Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Swim
January 1, 1 pm
Coney Island, Stillwell Avenue & the Boardwalk

Since 1903, members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club (probably the oldest such swim club in America having celebrated its 100th anniversary on New Year’s Day 2003) have been rejuvenating themselves weekly in the winter waters of the Atlantic. Temperatures as low as 34 degrees cannot sway what one long-time fan calls this “unique group of hearty souls.” Join in their special New Year’s Day ceremony.

Following the raising of the American and Polar Bear Club flags and a few calisthenics on the beach, the swimmers enter the ocean and turn to face the sun. Take part in the regular swim every Sunday at 1:00 p.m. from November to May.

For more information: Coney Island Polar Bear Club: http://www.polarbearclub.org

last update: 9/2008

Three Kings’ Day Parade
Weekday near January 6th, 10:30 am to noon,
East Harlem, begins at El Museo del Barrio, Fifth Avenue at 104th Street

Since 1977 East Harlem has celebrated El Dia de los Reyes Magos with a Three Kings Day parade, a joyous procession through the streets of El Barrio dramatizing the three wise Kings’ biblical journey to the Christ child. Led by the three Kings in regal, bejeweled costumes, and accompanied by camels, sheep, or horses, tall puppets, and inspirational music makers, hundreds of children and adults march through the neighborhood and hundreds more line the streets to watch.

The parade is followed by a lively theater program at El Museo’s Teatro Hecksher, concluding with the tradition of gift giving by the Three Kings to the children attending the event. For weeks before the parade, children prepare floats, costumes and puppets, their enthusiasm fueled by anticipation of the Latino community’s major gift-giving holiday. All are invited to join the free celebration. Advance registration is REQUIRED for group participation in the parade and theater program.

For more information: El Museo del Barrio: 212-831-7272, http://www.elmuseo.org/edu_3kings.html

last update: 9/2008

Winter Pageant
Last weekend in January
Tompkins Square Park

Halfway between the solstice and the equinox, urban gardeners of the Lower East Side and their neighbors “carry the light of nature into spring” to celebrate gardens, community, city, and earth. The winter pageant features an illuminated procession of spectacular costumed winter spirits and giant puppets representing “Father Winter,” “Ice Spirit,” and “Earth Spirit,” dancing snowflakes in glittering gowns, and hundreds of glowing lanterns. The spectacular winter ceremony features: fire dancers, a garden-scape of shadow, light, and multi-media projections, singers, and an illuminated winter angel that flies from a six-story building into the garden. Hot cider and apples are usually served. The happy procession wraps around Tompkins Square Park and culminates at 638 East 6th Street (between Aves. B & C). The performance takes place at the Plaza Cultural Garden on 9th St. & Ave. C—SW corner.


last update: 9/2008

Idul Fitr
Late January, 8:30 a.m. until dusk
Prospect Park, if weather permits, otherwise held in mosques citywide

This “feast of the breaking of the fast,” ends the Islamic month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast during daylight hours. The first day of the Eid begins early with congregational prayers and a sermon. When held in Prospect Park, the sight of thousands of Muslims gathered to pray in unison—many in traditional dress and turbans—is moving in its scale and solemnity. The rest of the day is spent feasting and sharing gifts.

For more information: Al-Taqwa Mosque 718-622-0800

last update: 5/2004


Chinese New Year Celebration
Late January, early February.
Chinatown, Mott Street at Canal Street

For nearly 36 straight hours, thousands of Chinese-Americans and other revelers celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in the streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Parades on the first evening and the following day showcase elaborately costumed dances by lions and dragons, egged on by merchants along Mott Street who offer them red envelopes to encourage long and loud dances in front of their stores. These traditional Chinese good luck symbols scare the demons away. Unfortunately, the accompanying firecrackers that helped ward off evil during the actual parade have been banned by the city, although specific, contained detonations may occur and will be advertised in advance. Stores close down for a few days, opening again for a final parade in which Chinese officials welcome the new year and its promise of good fortune.

The Manhattan Chinatown parade route is as follows: Mulberry Street (at Columbus Park), Canal St., Mott St., Chatham Sq., East Broadway, Market St., Division St., Bowery, Canal St., ending at Mulberry St.(at Columbus Park).

Chinese Lunar New Year Flower Market
First week in February
Columbus Park, Mulberry St in Chinatown

Sponsored by the Museum of Chinese in America, this three-day event features florists and traditional artists. The annual fair highlights the historical importance of flowers in traditional decoration for the Lunar New Year. Mulberry Street becomes alive every year with activity and attracts thousands of visitors each February.

Lunar New Year Festival
Flushing, Queens

The Lunar New Year celebration in Flushing, Queens spans the whole month of February, showcasing the performing and visual arts of Asian culture. A dance performance representing Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia kicks off the festival and is followed by many more events including musical performances, tea ceremonies and visual art shows.

last update: 9/2008


Phagwah Procession and Festival
Queens, March, noon-5pm, Liberty Avenue,
134th Street to Smokey Park, Richmond Hill

This lunar festival was brought to New York form northern India by way of the Caribbean, becoming a celebration of all three places and one of the most important for Indo-Guyanese immigrants. In India, Phagwah is a time of thanksgiving for wheat and rice crops, which were offered as sacraments to the gods on “holka,” the special fires of Phagwah. It also signals the beginning of spring and marks the victory of good over evil.

The Caribbean-Hindu enclave in Brooklyn and southern Queens, especially Richmond Hill, Jamaica and South Ozone Park, is one of the largest such communities in the country. It includes Indians who migrated over generations to the West Indies, mostly Guyana, and then to the U.S.

During the festival, the participants dress in whites, dousing one another with talcum powder and dyes in scarlet, yellows and blues. Some dip wet hands into small plastic bags of colorful power dye and swath colorful pastes onto each other’s faces. Over 50,000 people took part in the 2003 colorful parade, watching floats, participating in cultural variety shows, singing kirtans (devotional songs), dancing and acting in classical dances and dance dramas, and splashing colors at each other.

