By APB Staff Writer
October 2016: New York NY: Fifth Avenue was transformed into Little Italy for an afternoon for the annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City.
More than 35,000 marchers and over one-hundred groups participated in the celebratory spectacle as kids and adults waved green, white, and red Italian flags along with American flags along the route on a beautiful day in NYC.
Led by Grand Marshall Robert LaPenta, the 2016 Columbus Day Parade, attracted an estimated one million spectators. The participants, floats, and bands travelled up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 72nd Street.
Among the dignitaries joining in the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture included New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, NY Congressional candidate Tom Suozzi, and US Senator Chuck Schumer.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali and Lands’ End CEO Federica Marchionni were this year’s Columbus Day Parade honorees.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who spent twelve years in Rome serving the Vatican said said he deeply admired the contributions Italian immigrants made to the city in the early 1800s. “When they got here, they didn’t have much but they brought their faith, which Jesus calls the ‘pearl of great price.’ And they build the parishes,” gave us priests and sisters and and schools and charities and hospitals.”
Also in attendance at this year’s parade were some of the 700 students who received academic scholarships from the Columbus Citizens Foundation which is the non-profit organization which runs the annual Columbus Day Parade. These students of Italian American heritage are rewarded for their exemplary grades and community service.
The Columbus Day Parade celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’ 1492 expedition and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States.