Tag Archives: Videos

Greeks Turn 5th Avenue into a Sea of Blue and White

16 Apr
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Greek Marching Band Gets the Party Started

     The second leg of the dual parade day brought me to 5th Avenue to celebrate the 82nd annual Greek Independence Day Parade. Everywhere you looked on the parade route, from 64th to 79th streets, blue and white Greek flags were being displayed or waved. The parade coincides as close as possible to the actual date of Independence of March 25th. Hundreds of thousands of revelers turned out to celebrate this festive event which is televised locally on MY9 and internationally where millions in Greece can see the beautiful event. The crowd was really anxious to get things started and as usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade.

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Evzones Marching Up 5th Avenue

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Folkloric Costumes

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Proud Marcher

 

 

     Parade organizers, The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, led the way to the reviewing stand on 68th street where VIPs and dignitaries captured the amazing display of Greek pride and culture. Among the honored guests were His Eminence Archbishop  Demitrios of America, Mayor Bill deBlasio, US Senator Chuch Schumer and US Rep Carolyn Maloney. This year’s Grand Marshall, George M. Marcus, was honored for his contribution to the fabric of this country. The crowd got an special treat when the Mantazros Philharmonic Society from Corfu, Greece played a marching tune. They led the way for everyone’s favorite part of the parade when the Ezvones, the Presidential Guard,  marched in unison. It really is a special part of a Greek tradition in NYC that makes this parade one of the best.

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     The Greeks are a very religious people. All the Orthodox churches from the tri-state area and even Canada march in the parade with members displaying banners that commemorate the Greek Wars for Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Many floats display images of War Heroes or events that were pivotal in gaining their Independence. Several marchers wore traditional wardrobe that made you feel as though you were in the countryside on the hills of Greece.  This parade is truly a celebration of the unity of Greece and America. The best way to cap off the the double parade day was to head over to Uncle Nick’s on 9th Avenue for some delicious Greek cuisine.

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LONG LIVE GREECE!!!!

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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Rain Can’t Stop Colorful Celebration of Holi In Queens

31 Mar
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Happy Holi

     An overcast day threatened to make the 31st Holi Festival Parade in Richmond Hills, Queens a soggy event. Luckily the heavy rains held off and it was an occasional light shower that sprayed the revelers lined up on Liberty Ave. with a hint of Spring. The Holi festival is one of the oldest festivals still celebrated in India and passed on to the generations of the Hindu-Caribbean community. Richmond Hills is home to the largest concentration of Guyanese and Hindu Trinidadian population in the city. Pre-parade festivities began just before noon at a small stage set up where a dance was performed and a plaque was dedicated to a police detective from the local precinct that made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

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Getting Ready To Spread Some Color

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King and His Lion in Prayer

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Traditional Dancers Having Fun

 

     All the community mandirs as well as local businesses get together for this event and make it a colorful and peaceful event. The United Madrassi float really had a good representation of the event. This is one of the most important festivals in India and celebrates good over evil and celebrates love for one another. It is also a way of kicking away the winter blues and announcing the colors of spring soon to arrive. The parade keeps growing in popularity as there 21 floats this year, the most ever for this young parade. All the marchers and floats make their way to Smokey Park where a stage is set up to continue the day long festival.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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See You Next Year..Happy Holi

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!!!

 

Dragons Fire Up the Lunar New Year Parade In Chinatown

18 Feb
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Double Dragons Lead the Way

      The grand finale of the 15 day Lunar New Year celebration was well under way on Mott St. in the heart of Chinatown. A stage was set up on Hester and Mott Sts. to proclaim the importance of the holiday to VIPs, politicians, and dignitaries. US Senator Chuck Schumer , US Representative Nydia Velazquez and NY State Senator John Liu were among those present to help celebrate the occasion.  Parade founder, Steven Tin, of Better Chinatown, did a great job in keeping the pre-parade festivities going. The most anticipated part is when lettuce heads are dangled from long wooden poles and the dancing lions shred the leaves and toss them to the crowd for prosperity.  It was a great tradition to see well and alive in Chinatown.

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Dancing Lions Greeting the Crowd

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Staten Island Lions Leading the Way

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Dragon Leader Weaving His Way

     As usual the mounted police signals the start of the parade with the NYPD marching band shortly behind. For some reason there were more dragons than in previous years and the crowd just loved it. A perennial favorite, Staten Island Lions, brought their dancing lions and got the crowd worked up for a day of fun and tradition. The all-female drum band, Fogo Azul, really had a great time. One of the largest groups, World Journal, is known for their huge double dragons was making their way up the parade route.

