Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Easter Parade

My friend from Cincinnati asked me if there is an Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue. My answer was yes, there is.And it's been going on as long as I can remember.

When I was a little girl, going to New York City for the Easter Parade was the big Easter event for my family.  There were lots of photographers taking lots of pictures, and many well-dressed people, and I have a specific memory of being sad at one point and crying because the photographers were taking pictures of my sister (she is 9 years older than I - so 16 to my 7) and not taking any pictures of me. Eventually a nice man must have taken pity on me and asked if he could take my picture, and that made me very happy. (I wish I had that picture now.) After the parade we would go to see the Easter Show at Radio City Music Hall. This was usually a movie (I remember seeing the Love Bug one year and The Trouble With Angels another) and a few dances by the Rockettes. Then we'd eat at an Italian Restaurant called Mama Leone's. There was always a long line to get in (apparently reservations were passe) and one year my brother Tom gave the maitre d some money and a wink and got us seated ahead of others. That seemed astonishing and slightly scary to me, but also very impressive.

These days, the Easter Parade still attracts many people, but it has evolved into more of a clever hat show than an occasion for dressing up in finery. Artists and amateurs alike enjoy using unique materials to fashion their own hats and to show them off on Fifth Avenue -- and the photographers, of course, still enjoy doing what photographers do best. When the weather is sunny and warm, it's fun to walk up Fifth Avenue and enjoy the hat and costume show. A few that stand out in my mind are a man who was wearing the Brooklyn Bridge on his head, made entirely from EZ pass cards, a Manhattan cityscape on the brim of a (very large) hat, and four people dressed in 1920's-style fashions: fox furs and cloche hats on the women, zoot suits on the men).

Did you go somewhere special for Easter when you were young?


Jo said...

What wonderful memories. The Easter parade from NY used to be televised here, alas, this year when I went looking for it, it wasn't on. (Except for newsclips). My Mom, Nana and I would get all dressed up, go to Church then to either The Union House or The Molly Pitcher Inn for dinner (lunch) then over to my Aunt's home when I was very young.

Every holiday is worth experiencing in the City at least once!

Brandie said...

Wow, I found this really interesting! I never realized.

When I was a kid we used to get up early to find our Easter baskets, dress up and go to church, and then come home to a big meal that my mom made. It was just the 4 of us (parents and brother) and I loved that.

Meg said...

I love the Easter Parade, boy do I miss that. I had my bridal shower at Mama Leone's, boy does that bring back memories. Great pictures.

Lizzi said...

We didn't have any big Easter traditions. All I remember is brunch at my Nana and Grandpa's and lots of candy and fake grass.

I love that picture of your family. It's interesting how casual we are today, and kind of sad too. Your uncle is so handsome in his tux and you gals are so glamorous!