The procession begins on Liberty Avenue, passes through residential neighborhoods painted in Caribbean pastels with ornamental elephants moving on to Smokey Oval Park.

last update: 9/2003

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 17
Fifth Avenue, from 44th to 86th Streets

More than one million spectators line Fifth Avenue for one of the oldest and largest parades in the world. Following a green stripe painted the length of the parade route, the 160,000 marchers, including high school marching and bag pipe bands, are surrounded by Irish flags and a sea of green clothing, shamrocks, and “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” signs. The 32 counties of Ireland are represented, as are all the Emerald Societies of New York City agencies and Irish organizations from all over New York (with the exception of gay and lesbian Irish groups who lost a legal battle to march openly in the parade). This event is the “glue of the Irish community,” says one member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which has organized the parade since 1838. The first official parade in New York was marched in 1766 by Irishmen in a military unit recruited to serve in the American colonies.

For more information:

last update: 9/2003

Greek Independence Day Parade
Closest Sunday to March 25, 1:30 p.m.
Fifth Avenue, from 59th to 79th Streets

After 400 years of rule by the Ottoman Empire, Greece declared its independence on March 25, 1821. This parade brings together more than 200 Greek American civic, religious and political organizations, representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church and American and Greek government officials. The dual celebration of March 25 is integrally connected with the Christian Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Virgin Mary “to announce” that she was chosen to be the Mother of God. The day officially begins at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity at 319 East 74th St. with a Divine Liturgy and Doxology celebrated the archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, and attended by Parade officials Grand Marshals, government officials and members of the Greek Presidential Guard, the EVZONES.

The New York celebration focuses on the ideals of democracy and freedom shared by both countries. Participants include representatives of many federations, schools and Greek Orthodox communities with floats celebrating independence, and colorful traditional costumes representing the cultural identities of the cities, islands, and towns of Greece.

For more information: Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, (718)-204-6500 Fax (718)204-8986

last update: 9/2003


Good Friday Processions

Bronx, Queens
“Walking” the Stations of the Cross ritual on Good Friday has become customary for many Roman Catholic churches in Latino and Hispanic communities throughout the city. Following are brief descriptions of a number of these neighborhood processions, representing Christ’s journey to the crucifixion. All begin at the church and are followed by a service of the traditional Good Friday liturgy.

St. Joseph’s Church
Noon-3 pm
1949 Bathgate Avenue (bet. 178 and E. Tremont Ave.)

Nearly 3,000 people join this theatrical procession, which ends by re-enacting the crucifixion on a “mountain” near Crotona Park. Since 1970, St. Joseph’s has performed the Stations of the Cross ritual in the streets of the South Bronx. Forty people in costume dramatize the ritual in Spanish, with full performances of the Catholic Biblical characters at each Station.

For more information contact: St. Joseph’s Church, 718-731-2504

St. Teresa Church
10 am – noon, and 7:30 pm – 9:30
109B26 130th Street

In this South Ozone Park neighborhood, the Good Friday procession and ritual is performed in English in the morning and Spanish, and French/Creole in the evening. At each stop, members of the parish give personal testimony related to the theme of the Station. Traditional hymns and prayers are offered in one or all of the languages, and the cross and other items associated with the crucifixion are carried. Along the way, neighbors step outside to pray while the procession passes.

For more information: St. Teresa Church, 718-529-358
last checked: 5/2004

Easter Parade
Easter Sunday, noon
Fifth Avenue, from Rockefeller Center to Central Park

The Easter Parade is a classic Fifth Avenue event. It evolved during the late 19th century when wealthy New Yorkers would stroll along “Millionaire’s Row” following Easter church services. Milliners and dressmakers from around the country would sketch the outfits, which would then be quickly copied for sale in department stores. Extravagant hats became the parade’s focus at the turn of the century, inspiring Irving Berlin’s famous song. Today the parade is a popular scene of elegant dress mixed with fanciful spring costumes and imaginative “Easter bonnets.” Perhaps its best feature is its democratic nature—spectators are welcome to join the informal procession.

For more information: http://www.ny.com/holiday/easter

last update: 9/2003

Sakura Matsuri, “Cherry Blossom Festival”
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Last weekend in April or first weekend in May
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue

Celebrate the arrival of spring and our exuberant cherry blossom display with the annual all-weekend Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Matsuri. The event is one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in the Northeast with recent attendance between 40,000 and 54,000 visitors! It features Taiko drumming, traditional Japanese musical and dance performances, samurai sword fighting presentations, ikebana flower arranging demonstrations, tea ceremonies, haiku readings, children’s workshops, Japanese cooking demonstrations, calligraphy demonstrations, as well as tours of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill—and Pond Garden and world renowned bonsai collection.

For more information: www.bbg.org, 718-623-7333 (events hotline), 718-623-7200 (general information)

last update: 9/2003


Buddha’s Birthday Parade
Early-mid May (Held on Buddha’s birthday in accordance to the lunar calendar), 5 pm
Union Square Park

A ceremony of Buddhist chanting and singing precedes the parade with a “dharma talk,” the Buddhist equivalent of a sermon. The parade, which has lost some of its international flavor in the past two years, attracts mainly Korean monks and believers, though the organizers try to appeal to a more diverse body of participants. In Korea, Buddha’s birthday is a national holiday. Traditional Korean dancing and singing are performed at the event.

Please confirm parade with the Korean Buddhist Association in New York: 718-463-1057

last update: 6/2004

Cuban Day Parade
1st Sunday in May, noon
Sixth Avenue, from 44th Street to Central Park

Now a mainstay of Cuban-American cultural expression in New York, this parade features 3,000 members of community organizations marching to the beat of Cuban music, with high school marching bands and corporate floats interspersed among the Cuban groups. Nearly half a million people attend this event. In the words of one organizer, the parade is in part “a way of thanking this country for opening its arms to the Cubans,”—a sentiment that is echoed in the selection of a Cuban who has succeeded in America to serve as Grand Marshall.

For more information: Nick Lugo Travel, 212-348-8270.

last update: 9/2003

Ukrainian Easter Festival
St. Georges Church
30 E. 7th St.
Full weekend usually the third weekend in May.
6:00pm – 10:00pm Friday evening, 12:00pm-10:pm Saturday, 12:00pm – 6:00pm Sunday.
Seventh Street, between Second and Third Avenues

New York is home to the largest Ukrainian community outside the Ukraine, and since 1977 this festival has showcased its heritage. The parish of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church, its school, and Ukrainian organizations and businesses all take part, providing traditional foods (favorites like potato dumplings and stuffed cabbage), crafts, and performances. A giant wooden Easter egg, the ancient symbol of life, adorns the stage where Ukrainian orchestras, operatic choruses, and professional dance troupes perform folk dances such as the Hopak. Children in folk costumes perform the “hahilky” Easter dance on Easter, during which they walk across a bridge formed by the outstretched arms of the adults.

