Article, Photos: Len Rapoport
Columbus Day Parade Oct. 8, 2018 – 74th Year
The Columbus Day Parade is one of my favorites. October has been cold and wet over the years, luckily this year, it was a beautiful sunny day. This parade is billed as the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture. The parade marched up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street up to 72nd Street.
This year, parade organizers chose First Data Corporation president Guy Chiarello as grand marshal. Reports confirm that more than one million spectators showed up for the parade.
Now the Columbus Day Parade is one of the most popular NYC parades and this year it was estimated that thirty-five thousand marched in the parade and millions watched it on 5th Ave. between 44th and 72nd Streets of course millions watched the parade on television.
“I’ve been part of this city for 35 years. I’ve been an Italian-American, obviously, my whole life,” Chiarello told WCBS. “Celebrating this day, not only for Italian-Americans but for all Americans, is just an amazing opportunity.”
“The parade celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition to America and the important contributions of Italian-Americans and other immigrants that followed,” the official parade website stated.
Controversy Over The Parade
There has been much controversy over this parade in recent years.
“Native American groups argue that the Italian explorer’s arrival in the New World ushered in genocide against indigenous people’s as well as the transatlantic slave trade. Thus Columbus Day, much like Thanksgiving, highlights Western imperialism and the conquest of people of color.”
However, for now there will be no name change for this parade…however today who knows what will happen in the future.
There were floats, bands and over 100 groups participating all showing their Italian pride by waving Italian flags and wearing the Italian colors of red, white and green.
Along with high school bands, professional groups from the United States and Italy will join the procession, and traditional folk groups will perform centuries-old dances.
The parade began at 11:30 a.m. EDT. For those who were unable to make it to the festivities in person, there were multiple ways to catch it from the comfort of their homes.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
I decided to take up a spot in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral where I could shoot photos and videos of the parade and Cardinal Timothy Dolan as marches stopped to pay their respects to the Cardinal and other religious dignitaries to get their blessing.
There was so much to see and watch in the four hour parade that I know next year I will allocate more time for this wonderful parade. See some of the photos from this years parade.