Tag Archives: Videos

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

 

 

Panamanians Proud of Their Bands and Polleras

7 Oct
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Marching Band From Panama

     The first Saturday of October is one of the busiest parade days in the city with several going on at the same time. On Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, the largest Independence Day celebration outside of Panama was getting under way with hundreds of thousands coming out to cheer on their countrymen and friends. It’s a fun neighborhood parade that showcases school bands from different parts of Panama, fancy traditional costumes and bugle and drum bands blaring marching tunes.

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Traditional Pollera on Display

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Band of Instituto Rubiano

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Fancy Polleras

     For many of the bands coming up, it’s their first time in the US. One band that showed off their moves was the Colegio Bilingue de Cerro Viento. They were really good. Right behind them was a group with military style uniforms. The Instituto Rubiano Marching Band got the crowd worked up for a day of fun and cultural pride. Rounding out the student marching bands from Panama was the Colegio San Martin de Porres Marching Band. They were impressive.

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A Real Conga Line

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Diablo Ready for some Mischief

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First Panamanian Veterans Band Having Fun 

    A perennial favorite that keeps growing are the Campesinos Originales. They brought out 3 different lines of conga drummers that really got the crowd worked up. Bugle and Drum bands are the crowd favorites. A repeat band came from Atlanta. They were real good. The First Panamanian Veterans Marching Band played their hearts out. A local band that teaches youth the style and techniques is the Drums and Bugle International Band Association. The host band always saves their best for last. The First International Band of Brooklyn always puts on a great show for everyone.

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Focused Drummer

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A Family Affair

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Twirlers Getting Ready

     All the marching bands turn off Franklin Avenue at President St. where the parade VIPs are set up with a stage to review all the different bands. Then after the parade ends the festival on Classon Ave. gets into high gear with plenty of food vendors available to try some delicious Panamanian food. There’s also a stage set up for more music and entertainment. Even though the festival is really nice I’d rather stick with my favorite spot… Kelso’s on Franklin Ave.   A must have for some of the best Panamanian food in Brooklyn. Que Viva Panama.

 

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Hasta La Proxima…Until the next time

Harlem Hosts a Hip Hop Happy Parade

18 Sep
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Uniondale Marchers Having Fun

     The second leg of the big weekend parades went down up in Harlem this past Sunday. In a sharp contrast to the polite Steuben parade of Saturday, the 49th annual African American Day parade was boisterous with both marchers and revelers screaming with joy, love and happiness. Billed as the largest parade of its kind in the country, the African American parade displays lots of pride and enthusiasm for all the contributions made to the nation and to the great city of New York. Crowds were filling up along the parade route on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. from 111th St. up to 135th St. The warm weather brought out close to 1 million people waiting to cheer on the marchers that came in from all parts of the country.

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A Call to Start Something New

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Positive Messages to Take Home

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Calling all Marchers

 

     In the shadows of the world famous Apollo Theater on 125th St. and in front of the Adam Clayton Powell statue, a reviewing stand is set up for announcers to introduce the many hundreds of groups participating in the grand event. Local hip hop and R&B radio stations also simulcast the event to all their local and worldwide listeners. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. Parade dignitaries and VIPs made their way to the reviewing stand in what would be an amazing day of celebration. This parade has always been a platform to educate and raise awareness of issues affecting the community. Marchers were eager to engage with people about issues like ending the school to prison stream and a call to end police violence and killing of unarmed minority citizens. There were many groups calling of the community to get out and exercise no matter what your age. It really is a great day for community for all those present.

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Powerful Messages

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Mayor Dinkins and Charles Rangel

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Drummers Giving Their All

 

     Many floats passed by blaring old school and the latest hip hop hits. It was one big party. A more traditional marching unit came up from Baltimore in the Christian Warriors. They always put on a good show and the drummers were on fire. Of course a parade isn’t a parade without a marching band and Uniondale HS from Long Island, NY did a great job. Dancing groups came to show off their best moves. The Marching Cobras got things started with their stylish moves. One of the best dance groups were the Sugar Babies. They had female dancers break out moves that had them standing on their head. Amazing.

