I always remark that one of the great gifts in New York is the fact that it is absolutely a melting pot, with an ever wider variety of ingredients. (Or as the Canadians like to say about Toronto—a quilt of different ethnicities stitched together.) The Big Apple ethnic groups represent all parts of our history—the Irish and German of yesteryear and new groups from Latin America or Asia. More recently we see immigrants from Russia and former communist countries. Related to the pride grasped tightly by these groups is a feature of our city that is, I suspect, more diverse and on a grander scale…. Along with the ethnic pride of all of these groups comes an array of colorful parades to be enjoyed by all.
There is a period from St. Patrick’s Day in March through Columbus Day in October when groups from man nations take a New York Avenue by storm (usually, but not always Fifth Avenue) and March proudly in local costumes and appropriate song and dance. In April we see the Greek and Scots who march in the Tartan parade. May sees the Puerto Ricans and in September the Steuben parade of German Americans, named for the Prussian General Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben, who fought in the Revolutionary War.
The events are tied to some special date for the particular ethnic group, and year after year, they draw immigrants to New York, as well as those from the Motherland (or in the case of the Germans, the Fatherland). For instance, Columbus Day and the parade fall in October, the month he discovered the New World. The Tartan week parade and celebrations mark the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath, which is said to have influenced the American Declaration of Independence.
I appreciate that these pageants provide a “teachable moment” for New York’s children. And smaller parades such as the Persian parade offer a time to reconsider the generally negative stereotypes held by many.
This series of shots does not hope to cover the various parades in NYC hosted by different immigrant groups, nor does it highlight other celebrations ranging from the Lunar (Chinese) New Year or the Gay Pride Parade. Nonetheless, I hope you will spend a moment looking at the beautiful pictures of annual parades in New York.