For more information: 212-674-1615,

last update: 9/2003

Norwegian American 17th of May Parade
Sunday closest to May 17th, 1 p.m.
Bay Ridge, Fifth Avenue, from 95th to 67th Streets

Each year Brooklyn’s large Norwegian-American community celebrates its heritage and an independent Norway. Civic groups, sporting clubs, fraternal organizations, and churches provide floats, bands, and marchers. Participants in regional traditional dress are joined by Lief Erikson in full Viking dress, and together they make their way to Lief Erikson Park for more festivities. Surrounded by Norwegian flags, thousands gather to greet and speak in their native tongue and enjoy a program of Norwegian bands and singers. The conclusion is the annual crowning of Miss Norway.

For more information: Evald Olson, publicity chair: 718-745-6653

last update: 9/2003

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
Weekend after Mother’s Day or third Sunday in May, 11 am – 7 pm daily
Ninth Avenue, from 37th – 57th Streets

More than 1 million people visit this two-day festival each year in this midtown section of Ninth Avenue, which is renowned for its eclectic mix of ethnic groceries, markets, and restaurants. For more than 25 years it has celebrated its unique character with a festival of international foods. Local merchants bring their wares to the street where they are joined by vendors from around the city, and visitors can find “any kind of food you can think of.”

For more information: Ninth Avenue Association, 212/581-7029

last update: 9/2003

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade
Third Sunday in May, 1:00-3:00, Fifth Avenue from 44th to 69th Streets

Organizations from throughout the city pay homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. with all the elements of the quintessential American parade. Marching and military bands, costumed riders of thematic floats, police and fire organizations, politicians, Boy and Girl Scouts, and veterans from World War I to the Persian Gulf War all parade down America’s preeminent parade route. A mix of ethnic groups complements the largely African-American contingents, for a strong show of unity around one of the country’s greatest heroes.

For more information:  369th Armory, 212-281-3308

last update: 9/2003

Ethnic Festival of El Barrio
Third Saturday in May, 10:00am – 7:00pm
El Sitio Fleiz Community Garden, 104th Street Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues, East Harlem

In a celebration of the cultural diversity of East Harlem, this event features local and international artists representing the cultural roots of the neighborhood. Musicians from Latin America, Spain, and Mexico share the stage with local groups who play jazz, blues, salsa, and mariachi music. Both traditional crafts and contemporary arts are on exhibit, and children’s activities are offered throughout the day. Community residents of all ages gather in the garden and the streets to celebrate the rich array of cultures present in their East Harlem neighborhood.

For more information: Union Settlement Association, 212-828-6000.

last update: 9/2003

BayFest/Blessing of the Fleet
First Sunday after Mother’s Day, noon – 6:00 pm
Sheepshead Bay, Emmons Avenue & East 27th Street

Begun in 1992 with an attendance of 50 people, this free, non-profit-sponsored event, which prohibits vendors, has since blossomed to an attendance of nearly 100,000. Located on the waterfront and adjacent to the 10 fishing piers and main streets, this event captures the sights and sounds of a vibrant working fishing village. Entertainment includes top musical acts from live traditional sea chantey singing and pop music to commercial hard hat diving and sailing demonstrations, workshops by the New York Aquarium and Brooklyn Children’s Museum, clown acts, face painting, magic and giveaways, arts and crafts and a spectacular NYC fireboat display. The day ends with a procession a blessing of a fleet of boats with free boat rides.

For more information: Bay Improvement Group, http://members.aol.com/bayimpgrp, 718-646-9206, 212-750-5560

last update: 9/2003

Turkish-American Day Parade
Third Saturday in May, 12:30pm
Madison Avenue, from 56th to 47th Streets

Featuring a replica of one of the world’s earliest military bands—the Ottoman Empire’s Gannisery Army Band—this parade elaborately promotes Turkish customs and contemporary concerns. Colorful floats, costumes, and banners display regional folkarts, while leaflets and opening-ceremony speeches speak to social issues. The red & white Turkish flag abounds, but all the colors of nature can be seen in this parade, likened to a vibrant kilim.

Begun in the 1970s as a protest against international terrorism, this event has become the social and cultural gathering for Turkish-Americans in the New York area. It ends with a rally and outdoor performances by Turkish artists at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, culminating a full week of conferences, concerts, and cultural programming for the Turkish-American community.

For more information: Federation of Turkish-American Associations, 212/682-7688.

last update: 5/2004

Salute to Israel Parade
Sunday near the end of May or early June, 11:00am-5:00pm
Fifth Avenue, from 57th to 79th Streets

This single largest gathering in the world to celebrate Israel independence draws over one million spectators. From its origination in 1964, the Parade has been a public affirmation of solidarity with and support of Israel, as well as an expression of unity within the American Jewish community, transcending religious and political affiliations. The Parade features 75,000 costumed marchers representing public and private schools, groups from Jewish organizations and community centers, high school marching bands and professionally designed floats sponsored by private companies and Jewish organizations. Each year, a specific theme is selected and developed into a series of Israel-related topics. With colorful banners, costumes, and props, 75,000 marchers from schools, synagogues, organizations, and community centers come together in a spectacular showing of unity and pageantry.

For more information:
Salute to Israel Day Parade, www.salutetoisrael.com

last update: 9/2003

Rites of Spring: Procession to Save Our Gardens
Approximately the third weekend in May 10am- 6pm
Lower East Side, begins at Forsyth between Broome and Delancey

This celebration of the urban gardens and history of the Lower East Side weaves a mythic play into 35 visits to community gardens. At each stop, a ritual exchange between the Earth goddess Gaia and the gardeners takes place: to the music of conch shells blowing, flowers are presented to the goddess, and the garden is marked on a ceremonial map in protest of the exclusion of the gardens on official city maps. The history of the struggle of urban gardeners is artfully presented, and tribal drums, New Orleans jazz, Samba, and Dominican bands play.