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Cobras Showing Some Swag

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Deltas Steal the Show

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Sugar Babes…Indeed

 

     The fraternity and sorority houses represented very well and had the most fun of all the groups. The last part of the parade always features the steppers from Baltimore showing off their swag. Perennial favorite Mass Destruction got things started with their high energy dancing. A new crew showed off some nice moves in the Epic Premier Marching Unit. They were soon followed by a really fun group. The Dynasty Marching Unit showed off some really good moves and gave the crowd a treat. In this case, the best was saved for last when the Baltimore All-Stars tore it up and sent the crowd home happy.  This really is a great parade to attend and if you haven’t seen it…add it to your bucket list. It’s a must see.

 

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See Ya Next Year

 

Germans All Smiles at the Steuben on 5th Avenue

17 Sep

 

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Happy Times at the Steuben

     The first leg of the big dual parade weekend started with one of the most polite parades of the year. German Americans from the tri state area came out in droves to cheer on their compatriots visiting from all parts of Germany for a grand celebration of German culture and contribution to the fabric of NYC. The 61st annual Steuben parade honors the Revolutionary War General Baron von Steuben but it has transformed into a show of unity of German Americans and folks from the Motherland. The large crowd along the 5th Ave. parade route was getting anxious to see the lead marching band perform. This parade rolls out the red carpet literally at the reviewing stand by 78th St. where parade dignitaries and VIPs take in some of the many talented marchers and bands.

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     As usual, the mounted police signal the start of the parade with the lead band stopping by the reviewing stand to play both countries national anthems. Then the fun begins with the lead band playing a popular marching band tune. As a show of unity, both German and NY firefighters get together for a march. One of the best things about the Steuben are marching bands come in from Germany and play some fine marching tunes. One of the better ones with great costumes from another era was the group from Dinkelsbuhl. They were soon followed by a really fun band called Musikverein Schienen. There were some great costumes celebrating the German version of Karneval.   Various regions near Germany come out in celebration as well. Austrians, Bavarians and even a really cool Swiss Band rocked out. They were fun.

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     Perennial favorites Long Island Volkswagon Club drove their Beetles up the parade route. The doberman dogs brought their owners with them so they can show off their attitude. Beer floats always make the most noise and their patrons can’t wait to get to the Oktoberfest celebration in Central Park after the parade.  It really is a fun parade, polite, but lots of fun.

Beer and Brats anyone?!!

West Indians Dazzle on a Sizzling Labor Day in Brooklyn

4 Sep
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Fierce Dragon Getting Ready to Fire Things Up

 

     The familiar smoky aroma of cooked meats coming from the hundreds of food kiosks lined up the parade route on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn USA made for an enticing start of what would be a sizzling parade. The tropical like weather certainly made you feel like you were in one of the any of the Caribbean island nations celebrating their culture and raising their flags. While there were plenty of pina coladas , fresh juices, and bottled water to soothe your thirst, I was in search of some coconut water right out of the coconut. Finally found a vendor who cut up the fruit with his machete and I was delightfully happy to enjoy one of the best kinds of water Mother Nature has given us. Then I learned how to use a piece of the hulk to eat the meat of the coconut. I was definitely going Islander today. Since the parade is held on Labor Day, I had the chance to speak with local grass-root organizers about issues that affect every day workers and immigration rights and an end to US colonialism especially with regards to Puerto Rico.

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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Getting Votes

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Getting Fierce for the Parade

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Amazing Float

     Parade organizers made their way up the parade route just past Washington St. where reviewing stands were set up for judges to rate the various groups on originality and costumes. There were plenty of costumes and groups to judge as this is one of the largest parades in the City. Hundreds of thousands march and dance in the parade and well over 1 million people come out to enjoy the sights and sounds of all things Caribbean. Kicking things off were the NYPD Steel Drum and Brass Band. They got the early crowd into the festivities with some nice tunes. As usual, local politicians greeting the crowd. This being an election year for NYS Governor, both Democratic candidates, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and contender Cynthia Nixon were present trying to win votes. After all the politicians and VIPs made their way up the parade route, then the fun started. The first of many groups with stylish costumes was Blue Wave with designer Donna Dove and her group getting the crowd worked up. They did a great job.

