Tag Archives: Pulaski parade

Thousands of Polish People Celebrate Gen. Pulaski on 5th Avenue

7 Oct

Let the Parade Begin

    A long standing parade tradition in early October is the celebration of Revolutionary hero General Casimir Pulaski. Hundreds of thousands of Polish people from the Tri-State area gather on 5th Avenue to celebrate all things Polish. The parade route was a sea of red and white flags. Now in its 82nd year, the Pulaski Day Parade is the largest of its kind on the East Coast. It coincides with the death of the War Hero at the Siege of Savannah in 1779. Pre-parade festivities took place right in front of the NY Public Library where there were stages and reviewing stands set up for the remarkable occasion.


Traditional Dancers Start Up the Parade


Royal Waltz with Senator Schumer


Polish Marching Band Having Fun

     Before all the fun starts, there is a traditional breaking of the bread with wine and salt on the trays. The Bread is symbolic for never going hungry while the wine is present so that one may never go thirsty and salt for life’s tears….may they always be happy ones. There was a traditional Royal Waltz performed with special guest US Senator from NY Chuck Schumer taking part of the good times. Senator Schumer has been instrumental in pushing for the visa waiver program to include Poland since 2013. President Trump approved Poland’s entry to the program just recently. Poland is one of America’s best allies and certainly deserves the exception. A marching band from Poland played both national anthems and then the fun started.


Saluting the General


Bikers Making Some Noise


Polka Dancers Have a Go At It

     Groups from all parts of the Tri-state area marched in red and white. They danced to polkas and more modern music. One of the favorite parts of the parade is when a few hundred motorcycles ride up 5th Avenue while making thunderous sounds. Groups representing Connecticut marched with lots of joy and pride. One of the largest groups is from Greenpoint in Queens that is home to a large Polish population. New Jersey sent some of the largest groups to be part of the festive day. It really is a fun parade with lots of happy faces in the crowd.

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Polska na zawsze!!!!

Polish People Proudly Display Traditions at the Pulaski

2 Oct

Shall We Dance…

     After rain outs the last few years, warm azure blue skies were a perfect backdrop to celebrate the 80th annual Pulaski Day parade. The parade route along 5th Ave. from 36th to 53rd Sts. was lined up with red and white flags as thousands of parade revelers waved their flags. Huge crowds were assembled by the reviewing stand on 41st St. in front of the NY Public Library awaiting the start of the parade and the ceremonial welcoming with bread and salt, (“chlebem i solą” ). There was a group in traditional costume that paired off with parades VIPs to celebrate the start of the parade. Although this parade honors the famous Revolutionary War hero, Casimir Pulaski, around the time of his death on October 11 in the Siege of Savannah, the parade also honored  Tadeusz Kosciuszko as a hero of two nations.  Groups from the Tri-state area came in droves to celebrate and show their Polish pride. As usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. The parade was being broadcast back to the homeland in Poland by television and radio. A special treat was when the Polish army marching band played a nice tune for the crowd.


Let The Fun Begin


Polish Army Marching Band


Proudly Displaying Banner


     The Polish people are a very religious people and had various church groups from all over the area send representatives. There was a big devotion to Pope John Paul II who was of Polish descent. Just about every group sent a Miss Polonia beauty queen to be part of the parade. Two groups that had the largest marchers were the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, the largest ethnic credit union in the country,  and the Unknown Bikers Motorcycle club. Both made lots of noise at the parade.  A fun group to watch was the Traditional Folk Dancers with their waltz like dance and great costumes.  The crowd loved them. Another perennial favorite is the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Bugle and Drum Corps. They always play it up for the crowd. One of the more lively floats came from Wallington, NJ with a band playing a tune in Polish.  It was great to see all the traditional costumes and revelers taking in the sights with great pride and love of their motherland.

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A Great Parade It Was

                                                            długa żywą polską

Polish Polka Pervades at the Pulaski

9 Oct

The hint of a crisp fall early October Sunday was setting of the 78th annual Pulaski Day Parade along 5th Ave where thousands of Polish descendants came out to wave their red and white flags. Polish people sang and danced polka in celebration of the great General Pulaski and Polish contribution to the city and to America. Everywhere you looked there were traditional costumes and traditional dancing. The Polish people are very devoted to Pope John Paul II and many floats displayed his image. Many groups from the tristate area represented the majority of the marchers. The first hour of the parade had many towns and marching bands from New Jersey from Garfield to Jackson, NJ. Connecticut sent groups from Hartford and surrounding areas followed by the local groups mostly from Greenpoint in Brooklyn.



This year the parade organizers celebrated the 70th year of the Warsaw Uprising when the Polish army successfully revolted against Nazi Germany during World War II. One of the loudest parts of the parade was when about 400 bikers from the Unknown Biker Club roared up 5th Ave. A definite crowd favorite was when a Polish Folk Dance Group from Houston Texas danced traditional polka. They were fun but outdone by a local group of the Polish American Folk Dance Company. They had some really nice dance moves and brought smiles to plenty of folks watching. Displaying more modern Polish vibes was a group from NJ with their Polish rock music that got the young crowd worked up. Each town represented had their own Miss Polonia and each one was more beautiful than the next. I have to admit the Polish people do love their fancy classic cars and some were quite impressive, especially my personal favorite, the Duesenburg. There was even a Mercedes-Benz classic with advertising for perogis. Heck I was looking for some delicious perogis but they weren’t offering any. Oh well. Next year. The Polish people love their country, customs, traditions and it was shown for all to see on 5th Ave. POLISH POWER.






