For more information:
http://users.rcn.com/earthcel/spring.html, earthcel@interport.net, 212-777-7969

last update: 9/2003

Czech & Slovak Festival
Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, noon-6 p.m.
Astoria, Bohemian Hall & Park, 29-19 24th Avenue

The “old country” is celebrated here in a setting of old-world charm. Bohemian Hall houses one of the last authentic biergartens in the city, and has been a social and cultural center since its establishment in 1910. Around 800 people gather in the whitewashed courtyard to eat roast pork, duckling, goulash and dumplings, drink pilsner beer, and dance waltzes and polkas among the flags, banners, and copious trees. A 25-piece brass band plays dance music throughout the day, and there is usually a traditional gymnastics performance by the D.A. Sokol, which resides in the Hall. Additionally, musicians and dance troupes portray traditional and regional folklore. A nominal admission fee is charged.

For more information: Bohemian Hall, www.Bohemianhall.com, 718-274-4925.

last update: 9/2003

The Feast of Corpus Christi
Sunday at end of May or early June (pending Catholic religious calendar)
Our Lady of Angels Church
2860 Webb Avenue, Bronx

For Catholics, this day represents the transformation of bread into the body of Christ reminding Catholics that although risen from the dead, that Christ is still with them. Traditionally on this day a procession of the consecrated priest’s host carried aloft, visible through the glass bull’s eye of a monstrance. Four acolytes carried a canopy over the priest in the procession, and before him little girls in white dresses walked backward facing him, strewing rose petals on the ground for the priest to walk on. This practice and festival continues today in a simpler form in many catholic churches. Anyone can participate in or observe the one at Our Lady of Angels Church in which the procession meanders through the neighborhood, blessing those around as the “body of Christ” is held up in reverence.

For more information contact: Our Lady of Angels Church, 718-548-3005

last update: 9/2003


National Heritage Folkloric Festival
Bohemian Hall
Queens 29-19 24 Ave Astoria, Queens
Second Sunday in June from 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Astoria, 27B09 Crescent Street
This festival showcases the folklore of Cyprus and Greece through unique and exciting performances of traditional dance and song in the Bohemian Hall. The event’s social context is Turkey’s conquest of Cyprus and the subsequent exile of many Cypriots.

For more information: Cypriot Emigrants Cultural Organization of America, 718-626-7896,

last update: 9/2003

National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Second Sunday in June
Fifth Avenue, from 44th to 86th Streets 10:00am- 4:00pm

In a grand show of solidarity within New York’s Puerto Rican community, this parade is one of the city’s best loved and one of the world’s largest. The red, white, and blue flags seem to blanket the city, and the revelry can be felt far beyond Fifth Avenue. The spectacle features marching bands and drill teams, dance groups, and costumes in a lavish celebration of the homeland. Floats depicting images of Puerto Rican towns are followed by town residents, with the local beauty queen riding atop. Celebrity guests, local politicians and dignitaries are joined by Puerto Rican delegates and mayors from several of the Island’s cities.

For more information: National Puerto Rican Day Parade, http://www.boricua.com/prparade2003, 718-401-0404.

last update: 9/2003

Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage
Second Saturday in June, noon-7 pm
Coney Island Boardwalk and Beach at 16th St.

In a moving ceremony of collective memory, thousands of African-Americans gather oceanside to pay homage to those who died during the infamous slave-ship voyages known as the Middle Passage. At exactly noon, simultaneously with other Tributes to the Ancestors being held elsewhere in the globe, there will be the pouring of the libation and a special drumming tribute by numerous drummers and musicians along with tributes of poetry, dance, and dramatization of the slaves’ capture. A formal procession to the ocean is followed by a sundown Ancestral Offering as the Ancestral Drummers lead us to the water’s edge where we each place flowers into the Atlantic Ocean, the largest African burial ground in the world.

Messages from Christian and Muslim leaders honor the ancestors and call for pledges of unity and safety in African-American communities. As one of the first desegregated public beaches, Coney Island’s stretch of the Atlantic is an especially symbolic place to “mark the bones” of those Africans lost to the sea. Participants are invited to bring flowers for the Ancestral Offering and a drum, shekere, or other musical instrument to give praise.

For more information: Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage, http://www.globaltravelpress.com/grenada-citizenship/, Akeem, akeem827@yahoo.com, 718-270-4902, Habte Selassie, hselassie@escape.com

last update: 9/2003


Mermaid Parade
Closest Saturday to the First Day of Spring, 2 pm
Coney Island, Surf Avenue

Begun in 1982 by artists celebrating Coney Island and ocean mythology, this parade has become a fabled event in the roster of New York City festivals. Fanciful, often outrageous costumes of mermaids and other creatures of the sea fill the streets on foot and on floats, while marching bands and antique cars provide a conventional side to this celebration of the summer solstice. King Neptune and Queen Mermaid preside in Brooklyn’s own version of Mardi Gras with good, clean debauchery!

For more information: http://www.coneyislandusa.com/mermaid.shtml, Coney Island USA, 718/372B5159.

last update: 9/2003

San Juan Bautista Fiesta
Sunday closest to June 24, 10 am-6 pm
Battery Park

The great outdoor mass that defines this festival evolves from the first ethnic mass given by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Since 1952, San Juan Bautista, the patron saint of Puerto Rico has been celebrated on a large scale, as a demonstration of new immigrants’ struggle to retain the religious traditions of their homeland. Today the festival is a mix of sacred and secular traditions. Battery Park becomes Puerto Rico for a day; food and music abound; children run and play, and everyone dances. At one o’clock the formal procession of the statue of the Saint begins followed by a mass given in Spanish to an eager crowd. Afterward, a giant piñata is ceremoniously broken by and the festivities continue until nightfall.

For more information: Office for Hispanic Affairs of the Archdiocese of New York, 212-371-1000 x2982.

last update: 9/2003

Caribbean Cultural Heritage Festival
Fourth Sunday of June, 12 am-6 pm
Prospect Park, Lincoln Road entrance, Nether Mead

Ethnic cuisine is a priority at this celebration of the shared heritage of French, English, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. Roti, curries, oxtail, pelau, jerk dishes, pillouri, black cake, sugar cane and Caribbean-style Chinese food are just a few of the dishes available in and around stages of continuous live music. Outdoor workshops on Caribbean culture are held early in the day, and entertainment prevails in the afternoon and evening, when the music, dance, and camaraderie of thousands of Caribbean-Americans turn the area into “the islands.”

For more information: VIDCAT, 718-338-9120, vitcat1350@netzero.net

last update: 9/2003

New York City Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride March
Last Sunday in June, noon-early evening
52nd St. and Fifth Ave. to Greenwich Village

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers, their friends, families, and supporters, march in a moving show of unity that is at times wild and raucous, at others somber and serious. Organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, People with Aids Coalition, and the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, among others, march among glittering floats to the beat of fabulous music. The celebratory march ends at Christopher Street with a festival and dance at the Hudson River Waterfront. Other events occur during Pride week as listed on the website.

