Tag Archives: Parades

World Pride In NY for 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Brings Millions to Celebrate

2 Jul
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50 Years and Getting Stronger

     The anticipation for the 50th Pride celebration began at the end last years parade. For the first time World Pride participated in the annual show of love, community, advocacy and protest.  This was the largest and longest parade I have been to and I have attended over 100 in NYC and other cities. The NYPD estimates over 3 million people attended one of the largest celebrations in the country all in the name of peace and love. There were zero arrests. Everyone was there to yell and scream and have a heck of a party. And that it was.

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Grand Marshall Lay Phyll Getting the Love

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The First Warriors

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Glam Girls Living It Up

     Hundreds of floats made their way down the parade starting on 26th Street and 5th Avenue and then making its way to the Stonewall Inn and back up 7th Avenue to 26th Streets. The thunder of Dykes on Bikes got the crowd ready for a spectacular day.  People yelling and screaming continued when one of the Grand Marshals, the original members of the Gay Liberation Front, marched with plenty to be happy for. I’m pretty sure they had no idea what their effort and sacrifice would evolve into back then. 50 years later the celebration rocked NY. It was definitely the event of a lifetime for many. Grand Marshall Lady Phyll, founder of UK Black Pride, was really feeling the love from the crowd.

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Australian Pride

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Vanessa Working the Crowd

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Venezuela In the House

     All kinds of costumes and plenty of swag were on display for a 9 hour marathon of a parade. World Pride organized thousands of marchers from all around the globe. Many European countries started the display of the LBGT community with some amazing outfits. Later on the Asian community brought their charm and energy to get the crowd worked up. Middle Eastern countries got into the mix with some lively floats. African and West Indian countries brought the heat. South Americans represented very well. Just about every corner of the world was represented. Here in NY, they came express their love with who they wish to without fear of persecution from their own country.

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England Makes Some Noise

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Proud For Everyone To See

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Enough Said

     Of course a parade just isn’t a parade without  A perennial favorite is the hometown band, The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp, had a lot of fun playing to the crowd.  Fresh off their Mermaid Parade big performance, The Tail Shakers kicked it up a notch for the grand event. Accompanying the display of images of fallen icons were the high powered rhythmic all female drum band, Fogo Azul. They gave a beautiful performance and the best I have seen them do. Commercial sponsors were in abundance but the one that really got the crowd worked up was the MAC float. Celebrities Vanessa Williams and Wendy Williams were enjoying the amazing display of love and good vibes from the crowd. There was plenty of glam on display. Everyone was loving it and couldn’t get enough. This was THE parade of the year so far. I’m so proud to be a NYer and know my hometown can pull off an event of this magnitude in grand style. Love is Love.

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See Ya Later

 

 

Sea Creatures Flock to Coney Island For the Wild Mermaid Parade

23 Jun
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Siren Star Eline Powell leads Float With Happy Mermaids

     Every culture celebrates the summer solstice in different ways. New Yorkers shut down Surf Ave. in Coney Island, Brooklyn for one of the largest art displays related to all things from the ocean. People come from all parts of the country to be part of the annual tradition. There were thousands of creative costumes with strategically placed seashells all around. The Mermaid Parade is in its second version and pays homage to Vaudeville, burlesque, and all things related to fascination of the travelling circus. Hundreds of thousands of viewers stepped right up to see one of the greatest shows in Coney Island.

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Founder Dick Zigun Starts Off the Parade

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WKTU Radio DeeJays Lulu and Lala

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Charm City Tail Star Having Fun

     A reviewing stand was set up across from MCU Park, a minor league baseball stadium, where easily corruptible judges weighed in on who would get top prize for the most creative costumes. Parade founder Dick Zigun raised a large key to Coney Island to open the parade. He announced this was the largest Mermaid Parade ever. Congrats, Dick. Coney Island born American icon Arlo Guthrie and wife Nora were this years King Neptune and Queen Mermaid. Then the fun really started with thousands of wild costumes and marching bands setting up a fun filled day. Kicking things off were the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp Marching Band. They were warming up for the big 50th parade celebrating Pride next week.  Of course, there is always a social message in these parades. The New Green Deal Mermaids were out in full force giving warnings of what could possibly happen if rapid changes don’t occur.

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Dressed For the Occasion

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Jakobee As an Axolotl

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Stunning Angel Fish

     It’s hard to say which bands and dancers were having the most fun. The Hungry March Band helped save a marcher that nearly passed out from exhaustion. The Tail Shakers had their dance routine on point. Thunderous booms were coming from the all female marching band Fogo Azul sporting their pink flamingo attire. A perennial favorite ,Charm City Tails, come from Baltimore each year with an original dance routine. Right behind them were the Big Apple Babes showing how it’s done. New to the parade were the Baltimore Highsteppers. Closing out the parade is a crowd favorite. The Rockaway Mermaid Brigade had a zodiac theme float and the crowd just loved it.

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     This is the wildest parade of the year so far. It is one of the largest art parades of the country and a chance for NYers and visitors to show off their amazing creativity. Have a fun and safe summer.

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See Ya Next Year

Filipinos Dazzle on Madison Ave. for the Independence Day Parade

4 Jun

 

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   The second leg of the dual parade day was for one of the more colorful parades so far this year. Billed as the largest celebration outside of the Philippines, the Filipino Independence Day parade got under way on Madison Ave. near 38th St. and made its way down to 25th St. where a large stage was set up for an after parade festival. On  June 12th, 1898, Filipinos proclaimed their independence from Spain and has been a key ally of the US ever since. In this version, there were groups both honoring and decrying the current Filipino President Duterte. Beauty queens were abound with elegant gentlemen dressed in the Spanish style guayaberas.

