spontaneous jam right on 56th St. They play until the police kick them out. This year, there was a fun drum battle and a version of Amazing Grace that was a joy to capture. The Tartan parade was truly a fun parade and the Scottish hearts had plenty to be happy about.

 

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See Ya Next Year

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