Cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two major in-person parades returned to the streets of Brooklyn and the Big Apple to commemorate Christopher Columbus, along with Italian heritage and culture: the 39th Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade along 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst on Oct. 9, and the nation’s largest, the 77th annual New York City Columbus Day March along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Oct. 11. We had the opportunity and pleasure of photographing both colorful, festive celebrations.
Over in Gotham, we saw Brooklyn’s Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello get a warm greeting from the parade’s 2021 Grand Marshal Michael Pascucci and countless others. We also spotted fellow Brooklynites, famed Bay Ridge attorney Artie Aidala, former president of the Brooklyn Bar Association; NYPD Chaplain and Pastor Msgr. Dominick Cassato; Joe Peluso; George Prezioso, and former NYPD Police Chief and NYC OEM Commissioner Joe Esposito. The Brooklyn Catholic Diocese had a float in honor of Catholic schools and St. Frances Cabrini. In addition to exuberant, youthful Italian flag-wavers, it had an array of special effects – smoke and confetti cannons, and large (non-flammable) theatrical shooting sparklers. It was a real crowd pleaser!
The Brooklyn Columbus Parade was hosted by the Federation of Italian American Organizations and once again Carlo Scissura, the group’s president, was at the podium doing a fabulous job as the parade commentator. Scissura is a past president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. While his successor Randy Peers was seated alongside him, Carlo said “I want to introduce the second best BCC President!” We were out of hearing range to listen to Randy’s response.