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Costume Designer Donna Dove and her Blue Wave Creation

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Warrior Princess

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Masqueraders Having Fun

     The part that most people come out to see are the colorful costumes the masqueraders wear as they follow the big tractor trailers with huge speakers playing all the hits. You can jump over the railing on Eastern Parkway starting at Utica Ave. and go all the way to Washington St. and join in and dance with your favorite group…hop on a train and go back to Utica Ave. and do it all over again. Only in NY. One group that has great costumes and wows the crowd is Stronjeh  Intl. They had an amazing display. One of the best things to see is when groups following the tractor trailers are asked to raise their flags to represent their country. The largest group of the parade and celebrating their 10th year was the ever popular Ramajay Mas. They always set the bar to what masqueraders and good music to entertain the crowd. Their grand finale at the judges stand was amazing. To date many have tried to copy but no group has yet to surpass their energy and dominance of parade floats. They had plenty of competition though. Right behind them were the Dingolay group with their black devil costumes. That group was sizzling the streets even more than the hot temperature. Another group that was having lots of fun was the Kaios float. They were pretty good.

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Impressive Float

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Dazzling Beauties

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Having Fun at the Parade

This is truly one of the best parades in the City. Delicious food, soothing drinks, great music, stunning costumes and floats…it’s Carnival in the streets of New York.

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Happy Carnival

 

 

Royalty Makes Its Way to the Indian Day Parade on Madison Avenue

20 Aug
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Representation of Shivaji Maharaj

     The excitement was building up around 38th St. and Madison Ave. this past Sunday in anticipation for the start of the 38th annual Indian Independence Day parade. Although the day was overcast, the marchers and dancers were sizzling hot getting ready to show off with great pride their community and culture. Billed as the largest Indian independence parade outside of India, this years theme of “the world is one family” was evident in many of the groups present in showing unity with the US. Undoubtedly the tech boom in the US has drawn hundreds of thousands of Indians from their homeland to make the NYC their new home.  Many of those transplants made their way along the parade route on Madison Ave. from 39th to 25th streets to cheer on their compatriots.

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Anupam Kher Gets the Parade Started

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Master Blaster Sir Vivian Richards Greets the Crowd

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Jallosh Gets the Crowd Worked Up

     As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. It is with great fanfare that the parade organizers, the Federation of India Association, invite celebrities from India as Grand Marshalls. This year was no exception with heavy hitters like the legendary film actor  Anupam Kher,  and the Master Blaster of cricket, Sir Vivian Richards gathering the most attention. Parade organizers invite groups from both the tri-state area and from India to participate in an amazing display of color and tradition. After all the VIPs and dignitaries  made their way to the reviewing stand on 27th St., the fun started with perennial favorite Swamibara Pipe Band playing an upbeat tune for the crowd. Air India displayed their famous record breaking all female pilots that circumnavigated the globe last year. The familiar drumbeat and high energy of Jallosh  always gives the crowd something to cheer about. A combination of new and traditional music style was seen in the Hotstar float. They were really good.

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Raising Awareness

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Celebrating Indian Independence

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Traditional dancers

     This years theme of “the world is one family” was displayed by various groups all throughout the parade. India is a deeply spiritual country with many religions and spiritual groups displaying banners helping to raise consciousness. It was great to see Yogi Masters and Buddhist monks share a moment of solidarity. My favorite sign was Peace is the One True Religion. Amen to that. Saving the best for last was a group invited to perform traditional dances from Mumbai. The Chhatrapati Foundation brought a dancing group and a representation of Shivaji Maharaj, founder of Hindavi Swarajya, self-rule, a government of the people. Many of the principles used then helped form the foundation of US democracy. All in all, it was a great parade with lots of colorful costumes and passing on of tradition to the next generation.

 

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Welcome to India my Friends

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