Look | Italian-American Pride At The Columbus Day Parade

For most, Columbus Day is just day off from work or school. But for Italian-Americans, it's the day where they get to strut their stuff.

In the mid-1800s, Columbus Day was established as a holiday, in part, to recognize the contributions of Italian-American, who at that time were a marginalized immigrant group. Since then, the annual New York parade has become the world's biggest celebration of Italian culture, with 35,000 people marching in the parade alone.

Police, firefighters, politicians, and Italian cultural groups from the tri-state area marched down Fifth Avenue on Monday to soundtrack of local marching bands, techno, and tarantellas. 

Parade-goers showed pride for both Italy and the United States along Fifth Avenue on Monday for the Columbus Day parade.
Parade-goers showed pride for both Italy and the United States along Fifth Avenue on Monday for the Columbus Day parade. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
A motorcade of police vehicles from around New York State led off the parade, as per tradition.
A motorcade of police vehicles from around New York State led off the parade, as per tradition. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
A member of the NYPD’s bagpipe corps, the first musical group to head down Fifth Avenue.
A member of the NYPD’s bagpipe corps, the first musical group to head down Fifth Avenue. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Insurance magnate and philanthropist Joseph Plumeri was the Grand Marshall of the parade this year.
Insurance magnate and philanthropist Joseph Plumeri was the Grand Marshall of the parade this year. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Luxury cars and Italian flags were two items that appeared in large quantities along Fifth Avenue on Monday
Luxury cars and Italian flags were two items that appeared in large quantities along Fifth Avenue on Monday ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
An exquisite mustache graces the face of a Columbus Citizens Foundation member.
An exquisite mustache graces the face of a Columbus Citizens Foundation member. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Every year during the parade, Archbishop Timothy Dolan greets Italian-American parade-goers outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Every year during the parade, Archbishop Timothy Dolan greets Italian-American parade-goers outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
A silver crucifix outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a reminder of the role the Catholic Church plays in for Italian New Yorkers.
A silver crucifix outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a reminder of the role the Catholic Church plays in for Italian New Yorkers.
A marcher in the parade responds to enthusiastic screams in the stands.
A marcher in the parade responds to enthusiastic screams in the stands. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
“Today is about celebrating Christopher Columbus, who was Italian,” said this ten year old, matter-of-factly.
“Today is about celebrating Christopher Columbus, who was Italian,” said this ten year old, matter-of-factly. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Children playing on the floats.
Children playing on the floats. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Sousaphones from the Stony Brook University marching band boomed down Fifth Avenue.
Sousaphones from the Stony Brook University marching band boomed down Fifth Avenue. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Dancers from an Italian-themed revue writhed to tarantellas.
Dancers from an Italian-themed revue writhed to tarantellas. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
Firefighter. Harley rider. Italian-American.
Firefighter. Harley rider. Italian-American. ( Marlon Bishop/WNYC )
of