Easter, New York Style

I have come to believe that in New York City people like to dress up. And an opportunity to strut is an irresistible calling. What I wonder is that folks seem to pay no mind that their outfits must look pretty outrageous as they travel about on mass transit getting to the venue. And the tourists, what do they make of a world seemingly gone mad. I remember one Halloween when a couple of tourists were cowering in their seats peering cautiously over the top of their map at all the outlandish costumed riders that clambered onto the subway car.

Astro-turf man

Easter festivities are on Fifth Avenue near St Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Made famous from movie and song, everyone’s mission is to wear a hat and parade your stuff. There is no form and the crowd is ‘come as you like.’ So from about 11AM until dusk anyone can wander up or down Fifth Avenue. Come early, most of the photographers are there and you can be assured of being photographed into internet immortality. The headdress varied from simple bunny ears to virtual gardens atop some of the more ambitious participants. There are no rules.

Some old standbys appear. It seems that several people make it a habit to be in every parade gathering. Same costume, same shtick, it’s familiar but beginning to get worn – different day same person.

At all parades - see Chinese New Year

No themes and no organizers so there is little in the way of coherence. Some folks were really decked out. One thing I noticed this year, there were a lot of period costumes from the turn of the century. And for some reason it is attractive as a great venue for gays to be able to parade in front of St Patrick’s. There were many transvestites. Be sure to watch closely as it’s hard to tell some of them. Others were too obvious. Because you are virtually ‘eyeball to eyeball,’ a wide angle lens and close cropping were needed to isolate people. This year’s crowd was larger than I remember, perhaps because of the good weather. It was great entertainment and rich with photo ops.

You can fool some people

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St Partrick’s Day 2012

Well, the big day was Saturday. Everyone’s Irish. The gays and lesbians, ILGO, still doesn’t get to march. Just about everyone else does. They come from all over the world to march and to watch. The folks standing behind me were non English speaking and had a great time. Young, old and everywhere in between. It goes on for hours and you might think that you have heard every possible melody that can be played on bagpipes. No floats! No balloons! It’s not a Macy’s extravaganza. Ford did pony up to be the lead sponsor vehicle. And the police came by with a black SUV and cameras rolling to gather footage of the spectators, just in case…. As always, watch the kids. It’s fun to see them. And then it all gets crazy in Times Square and around the bars. No drinking on the streets… arrested. Yeah, it was a pretty crazy day. And, everyone’s Irish for a day.

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2012 Chinese New Year

Every year there is a celebration and parade in New York City. The crowds line up more than an hour before the event. It’s crowded but orderly, much more so than the West Indian Day parade. But this does not mean that there isn’t a lot of jostling for position along the rail. You have to watch out for those little old ladies. The confetti is shot out of ‘poppers’ adding a colorful feel to the celebration. It is the year of the water dragon and particularly auspicious. Although it must be said that my Aunt Fu Ching always found something good in every birth year even my brother Eric’s, the year of the rat. Anyway dragons are all about in any year because they are symbolic and ward away the evil spirits. As you can see everyone was enormously pleased.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

This is the granddaddy of the New York City Parades. It has a live television feed that goes around the country. It’s completely scripted so that it starts and ends on TV time with commercial breaks included. Santa arrives at noon on the last float and symbolically marks the start of Christmas retail frenzy. We all know the hype.

Tourists, locals, and the curious from the suburbs crowd the parade route. There are special viewing stands and invited VIP’s. The crowd forms up early. I got there about 1 ½ hours early and was ten deep from the curb. It’s not bad for the balloon viewing. I did not want to make the effort to get close and arrive earlier. It would have entailed waiting in the cold for hours. That is not a bit of fun. As it was, the temperature at 8AM was reported at 37 degrees.

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Village Halloween Parade

What to say that I haven’t mentioned else where? Well, there was this male nun who wore lace women’s underwear…. really. The theme was ‘i’ of the beholder. So naturally, there were many riffs on eyeballs. Occupy Wall Street got to march. Ha, the police couldn’t prevent them. But, the group was held back to the end of the parade and long after televised coverage ended. Oh, and don’t forget the wedding. The one ‘bloody’ guy got there early and made quite a splash (drip) with the ladies. Next time, if there is one, I will consider marching the parade route. I think that I would see more of the different costumes. I don’t want to be stale… too much like dead.

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Halloween Body Art

In what seems a tradition, artist Andy Golub, sets up in the preparation area at the Village Halloween parade. His group includes photographers, art assistants, and his models. Some years there are men. but mostly the models are young women. Body painting as an art form takes imagination, skill, and time. Judging from the photographers and spectators this form of street art performance was a huge success as always. I ask, where else do you find a body painted model in the middle of 6th Avenue in Manhattan and hardly anyone takes notice? Please be warned that some of the material is mature.

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Halloween Wedding Bells

Soho, New York. Lately, I have been the unintentional witness to several weddings. My recent posts at Bear Mountain and Smorgasburg attest to the fact that it is a busy season to get married. This is certainly an unusual venue. It is a small triangle park below Spring St and along 6th Av in Manhattan. And, it’s Halloween where a large crowd is quickly filling the available space in preparation for the parade. The lucky couple led the parade in a horse drawn carriage. I would guess that there were about a million well wishers and it even had television coverage. I missed the televised portion because I was still in the staging area photographing the evening’s participants. Congratulations.

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West Indian Day

The West Indian Day parade turns Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn into one of the largest block parties anywhere. Aside from the people, there are vendors of all manner of food and goods and DJ’s. The music is loud enough that the police wear earplugs. Orange nets are used to scoop up people who jump out onto the parade route to party, dance, and enjoy. Energy and chaos is everywhere.

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