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.
Well, I’ve been to the Village Halloween Parade in NYC for the past seven years. Not this year… I didn’t realize it had become a tradition for me. The first couple times I went as pure spectator without a clue as to what to do. Then one year I wandered into the staging area. The NYC police keep everyone out. But it’s hard to tell the participants from the organizers. It’s chaos and therein lies opportunity. By the good grace of the organizer, Jeanne Flemming, I have been granted a press pass in recent years. It finally made me legal to wander. One of the unique things that happens in the staging area is Andy Golub and his entourage who engage in body painting. He never fails to draw a crowd. Naked women tend to do that. His work goes by so quickly during the parade, that it’s hard to believe the fuss. It’s dark and I would guess that many of the parade audience never notice that the costumes are just paint. In the staging area, the entertainment is the prep work that goes into high gear hours before sunset. The latest: It turns out that 2012 Superstorm Sandy has caused the cancellation of this year’s parade. So it looks like i didn’t miss it after all. You can’t have a parade if no one can get there to march and there’s no one to watch.
There’s a lot to see during the Tall Ships parade up and down the Hudson River. This was back in 2000. After a while one large sailing vessel seems the same as the others. But here’s something different. That was special.
There’s a lot to see during the Tall Ships parade up and down the Hudson River. This was back in 2000. After a while one large sailing vessel seems the same as the others. But here’s something different. Not too many of the ships were positioning their crew on the yardarms. That was special.
The flagship of the Coast Guard sailing fleet is the Eagle. Maybe it’s their only sailing vessel. It’s a training ship. I like the clean graphical lines and the variety of its sails. It makes an appearance when the tall ship celebration converges in New York Harbor periodically. It’s one vessel I recognize instantly.
We’re stretching the concept of mermaid here. I guess in the spirit of things she has the idea and the looks to pull it off. There was really no dress code, just the theme of ‘Mermaid Parade.’ Really!
“Oh boy, oh boy, no one’s gonna believe this.” Get it on film. There’s a whole new culture nowadays of taking your own picture. I don’t know why folks didn’t do this before. My kids are experts at the technique. Here’s a group just plain having fun.
Ok, I have some gender issues here. They were dressed as mermaids and perhaps that’s where we leave the subject. I am reminded of the circus side show. It’s about the spectacle right. I still ask myself if I would ever dare go out looking like that. And remember mom always said, “Never go out without clean underwear on.” Well, somebody’s mother said it, right?
In spite of a cool spring, summer and the annual mermaid parade is not too far off. There is a certain order of things at parades in New York. Photographers show up early to catch their candid shots of the participants before the parade. The staging area is a frenzy. At the beginning there are many more photographers than participants. If you are canny, you show up early and make it into everyone’s photo collection. It also helps to have a good costume. This young mermaid was just tastefully covered enough to be noticed. Ok, she was fairly mobbed. I hope she was wearing sun tan lotion. Her fair complexion was about to be baked in the hot summer sun. Among the first to arrive she had everyone’s attention for a good long time.
On the subject of dragons, this is the year of the dragon. If you are born this year, it is auspiciously lucky. Then again, there is something nice to be said for every year in the Chinese zodiac. There is a fair amount of superstition associated with tradition. Some number sequences are unlucky. Red is a very good color. There are many other lucky things too numerous to mention. Dragons will help to cure whatever ails you. They give hope for a new beginning.
We were visiting Cusco, Peru. Purely by luck we happened upon a religious festival. I was in the thick of it. We were all wandering around separately and planned to meet in the early afternoon. So here I was on my own and face to face with a masked man. I have wondered but do not know the details of the costumes and the masks. There were many different groups dressed and marching. It wasn’t a parade. The groups converged upon the main square from different directions. It is quite an event. And, best of all, I had just wandered into it all. Unlike New York, I did not have to arrive hours early, jockey for position, or get chased from the route by police. How nice!
Yeah, it’s so. I wondered for a moment how that can be. Then again, I accept it and don’t really want to know how. He was part of group gathered on one of the cross streets to promote a show. It certainly looks interesting enough to make you wonder and ponder.
This headdress that I can scarcely call an Easter bonnet was larger than the woman herself. It had all manner of construction materials vaguely paying homage to the Easter theme. She had a large crowd around her as people gathered to photograph her from 360 degrees. Outrageous really works to draw attention. It got mine.
I guess I should know his name by now. He’s shown up at about every parade that I have attended. He was thrown off the parade route at the St Patrick’s parade. Some red headed very stern Irish parade official spoke to the cops and he was banished to the spectator side of the barriers. Otherwise he was in his element here at the Easter parade. Multiple outfit changes, his parrot, and even the little dog were with him. He had a crowd all around and reveled in the attention.
Here’s a new wrinkle. I have seen clowns dressed to sell balloon sculptures to kids. There were a group of South Americans all dressed up and face painted distinctly. There were spread apart over blocks but were thematically linked by their make up and appearance. Hmmm… an organized balloon making union.
Some people asked me about the rollerblade girl at the Chinese New Year parade. Yeah, I know she’s really a woman but I’m currently senior to everyone but my mother in law. She wasn’t protesting anything at the Chinese parade but here she’s part of the ‘Wall St’ protest. She attracted a crowd. No rolling, really walking in the skates as the crowd was too dense to roll anywhere. My preference is the close up. But some complained that you don’t see the ‘blades then. It’s an interesting idea and I’m adding her to my list of parade regulars at the parades.
Bunny ears and a parrot. It’s a great photo op. The ears make it Easter. There were plenty of people around to get a picture with the parrot. The bird was quite calm in the crowd. You see this sort of thing everywhere and in almost every country I have visited. The exploitation and animal rights part is the subject of another political discussion. I just took the photo op.
Ok, the only way to know was to listen to the language in their speech. Over the top by far, this pair was the most outrageous of the day for me. They parted the crowd as they walked 5th Avenue. People virtually surrounded them as they crowded round to have their picture taken with them. Why? In any case they were definite crowd pleasers.