For more information: www.nycpride.org, Heritage Pride, Inc. 212-807-7433

last update: 9/2003


International African Arts Festival
(formerly the African Street Festival)
First weekend in July, Friday – Sunday, 10:00am-7:00pm
Fulton Street from Malcolm X Boulevard to Marcus Garvey Boulevard

What began in 1971 as a small block party has evolved into a diverse celebration of all the cultures that encompass or have influenced Africa. This enormous, popular fair is laid out to represent the countries of Africa, both to help organize the 400 vendor booths, and to ensure the continuity that gives this event an atmosphere of reunion for the 30,000 daily visitors. Crafts, clothing, wearable art, hoe furnishings, books, musical instruments and toys abound. African, African-American, and Caribbean foods are sold throughout the grounds. Multiple stages offer continuous live musical entertainment such as African, reggae, calypso, soca, Latin, jazz, gospel, hip hop and R&B as well as special children’s programming. The multi-day event mixes entertainment with cultural workshops and tributes to revered African-Americans.

For more information: http://www.iaafestival.com, 718-638-6700.

last update: 9/2003

Feast of the Giglio
Two Sundays in July (July 11, 18 with feast on the 7th and evening dance on the 14th), 1st Sunday, 1 pm; 2nd Sunday, 2 pm
Williamsburg, North 8th and Havemeyer Streets

The spectacle of the giglio is unlike any other parade in the city. The Brooklyn version of a centuries-old Italian festival from the town of Nola dates to the settlement of the neighborhood by Nolani in the early part of this century. The story goes that in the 5th Century B.C., St. Paulinus was welcomed back from years of slavery by citizens waving lilies. Over time, the lilies were symbolically replaced by wood and papier-mache towers, or gigli, which are “danced” through the streets on the backs of 100 men.

The Brooklyn giglio is 6 stories high and weighs more than 2 tons. It is topped with a statue of St. Paulinus, and at its base rides a full brass band, providing accompaniment to the “dances” of the carriers. The ritual of these performances is deeply rooted in the social and religious structure of this Italian community. Its place in their hearts is clear on these emotional and exuberant Sundays. The first Sunday is more commonly known as Giglio Sunday. The day begins at 9am with the Capo’s Parade. Here, a procession lead by the head clergy men of the parish, marching through the neighborhood picking up various dignitaries including the Turk, the apprentice Capo’s, the feast General Chairman and lastly—the number one Capo. From here the procession returns back to the church for the ‘Standing Room Only’ Giglio mass at 11am.

For more information:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 718/384-0223


last update: 9/2003

Bastille Day
Sponsored by Florent Restaurant as a benefit for Housing Works, July 14t, Bastille Day, noon – 11:00pm
Gansevoort Street between Washington & Greenwich Streets

As Bastille Day is celebrated in Paris, this day-long block party fills the street with accordion players, can-can dancers and jugglers. Family-oriented programming during the day is followed by more risqué entertainment in the evening.

For more information: Florent Restaurant, 212-989-5779

last update: 9/2003

O-Bon Festival
Mid-July 1-5 pm
Bryant Park, 41st Street and Sixth Ave

This summer Buddhist celebration commemorates the spirits of ancestors with songs and dances from the regions of Japan. The O-Bon refers to a dance of joy and a legendary Buddhist teaching from the 6th Century B.C. in which a disciple of Buddha was able to relieve his mother’s plight in the afterworld by acts of atonement for her earthly greed. In thanks for her salvation, he danced. Following a week of memorial rituals at Buddhist temples, the Festival attracts crowds to watch traditional dance and drum performances and invited anyone in the audience to join in the celebratory Bon Odori circle dances. The fun begins at 1pm, but volunteers can meet at the temple at 10am to help load materials for transport to Bryant Park or meet at the park.

For more information: http://www.interfaithcenter.org
New York Buddhist Church of Riverside Drive, 212-678-0305.

last update: 9/2003

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
July 16, 10 am, street fair from 4-11 pm week prior to feast day
East Harlem, 114th St. to 116th St. on Pleasant Ave.

In what the New York Times termed “street religion New York style,” this festival and procession fills the streets of East Harlem with 2,000 people, in a neighborhood tradition that dates to 19th-century Italian immigrants. In what is now El Barrio, Hispanic people and French Creole Haitians dominate the procession, creating a multi-language public veneration of the Virgin Mary. A candlelight procession and midnight mass the night before the Feast Day end a novena at the church.

On July 16th, the large procession of prayer and offering to the Saint takes the 7-foot statue into the streets on a float filled with flowers and children. It is pulled through the neighborhood by men from the parish wearing white tuxedos and is “serenaded” by fireworks along the way. Stops are made at two neighborhood churches, which open their doors and ring their bells in honor of the event.

For more information: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 212-534-0681. To join Our Lady of Mt. Carmel festivities in the Bronx, contact Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 718-295-3770

last update: 9/2003

Colombian Independence Day
Sunday July 11 (2004), 10am-6pm
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, World’s Fair site

New York’s Colombian-Americans, the majority of whom live in Queens, unite to remember their country and celebrate its culture through merengue music by Colombian bands, displays of Colombian crafts, and a great assortment of native foods. Arepas, chuzos, agua panela, and cazava, among other dishes, are for sale, as well as being shared in family picnics throughout the grounds. This event dates from 1974 and attracts several hundred thousand people.

For more information: 718-699-4833.

last update: 5/2004

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Mid-Summer Pow-wow
Last weekend in July (July 27 & 28, 1996), Saturday 2-5pm, 7-10 pm; Sunday 1-4 pm
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway

A powwow is a social gathering of native Americans usually including competitive dancing. People from over forty Indian Nations bring to the museum’s orchard such dances as Gourd Dances, Women’s Jingle Dress Contest, Men’s Grass Dance Contest, and the intricate Fancy Dance. At the Saturday evening show, a large bonfire burns in the middle of the circle, and the day’s performances are repeated. For onlookers, an MC gives the history of each dance, its tribal connections and costume, and the dancers often mingle in the crowd, answering questions about their dance and tribe. Throughout the weekend, vendors sell Native American food and crafts.

