PHOTOS: Italian pride back on the march as Manhattan’s Columbus Day parade returns for in-person celebration

“That’s amore!” New Yorkers flock to the streets in celebration of Italian heritage during the 77th Columbus Day parade in Manhattan on Oct. 11.

The Italian flag’s green, white and red colors, also known as the il Tricolore, were flown along Fifth Avenue from 45th to 72nd Streets, as spectators watched one of the largest in-person marches to bestow the streets of New York since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Riding floats and weaving flags. Photo by Dean Moses
Under the blue sky, a young float rider waves the Italian colors. Photo by Dean Moses

Dozens of floats were led by Grand Marshal Michael Pascucci & Honorees Joe Gurrera, Jodi Pulice and Humanitarian Recipient FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro as onlookers cheered, clapping to traditional Italian music, some of which was sung live. Coordinated by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the organization boasts that the New York City parade has become the world’s largest celebration in honor of Italian-American culture and heritage.

The grand affair drew top city officials and celebrities including actor Chazz Palminteri, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Kathy Hochul, Commissioner Dermot Shea and others. 

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea greets Grand Marshal Michael Pascucci the Chairman of Duck Pond Associates. Photo by Dean Moses
Cheering, the return of the parade bought joy to many. Photo by Dean Moses
Actor Chazz Palminteri joined the festivities. Photo by Dean Moses

For Shea, the shouts for joy and sight of mirth gave the event an ambiance that New York City is alive and well.

“You can feel the energy. We miss so many of these great days. It’s great to be back, and I’m looking forward to New York alive and well,” Shea said.

While the celebration of Columbus Day has become a subject of controversy, Shea adds that he simply wants to see New Yorkers rejoicing.

“What I think is that there is too much controversy these days. Let’s just be out here, enjoy the day and celebrate,” Shea said.

Columbus Citizens Foundation (CCF) Celebration Chair Angelo Vivolo and Governor Kathy Hochul. Photo by Dean Moses
High-Schoolers show off their skills. Photo by Dean Moses

Governor Kathy Hochul, on the other hand, feels that New York is diverse, and believes that both Italian heritage and Indigenous Peoples Day should be celebrated.

“This is Indigenous People’s Day and I have a proclamation arriving shortly. I also want to celebrate the heritage of the thousands of Italian Americans who came here as immigrants like my relatives came from Ireland, many came from Italy, and they have made incredible contributions to the world of hospitality, entertainment, and business, and it’s also an opportunity to honor them as well. We are doing it all here today. It’s what New York is about, it’s all inclusive,” Hochul said. “Let celebrate! This is the first holiday parade we have been able to have [with spectators] since pandemic hit. So, this is a great day for New Yorkers.”

Many spectators gathered outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to watch the exuberant extravaganza alongside Cardinal Dolan, even posing with Mayor de Blasio for attendees and press.

Cardinal Dolan and Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Dean Moses
Performers played traditional Italian music. Photo by Dean Moses
The celebration continued outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Photo by Dean Moses