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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Santacon 2011

This is a first for me. I had seen some pictures so I was curious. The online site stated that the location of the gathering would be secret until the night before. Santa and his helpers gathered at two sites one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn. They then descended upon South Street Seaport. It is definitely not a bar crawl, so they claim. Since it’s against the law to consume alcohol in public in NYC, everyone who didn’t buy beer on tap, had a brown bag or the equivalent. I saw a group on the subway, pouring liquor into their empty water bottles in order to camouflage their activity. They needn’t have bothered. This was a young adult gathering of thousands spread across the city and in communication by twitter.

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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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