The Greek Parade in New York City is quite an event and has been since 1938!
The parade is a celebration of Greek independence and this year marked the 189th Anniversary of the Greek Declaration of Independence.
The parade was scheduled to start at 1pm but started at “Greek time” as one parade participant gaily yelled out to the waiting crowds, and the parade started a little after 2pm. Fifth Avenue sidewalks were packed with onlookers, large families screaming out to friends and family in the parade, and an exuberant chatter of Greek all around.
There were many marching bands and drill teams from high schools in New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and even as far as Albany! The Boy Scouts were also represented along with the NYPD and senators. And amidst all of the neighborhood representations and schools there were the costumes – one of the main reasons I went to the Parade.
There were kids dressed in traditional clothes with elaborate embroidery, gold details, and little red hats. And of course there were the always impressive Presidential Guards – men dressed in white uniforms with full skirts, white stalkings, and red shoes (the above photo show a detail of the shoes). These men guard the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens. Otherwise the guards are more ceremonial and mostly recognized for their unique uniforms that are actually based on the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. (Klephts were people who lived in the mountains and countryside of Greece and often referred to as bandits. These people fought in the Greek War of Independence).
Overall the Parade was impressive. Please see my stock photography images of the Greek Independence Parade in New York City by clicking here.
– And a little advice in case you plan to see the parade next year – despite the late starting time, still get there early if you want a good viewing spot!