Long Live Poland

Long Live Poland

Polish People Proudly Preserve Gen. Pulaski’s Legacy in Parade

8 Oct
Polish Children Proudly waving flag

Polish Children Proudly waving flag

Red and white flags were seen all over the parade route on 5th Ave. from 34th to 48th Sts. in the 76th annual Pulaski Day parade where thousands of Polish and Slavic people from the tristate area came to remember the great Gen. Pulaski and his contribution to shaping America during Revolutionary times. Once I got to 5th Ave. and 42nd St at around 12:30, I could hear the Polish national anthem being sung with so much passion by the many spectators. I knew this would be a fun day filled with many traditional costumes and marching bands. Keeping with tradition, paired off couples were given salted bread and wine as a symbolic gesture. Typically local and national politicians are part of the ceremony but with the government shutdown in effect, their absence was expected. Parade VIPs and honorary guests including Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa marched up the parade route. One of the largest motorcycle groups I have seen at any parade this year rolled on by making thunderous noise to the delight of the crowd. There must have been at least 200 bikes in all.

Traditional Breaking of the Bread

Traditional Breaking of the Bread

Curtis Sliwa

Curtis Sliwa

Polish Bikers

Polish Bikers

The rest of the parade was organized by region. The first and largest region to march came from different parts of NY State with the biggest section coming from NYC, of course. Each group has it’s own beauty queen or Miss Polonia. Polish people are religious and many of the churches sent their representatives to march as well. One of the best displays was on a float dedicated to the soon to be cannonized Pope John Paul II from Poland.  It was quite remarkable to see how all the children were dressed in traditional costume.  They were having more fun than the adults it seemed. Well except for a traditional Polish dance group that really had fun dancing. The next region to march came in from Connecticut. They were a small group but loud and fun. The last region to march came from New Jersey. Many towns sent in their High School marching bands.  One of the more notable bands came from Linden. They really performed well. Following them came an even more impressive band from Passaic. Their horn section was really amazing. A personal favorite is when the group from Wallington rolled up with the mayor riding in an original Duesenberg..very impressive. There was a fun float that had a Polish band playing pop music. I couldn’t understand what they were saying but they were having a good time.  The crowd was definitely getting into it.   As far as ethnic parades go, this was one of the better ones with lots of traditional costume and music played.  One of the best signs at the parade summed it up best…Always Represent Polska.

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Polish Pride and Power Appear at Pulaski Parade

5 Oct

     Early October is one of the best times to be in NYC. The weather is usually pleasant. The Yankees are in the playoffs  as is tradition and the parade season is winding down with a resonating boom. On Sunday, Rachel and I made our way to 5th Ave. and 39th St. where the 74th annual Pulaski Day Parade was getting ready to kick off.  The pre-parade buzz was felt in the air as soon as we walked around the side streets of the start of the parade route which started on 39th St. and went up to 53rd St. The traditional colorful costumes of both young and old made one feel as though they travelled to the old country.  All parts of the tri state area were represented as well as marchers from Poland and other parts of the US in preparation for a day of pride and celebration of custom, tradition and contribution to America.  For without the heroics of General Casimir Pulaski, America might be a far different place. Rachel made her way to reviewing stand by the famous NYC Public Library on 41st St. to take some great shots. The mounted police announced the start of the parade soon followed by the Highlander Band of West Milford, New Jersey in their colorful tartan marching attire.  Parade VIPs and marchers in traditional Slavic costume gave the crowd a preview of the fun waiting for them.

     Polish power was shown in the float for the Bricklayers Local Union#1. The laborers helped to contribute to many of the biggest projects in the city. Polish beauty was displayed with all the many Miss Polonias from all the towns that sent marchers to the parade. Getting most of the attention was the beautiful and graceful Miss Polonia from Manhattan, Kasia Markowska. In keeping with this year’s parade theme of Polish Youth is America’s future, many children dressed in traditional costume. Central to Polish society is religious devotion to the Roman Catholic Church as was seen in many marching groups throughout the parade especially with Maspeth Holy Cross Parish.  A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and one of the highlights was the Mother Cabrini marching band with their precision and discipline but they had some close competition from the Fort Hamilton marching band. You decide. A crowd pleaser were the dancers from the Hudson Valley but the authentic dancers were the Warsaw dancers.    Parades are always a way for groups to try to educate the crowd about issues of concern and the issue of visas was presented by some marchers. Poland has always been an ally of the US and has contributed greatly to society. Several politicians including US Sen. Chuck Schumer gave recognition to this issue.


     Although there was a fair share of motorbikes, the Husaria bike club had some of the coolest bikes. There were plenty of tricked out cars but the one that stole the show was the elegant Rolls Royce with the mayor of Wallington, New Jersey sitting proudly in the back. One of the largest groups to march were from Williamsburg Brooklyn with a live band and lots of happy viewers. Rachel and I met up later towards the end of the parade and were glad to see the mass of red and white all over 5th Ave. had a great time seeing their country and heritage celebrated in grand style.


For additional photos go to the photograph links on the right column.

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