For more information: Queens County Farm Museum, 718-347-FARM.

last update: 5/2004


Ecuadorian Parade and Festival
Early-mid August, daylong
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

TThe festival mix American and Ecuadorian traditions. Hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorian-Americans attend the events, where folkloric dance and regional foods illustrate the richly diverse traditions of the mountain, coastal, and Amazonian areas of Ecuador. Salsa, Charango, and Cumbia music is heard throughout.

For more information: Comite Civico Ecuadoriano, 718-457-0808.

last update: 5/2004

Dominican Day Parade
August (August 8, 2004), 1 pm
Madison Avenue, from 37th to 54th Streets

The colors red, blue, and white on flags, seals, clothing, and other symbols of Dominican cultural identity literally dance up the Avenue to the beat of the Dominican national music, merengue. Many Dominican politicians, including a “Father of the Parade,” are on hand to celebrate over 140 years of Dominican independence from Spain.

For more information: 212-768-2480.

last update: 5/2004

Ferrogosto di Belmont
Arthur Ave and East 187th Street
Mid-late August

Ferragosto, of the “Feast that Begins in August” has its roots in Roman harvest festivals. Peasants that earned the lands of Roman patricians would celebrate the end of the summer harvest by honoring the Gods of agriculture. They formally visited the house of their patron, who gave them presents, often money. This is one of the earliest examples of “tipping” or “la mance.” Today, Ferragosto is usually held in mid to late August. It is believed that since the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother begins the summer crowning season (May 15) that August 15 was designated by the Catholic church as the start of Ferragosto in her honor.

Ferragosto is an opportunity for family and neighbors to enjoy the sun, good company and of course, good food. Elaborate dinners are planned and prepared. Like the Jewish holiday of Succoth, nature figures prominently in the celeberation. Families congregate at the beach, in the country, by lakes, to pass the day eating, talking, singing, and dancing. Each year the Belmont Community returns to its Italian roots. Merchants, artists and musicians have been brought together to acknowledge the rich culture and cuisine of Italy. About 23,000 people attend the variety of programs on Arthur Ave. that depicts 3000 years of Italian culture.

For more information: http://www.arthuravenuebronx.com/ferragusto_di_belmont.htm

last update: 9/2003

India Day Parade
Mid August, 2-7 pm
Madison Avenue, from 46th to 26th Streets

A cross-section of Indian-Americans come together for a unified statement of India’s history and her progress throughout the 20th century. Ornate floats depicting the regions and symbols of India fill the parade with color and movement, while dancers and costumed marchers evoke the spiritual and cultural identity of India and the Indians who have made America their home. A Grand Marshal from India is honored.

For more information: 718-651-6969.

last update: 5/2004

Brighton Jubilee Russian Festival
Sunday before Labor Day, daylong
Brighton Beach Avenue, from Corbin Place to Ocean Parkway

Though Brighton Beach is home to the largest Russian community in NYC, the festival celebrates the diverse cultural scene of the neighborhood and its achievements. Local nightclubs bring their musicians onto the stages, “unveiling their mystique,” as a local resident said. The festival will fill the streets with food vendors and a flea-market. Besides all these, you could always enjoy the beach.

For more information: Brighton Neighborhood Association 718/891-0800, http://www.brightonbeach.com/

last update: 5/2004

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Races
Mid August, (August 7-8, 2004) 9 am- 5pm, rain or shine
Meadows Lake, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Free Admission

Come and enjoy a festival of splashing and drumbeats! Some eight teams from around the world compete at this traditional Chinese summer activity. The racing boats and sweet rice dumplings eaten on festival day dramatize an ancient legend in which a group of fisherman try to prevent the suicide of a beloved poet, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in a tributary of the Yangtze River some 2,200 years ago. Upon failing to save hime, they beat the water furiously with their paddles to save his body from the fish and throw in rice dumplings as a sacrifice to his spirit. The boat in the image of a Chinese dragon usually seats a team of some 20 paddlers with an onboard drummer to set the rowing rhythm and a steersperson. The event also features performances and an international food court.

For more information: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York 718-767-1776, http://www.hkdbf-ny.org/index.htm

last update: 5/2004

Howl! Festival of East Village Arts
August (August 17th – 21st, 2004), all-day,
Various local venues, including a Wigstock performance at Tompkins Square Park

The festival is a celebration of the alternative arts, a combination town meeting, family reunion and counter-cultural county fair. Events include poetry recitations, art exhibitions, theatre and various other performances.

For more information: The Federation of East Village Artists 212-505-2225.

Last checked 5/2004

Pakistan Day Parade and Festival
Late August, noon
Madison Avenue, from 41st to 23rd Streets

Beginning with breakfast and ending with a festival of Pakistani performers, this parade offers both pageantry and camaraderie in its display of Pakistani culture. American bands mix with floats promoting Pakistani-American businesses and associations, while the traditions of the country are demonstrated in the Eastern music and costumes. At the festival, both traditional performances and prominent contemporary stars entertain.

For more information: 212-689-1750.

last update: 1997


Brazilian Street Festival
Early September
“Little Brasil,” West 46th Street, Madison to Seventh Avenues

The beat of the samba takes over 46th Street in celebration of Brazilian Independence Day. Singers and musicians from Brasil perform the bossa nova on stage, but the people dancing in the street are the real show. Touted as “the greatest Brazilian ‘happening’ abroad,” this festival draws a crowd of nearly 1 million people who share a love of music and good times.

For more information: Brazilian American Cultural Center

last update: 9/2008

West Indian American Day Carnival
Early September
Eastern Parkway, near the Brooklyn Museum

One of the best known and loved parades in the city, this dramatic day attracts 3 million spectators. Over 100 steel-drum bands begin arranging music and choosing their costume theme months in advance, before assembling to recruit their dancers for the parade. Each alliance of band and dancers creates a tableau of historic or mythical characters. The carefully researched and meticulously detailed costumes are among the most ornate in any New York parade. Past performances have included American Indians and the history of England. As one long-time organizer describes the event, “Like a storm, it builds for months, until the day when everyone comes together and the sweet calypso music drives you to dance.” A children’s carnival and parade and performances by the parade bands take place at the Brooklyn Museum prior to the main event.