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Tilted Dragon Going For A Spin

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Prosperity Is In Your Future

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Buddha Leading the Lion

     Local community groups with  colorful costumes and artistic work made their way up the parade route. Families with children from China and the DeSoto Public school had great costumes and kids enjoying the passing of tradition. It was a successful parade with big crowds and lots of dragons and dancing lions. Marchers ended the parade at Roosevelt Park where more events kept the festivities going. The parade celebrated its 20th year and keeps growing each year. Once the parade was over, I made my way to my to Wo Hop, my favorite restaurant on Mott St.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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Freezing Winds Can’t Stop the Lunar New Year Festival in Flushing

10 Feb
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Double Dragons from World Journal

     The most important of all Chinese festivals occurs over 15 days and coincides with the new moon between January 21 and February 20 each year. The Lunar New Year is celebrated by over 1 billion people worldwide including one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in New York, Flushing, Queens. Chinese astrology designates 2019 as the Year of the Pig. Even with the frigid weather and stiff wind, the parade route along Main St. was filled with revelers looking to rub the dragons head for good luck.

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Dancing Lions Getting Ready to Greet the Crowd

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Koreans in Traditional Attire

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Dancing Lions

 

     As usual the mounted police signals the start of the parade soon followed by the NYPD marching band. Parade dignitaries and VIPs made their way to the reviewing stand near the Queens Public Library on Main St. A diverse group from the Asian community including Koreans, Taiwanese, Malaysians made their way down the parade route.  The lead group this year were the Koreans with their traditional attire and marchers with cymbals and drums. One of the larger groups, World Journal, a Chinese media company, with their famous double dragons are always a fan favorite.

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Falun Dafa Marching Band

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Vessels of Love

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Dragon Bringing Good Luck

 

     The anchor of the parade, Falun Dafa, is always the largest group with marching bands and great costumes. Falun Dafa has been banned from China for it’s spiritual beliefs and willingness to seek the truth through reporting. A respected media group, Epoch Times, always has a large representation at the parade. Their aim is to report what China seeks to suppress. If I were writing about this event in China, it would have to be edited by the Central Government and may never be published. Our freedom should never be taken for granted.  Once the parade is over, a firecracker festival takes place near an upscale mall, Queens Crossing. One of the best things about neighborhood parades is all the excellent dining choices available. A short walk to Prince St. is must do whenever you are in the area. Happy New Year!!

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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Happy Year of the Pig!!!

Millions Brave Freezing Temps to Give Thanks at the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

24 Nov
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Let’s Get This Party Started

     Arctic temperatures couldn’t stop the millions of fans from lining up the parade route from 77th St. and Central Park West all the way down to 34th St. in front of the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the biggest parade in the city and always enjoyed by kids from 5 to 95. It was the coldest Thanksgiving in 100 years but that didn’t matter. Everyone was there to have a great time and be part of a New York tradition since 1924. With a large display of giant balloons, celebrities, and clowns, the grand spectacle is the premiere showcase that only Macy’s can pull off.

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Paw Patrol On Duty

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Dragon In Training

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James Madison University MB Bringing It

     The parade features some of the top tier marching bands in country. This year the prestigious lead band came from Ohio State University. The frigid temperature had them marching double time just to keep warm. It seems as though this year had more celebrities than in previous years. Headliners included Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and a whole host of other performers. The parade also boasts the largest collection of clowns assembled for one event…other than a clown convention.

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John Legend Waving to the Crowd

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Goku Ready to Defend

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What A Fun Celebration

     Some of the marching bands putting on a great show were the James Madison University Marching Band from Virginia. They were great and had a loud following from the crowd. Oregon sent some of their best in Grants Pass High School marching Band and Color Guard. The giant balloon of Charlie Brown made it’s way down the parade route soon followed by the Northstars from Syracuse NY.  There was a drum showdown between two excellent bands. It’s tough to decide which had the better drum section. Check out Riverside High School from California marching band and then the thunderous Homewood Patriot High School Marching Band from Alabama. They were both well instructed and on point for the parade.

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NYC Landmarks Got In on the Action

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Frosty as Frozen Olaf

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That Nasty Grinch Up To No Good

 

     A few new balloons made their grand entrance to the parade. Goku, from Dragonball Z fame floated in over 56 feet tall and 70 feet long. All kids were watching in amazement at the giant balloon. The Netflix film,  The Christmas Chronicles,  had characters Fleck, Jojo, Bjorn and Hugg airing it out in novelty balloons. They were fun. Hope to see them next year. Everyone’s favorite Mr. Grinch and Spongebob Squarepants always get the loudest applause. The tail end of the parade is dedicated to the Christmas season with lots of elves and Christmas themed floats gathering anticipation for the last float carrying Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus waving to the crowd. It’s always a special part of the parade to watch kids of all ages smiling and waving to Santa Claus.

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     This years NYC parade line up was amazing. Tens of millions of revelers attended this years parades in the greatest city ever created. In a city with such a diverse population, the fact that all these parades can go on without problems or protests shows just how strong a city we have. Thanks to the parade organizers and volunteers that dedicated their time to produce events that keep the star shining on top of this beaming metropolis. Thanks to the NYPD for keeping everyone safe and FDNY for responding quickly to any emergencies, and Sanitation for cleaning up. Thanks to all the marching bands for the endless rehearsals and making the parades festive. And thanks to you the reader that helps keep this blog going. Thank you. It’s been a blast.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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                   Have a great holiday season and a safe and Happy New Year!!

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