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     One of the best parts of the parade are the native tribal costumes and dance. There is a huge group dance competition each January in the Philippines and the winner is invited to this parade to display the much revered Nino Santo – the Holy child. One group that really stood out was the colorful group from Cebu. Their costumes were amazing.  All the marchers stopped by the reviewing stand on 28th St. where parade VIPs approved of the dance or display.  Another group from Talisay also had colorful costumes and nice dances. This is one of the most colorful and friendliest parades of the city. If you have the chance, it’s well worth the effort to see it.

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Only In Israel Theme Abundant on Celebrate Israel Day

4 Jun

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     The first of the dual parade Sunday started out with a sea of white and blue Israeli flags being waved by the thousands of revelers on the parade route on 5th Ave from 55th to 74th Sts. All the members of temples and yeshivas in the tri state area come out to celebrate Israel and the Jewish people of New York City.  This year the parade celebrates its 55th year and the celebration was loud and proud.  As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and was soon followed by the blowing of the shofar – a large horn blown to signal the people to come together for a special occasion.

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     One of the nicest things about the parade is the large homemade banners displayed by the many groups depicting the theme of the parade. This year’s theme was Only in Israel. Banners depicted the Israeli entry in to space with a spacecraft getting close to the moon and innovations in agriculture that will help feed millions more across the planet.  Of course a parade isn’t a parade without marching bands and they did not disappoint at all. Fusion Core kicked things off with a nice drumline. They were soon followed by the impressive Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Band.  A really nice surprise was the Quaker City String Band from Philadelphia that really got the crowd worked up. I wished I could have stayed for the entire event but the second leg of the dual parade day got started on Madison Ave.  Gotta go. Oy Vey!!!

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Celebrate Israel

 

Taking It To The Streets of NY at the Dance Parade

19 May
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Tribal Belly dancers Having Fun

     As diverse and multi cultural as New York City is, one parade that brings every one together to celebrate the most ancient of art forms is the Dance Parade. This young parade celebrated its 13th year and just like most teens, the parade was wild and full of life and energy. Over 10,000 dancers showed off their moves along the parade route starting on 20th St. and Broadway to 8th St. and then turning towards Tompkins Square Park where a huge festival took place after the parade. Along the way, dancers stopped by the reviewing stand at Astor Place to demonstrate their dance moves.

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Bolivian Caporales 

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Flamenco Dancers

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Classy ladies in synch

     This years parade theme was Movement of the People and kicking things off was a float dedicated to the original ones. Honoring Indigenous people was a float carrying one of this years Grand Marshalls, Louis Mofsie, a retired school teacher and current director of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. Soon following them were a perennial favorite, Danielle Lima and her Samba Dance Group always get the party started with their dance moves. If you’re not moving it with this group, then you have no pulse. A section dedicated to belly dancing and fluid movements soon followed.

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Danielle Lima and her Samba Dancers

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Tinkus Having Fun

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Mabel my Favorite Octogenarian

     70s music is always fun to dance to and uplifting. The Shining All Stars got into the action with their dance rendition of Right Back Where We Started From. The cultural dancing started getting hot and heavy with the Russians doing their thing. But as usual, the Bolivians bring out hundreds of dancers. They have such great costumes, high energy and lots of happiness doing what they do.  There are three main sections to the Bolivian group. First, the Tinkus danced with high energy. They are inclined with the Indigenous part of their culture. The Morenales is a more slower dance and reveals a part of their mining history of silver. They also have the best boots of any group. Gaining the most attention and applaud are the high energy Caporales. Groups come as far as Virginia to participate and they never disappoint.

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     A group that always represents with class are the Flamenco dancers. Their float was really having a fun time. House music got lots of people moving even though the float lost some power because the energy was so high. One of my personal favorite groups are the rollerbladers. They always bring it and my favorite octogenarian still rolls up on her skates does a hula hoop dance. Mable is a living example of how music and dance are an important part of staying healthy. Got to keep moving. One group that always gets the crowds moving is Fogo Azul,  an all-female drum band. They were alot of fun as always.

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       All the groups made their way towards Tompkins Square Park where stages were set up for more dancing shows. Other sections of the park were set up for dancing instruction. Dance Parade is one of my favorite parades because it unites all people across ethnic and socio-economic lines. It honors Dance in the Dance Capitol of the World right on Broadway. Shake that Groove right now, baby.

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See Ya Next Year

 

Persians Celebrate Nowruz on Madison Avenue on Double Parade Day

15 Apr
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Aftab Dance Group Getting the Crowd Worked Up

     The first of two parades started right on time at 12 noon with a colorful display of traditional costume and dance. This is the 10th year the Persian community has been celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Madison Ave. between 38th and 25th streets. They always have some of the most colorful floats with signs of Spring and rebirth present. Traditional costumes and traditional dancing was the theme of the day. Kicking things off was a festive group with traditional characters Hajji Firuz and Amu Nowruz getting the crowd worked up for a day of fun, music, dancing, food and national pride.

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     A perennial favorite of the parade is the Bahar Dance Ensemble with their traditional  costume and dance that never disappoints. They really have fun showing off their moves at the parade. Soon after them were parade favorites, the Aftab Dance Group. This young group always has new choreographed dances that pleases the crowd.  Persians are from an ancient people in what today would be Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A group displayed banners displaying their Zoroastrian heritage and their motto..Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. A great way to live. Closing out the parade is a group chanting the name of Iran carrying a huge traditional Iranian flag while they made their way to Madison Square Park. The festivities kept going with some delicious Persian food and more music and dance in the park. Luckily, the parade ended in time for me to make a bee line to 5th Ave and 63rd St where the Greek Independence Day parade was getting ready to kick off. There was time thousands of years ago where these two cultures would have marched to battle…this time they march with cultural pride and love.

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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!!!

 

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