For more information: West Indian American Day Carnival Association, 718-467-1797

last update: 9/2008

Ganesha Chathurti Celebration and Procession
Early September
Flushing, begins at 45-57 Browne Street

For nine days prior to the procession day, the Hindu temple at Browne Street is filled with prayer and decorative offerings for the celebration of Ganesha, with the shrines covered with ceremonial gifts of fruit, pearls, or flowers. Lighting of the sacred fire and a ritual bathing are performed by the priest prior to the Rathothsav, where the idol is taken outside to be carried by chariot in a procession around the temple. The idol has four arms and an elephant’s face, and is believed to show the appearance of God. Its celebration is one of the most important in the Asian Indian year, as a time of festivity, prayer, and Indian identity.

For more information: Hindu Temple Society of North America, 718-460-8484, www.nyganeshtemple.org

last update: 9/2008

Great Irish Fair
Third weekend in September
Keyspan Ballpark, Coney Island, New York

For two days in September, Irish culture is on display from costumed children performing folkloric dances, to 150 vendors of Irish goods, to 7 stages of non-stop contemporary and traditional Irish music. The Fair is a showcase for “anything Irish,” and includes some unusual offerings. Exhibition games of camoguie, women’s football, and children’s hurling offer a glimpse into Irish sporting traditions. Curroaghs, traditional Irish boats, are built on site on Saturday, and race in Sheepshead Bay on Sunday. Restaurants set up large tents, where families gather at what has come to be a giant reunion for the tri-state Irish-American community. Each day begins with a mass.

For more information: www.gifnyc.com, 917-612-8198

last update: 9/2008

Puerto Rican Festival
Early August and Late September
Graham Ave, Brooklyn

This parade and festival, held annually on two separate days in August and September, celebrates the culture and people of Puerto Rico. In August, the parade fills the streets of Brooklyn with spectators clad in red, white and blue and proudly carrying the Puerto Rican flag. The second day-long festival is held at Graham Ave and Debevoice St, from 9 am to 8pm.

For more information: Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival of NY, Inc., 718-455-3907

last update: 9/2008

Festa San Gennaro
Two weeks in mid-September
Little Italy, Mulberry Street and area

Every Italian village has a festa which celebrates its own saint’s day. The Feast of San Gennaro is New York’s best known. The Statue of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, is paraded through the streets of Little Italy and into the Church of the Most Precious Blood on Baxter Street. The most famous attraction, however, is the food. More than 300 vendors set up stands along Mulberry and other Little Italy streets. Between the stands selling sausage heros and other Italian fare, Chinese, Greek and Irish vendors dish out their native cuisines.

For more information: San Gennaro Society, www.sangennaro.org

last update: 9/2008

African-American Day Parade
September 21, 2008, 1 pm
Harlem, from 111th St and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd to 142nd St

The largest black parade in America, the African-American Day Parade unites African Americans in celebration of common history and current achievements by African people in America. The parade highlights selected Grand Marshals, African American celebrities and leaders as well as organizations dedicated to African culture. The parade draws approximately 900,000 viewers to Harlem each year.

For more information: African American Day Parade, Inc., 212-348-3080

last update: 9/2008

German-American Steuben Parade
3rd Saturday in September, noon
Fifth Avenue, from 64th to 86th Streets

The parade is named after Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben, a Prussian general under Frederick the Great. In 1777, Steuben joined General George Washington in a task to turn a bunch of patriotic farm boys into what became the Continental Army.

In the largest observance of Germanic heritage in the world, a few dozen organizations from Europe and a few hundred from across the U.S. participate. American high school marching bands mix with German Oompah bands, and a spectacular display of floats dramatize German contributions to American history, ranging from Albert Einstein to potato salad. A version of Munich’s famous October Fest is held in Central Park at 82nd Street after the parade, at 2 p.m

For more information: German-American Steuben Parade Committee of New York, 516/239-0741

last update: 9/2008

Ragamuffin Parade
Late September/early October, 1 pm
Bayridge, Third Avenue, up from 70th Street

The imaginations of 3,000 children are on display in the costumes they create for this unique freestyle parade. High school marching bands provide a parade tempo and children of all ages take part from toddlers in strollers to teenagers on skates, from school groups to families. Every child receives a gift, and prizes are awarded to the best homemade costumes. The parade kicks off the next day’s Third Avenue Festival.

last update: 9/2008

United Muslim Day Parade
Last Sunday in September
Begins at 41st and Madison Ave., ends at 23rd and Madison

The annual Muslim Day Parade began in 1985 and brings together communities of various ethnic and religious groups to promote a better understanding of Islam and to foster interfaith cooperation between Muslim and all other religious/community groups. All are invited to participate in this global event replete with floats, banners and placards that contain universal messages of peace, unity and justice.

For more information: Muslim Foundation of America, Inc. 718-777-5563

last update: 9/2008

Korean Harvest & Folklore Festival
Third Saturday in September
10 am – 6 pm
Flushing Meadows/Corona Park

This event celebrates Choo-Seok, Autumn moon, a traditional Korean festival of harvest and thanksgiving. Tented restaurants and food vendors offer an array of Korean cuisine. Brilliant banners fly high above Flushing Meadows Park, and the traditional dress worn by many people fills the park with color. Dances are performed throughout the day, among them traditional farmer, fan, and circle dances. American and Korean athletics, as well as folk and children’s games, take over the open spaces.

last update: 9/2008

Tibetan Festival
Staten Island
September 20, 2008
12 pm – 5pm
Tibetan Museum, 338 Lighthouse Avenue, Staten Island

Tibetan tea, flavored with butter and salt, and Momo, Tibetan dumplings, are just two of the authentic foods found at this demonstration of the Himalayan culture of Tibet. A craft bazaar, fortune telling, and Asian folk tales are found inside the Museum and throughout its charming garden. Chants by monks from the Kalmuck Monastery in New Jersey are performed throughout the day. Nominal admission is charged.

For more information: Tibetan Museum, 718-987-3500, www.tibetanmuseum.org

last update: 9/2008


Feast of St. Francis, “Blessing of the Animals”
First Sunday in October, 11 am
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street

Animal lovers and their pets fill the Cathedral for the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis, to whom the animals were “his brothers and sisters.” A formal procession to the altar is representative of the animal kingdom, and usually includes an elephant, a goat, a cockatiel (a crested parrot), a hedgehog, and a reptile. Other elements of the natural world, such as rocks or algae, are carried in procession too, where they are symbolically blessed by the Bishop and the Dean. The service is followed by a fair on the grounds, featuring environmental booths, food vendors, and performances by the Cathedral’s artists-in-residence. A highlight is the pet/owner look alike contest.

