Back in 2011 I made my way downtown to the spot where the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade turns on 34th Street. There you get a view of the balloons. These helium filled giants are the stars of the parade. And it was still very crowded as lots of other people had the same idea. I was jostled but held my ground and got some very nice shots. Yes this is a special New York style Thanksgiving.
I’m not a great one to embrace change. Then again things change around me constantly. Our primary residence was sold recently. I have no known address nor a hardline phone. Well it’s not that extreme…. Following up on yesterday’s post, I wrote about my Nikon D200 camera. It was new at the time of yesterday’s image. And now I have upgraded to the Nikon D610. Images are posted here. Drat! A week later Nikon announced the D750. Last time around Nikon announced the D300 about a week after I got the D200. I mean, come on!! They just released the D610 didn’t they?. And I got a spiffy fast lens in the FX 24-70mm zoom. The first events were the Indian Powwow in Southampton and the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. I wish I could say there was a standout image right away. But no, there were many images, too many to really say there is one quintessential image. Nowadays I use several cameras, all for different reasons. Point and shoot Canon G12 and S100 as well as iPhone images are mixed in. What I can say is that I shot eleven thousand images in the first month with the Nikon D610. New lens, new camera, I have been getting very nice shots and have certainly using the new equipment.
This image has Andrew Cuomo current governor of NY. At the time he was attorney general. And there is former governor Elliot Spitzer to the left. His political career is legend. His brother is a fellow neurosurgeon. And the blonde is Hilary, the one and only. Even politicians walk as group politically arranged. The then current Mayor Bloomberg walked in his own group elsewhere. This was the one Columbus Day parade I attended. What was striking was how this was staged. A crowd of people walked in the avenue to the left of the politicians here. They provided a background crowd. The cameras were to the right of the politicians. This meant that as they walked there was an enthusiastic crowd of placard waving supporters always present in their background. It makes me sorry to see how the media is manipulated to give false impressions.
Being based in the Middle East, the day almost got by me. When I traveled to the US recently, the Saudi movie censors put blurred spots on all the crosses in the cemetary scene in Sherlock Holmes. No other religious signs are permitted except traditional Muslim. So my last Easter Parade in NYC was back in 2012. To be honest it’s not a parade. They close off Fifth Avenue in front of St Patrick’s Cathedral and people mill around seeking attention. There are the traditional and the strange all mixed together. If you wear it, I will photograph it.
I studied the internet and got info on the venue and the parade route. I knew it would be crowded and rowdy. I arrived hours early by subway to scope out the venue and to pick a place to shoot. As I walked the empty parade route, I encountered these three young ladies. They immediately posed shyly and let me take a few images. I took many more shots that day, hundreds and hundreds. I managed to get into the middle of the parade route and walked along side the marchers getting intimately close. But after all that, this is one of the best images and memories of the day. Who knew it would be one of the first shots. … I could have gone home early…
It’s a big event in NYC. Everyone is Irish for a day, especially the politicians. I was at a Columbus Day parade a few years back and Hilary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo were marching with their own placard and flag-waving crowd in the background so the publicity shots would seem to show an enthusiastic and supportive crowd. It’s something the media ignores and makes me think that news is made up for TV. This year Mayor de Blasio will skip the parade because it discriminates against gays. I went for the color and the bagpipes. Politics and religion is for another discussion. No matter where you look, green is the color. I wasn’t wearing green and wasn’t marching for any cause except to see the spectacle.
I like the costumes and color. It’s a side of the culture you don’t see everyday. Most days everyone looks like part of the world. Same, western style clothes in drab color, but once a year it’s all about tradition and celebration. I missed this for so many years… missed it in that I ignored the opportunity to see the spectacle. It’s fun. The parade in Chinatown Manhattan is along narrow streets which makes for pretty intimate viewing. In Flushing Queens, there’s a lot more room to maneuver and you can get some behind the scenes shots. Either way, there’s a lot of color. The dragons are good luck.
This seems to be an annual rite. There is a body artist, Andy Galub. He paints his half naked models on the street right before the parade. And hordes of photographers are right there with him. It is quite a scene. Lately Andy has been trying for more attention by painting in the middle of Times Square. I have not been in NY To witness the event but it makes for interesting interaction with the public and the police. Anyway it’s all strange but true.
This year will be the first Village parade I have missed since leaving NY. Last year was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. There are a lot of participants and the avenue is lined 10 deep from Spring St to 23rd St. It’s a wild and crazy night. This couple got married right before the parade and like Cinderella rode a coach up the parade route.
It’s Lent. Mardi Gras has been done big in New Orleans for many years. What I did not know is that much of the material from the costumes and floats are stored and repurposed. So there are elaborate figures, animals, masks and such that are store in large warehouses until such time as they are used or retooled. Hey, I’m glad they recycle. And they also hold parties there. It’s quite something to walk around among all the colorful work.