For more information: Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 212-316-7490

last update: 9/2008

Deepavali India Festival
First Sunday in October
South Street Seaport

This Festival of Lights marks the New Year, ushering in good and staving off evil with demonstrations of New Year’s customs from all regions of India. Lavishly dressed dancers move to the haunting sounds of the sitar, and crafts people offer a range of wares, including demonstrations of folkloric painting techniques with earthen dyes. Lanterns abound as the sun goes down, and fireworks over the East River conclude the event in the Indian tradition. Indian organizers find this setting near Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty ideally suited to celebrate and affirm Indian-American identity.

For more information: Association of Indians in America, Inc. www.aianewyork.org/

last update: 9/2008

Pulaski Parade
First Sunday in October, 12:30 pm
Fifth Avenue, from 29th to 53rd Streets

The infectious music of polka bands and the laughter and language of Polish celebrants guarantee smiling and dancing in the streets. Polish-American war veterans, vibrant floats, marching bands, and folkloric dancers stream by in a procession 100,000 strong. This celebration of ethnic heritage and its Polish-American hero, Revolutionary War Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, is the Polish community’s most important cultural event of the year. It also pays tribute to Poland’s struggle for freedom in the 1980s through a symbolic placing of a cross-shaped wreath on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. More than 1 million spectators line Fifth Avenue to watch, and the event is televised in its entirety in Poland.

For more information: www.pulaskiparade.org

last update: 9/2008

Hispanic Day Parade
2nd Sunday in October
Fifth Avenue, from 44th to 72nd Streets

Over 50 social, civic, religious, and athletic clubs representing 19 Spanish-speaking countries fill Fifth Avenue in a celebration of Hispanic culture in New York and beyond. Starting with Argentina and ending with Uruguay, each country marches by, costumed to perform folkloric dances or parading their country’s flag, and families stand for hours waiting for their home country to appear. Since 1965, this event has showcased the similarities and differences among Spanish-speaking cultures but as one organizer points out, “We are all Hispanic people, together for one day.”

last update: 9/2008

The Halloween Parade
October 31, 7 pm
Greenwich Village, Sixth Avenue, from Spring to 21st Streets

Come and join this wildly creative parade featured by giant puppets, outrageous costumes and music brought by various ethnic groups in the city. From humble beginnings in 1973 when a Greenwich Village artist walked through the neighborhood with his children and friends carrying handmade masks and puppets, this parade has grown to attract some 50,000 participants and many more spectators. In a celebration of costume, thousands of decorated and disguised New Yorkers join the parade’s signature 15-foot colorful, expressive puppets (which require nearly 1,000 human guides), creating a unique street-theater event.

For more information: www.halloween-nyc.com

last update: 9/2008

Haunted Forest Walk
Saturday, October 25, 2008
12pm – 3 pm
Prospect Park, Woodlands

Thousands of families line up for this charming woodland encounter with the ghosts of Halloween. Witches, ghouls, goblins, and vampires are among the scary creatures lying in wait as groups of 25 to 30 are led through a haunted forest in Prospect Park. The line begins forming at 11 am.

For more information: Prospect Park Events Line, 718-965-8999

last update: 9/2008


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thanksgiving Day, 9 am
Central Park West, from 70th St to Columbus Circle
Broadway, 58th to 34th Streets

Millions watch this favorite New York parade, from city sidewalks and on television around the country. This parade has marching bands, grand floats, celebrity performances, even the Rockettes. But the giant balloons always steal the show. The crowd cheers as each character sways past, eight stories high and guided by a costumed team of carriers. Old favorites like Snoopy and Bullwinkle are joined by newcomers each year, a tradition since 1927. For a special treat: on the eve of the parade, thousands gather to watch the balloons come to life on the streets around the American Museum of Natural History. Betty Boop, the Cat in the Hat, Spider Man, Kermit—they’re all on display in varying stages of inflation, greeted by enthusiastic shouts of recognition by children and adults alike.

For more information: Macy’s, 212-494-2922, http://www.macys.com/campaign/parade/parade.jsp

last update: 9/2008


Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
1st week in December
Rockefeller Plaza, between 49th and 50th Streets

Half a million spectators gather to herald the holiday season with the ceremonial lighting of New York’s Chirstmas tree, an 80-foot Norway spruce decorated with 26,000 colored lights.

For more information: Rockefeller Center Information Line, 212-632-3975.

last update: 9/2008

Annual TubaChristmas
Sunday in mid-December, late afternoon
Rockefeller Center, Skating Rink

In his book America, Charles Kuralt names TubaChristmas at Rockefeller Center as the place to be for Christmas, and while TubaChristmas takes place in 176 American cities and several European ones, the event’s organizer finds this setting hard to match for Christmas spirit. 300 Tuba players gather on the ice beneath the Christmas tree for an annual concert of holiday carols. The musicians range from young children just learning the instrument to at least one 85-year old who returns year after year. Tubas of all shapes and sizes, many of them decorated with holiday lights, Christmas trees, and menorahs, make a great Christmas sight.

For more information: Rockefeller Center Information Line, 212-632-3975.

last update: 9/2008

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
Manhattan and Brooklyn
Every night of Chanukkah, after nightfall
Fifth Avenue at 59th Street and Grand Army Plaza

Each evening of Hanukkah, following the sunset, ceremonial lightings of large, decorative menorahs take place throughout the city. The two largest and most public lightings are at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan and at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. As the new candle is lit, spectators sing Hanukkah songs, and if it is not too cold, there is dancing as well.

last update: 9/2008

New Year’s Eve Celebration
December 31, dusk to after midnight
Times Square

In 1906 the New York Times sponsored the first “time ball,” a promotion for its new skyscraper at the crossroads of the world, and symbolic of the time-keeping globes prevalent in American cities at the turn of the century. In 1995, more than 500,000 people from around the world gathered in Times Square to usher in the New Year, New YorkBstyle. The time-ball recently had a high-tech facelift; covered with 12,000 rhinestones and hundreds of halogen bulbs and strobe lights, the 6-foot metal sphere is lit internally with a 10,000-watt bulb and backlit with laser beams. Its descent from the sky along with revelry on the streets is a quintessential New York event.

For more information: Times Square Alliance, http://www.timessquarenyc.org/nye/nye.html

last update: 9/2008