No one would ever mistake Manhattan for being a touchy-feely city. People mostly keep to themselves and the pace can make even the most type – A personality long for a breath. But now and then a holiday comes along and the city softens. Crowds brim with laughter and smiles and the only goal is to have fun—with strangers no less.
And so it was yesterday, at the annual Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival. The name is a bit of a misnomer really since there’s actually no parade, it’s more of an Easter Mill About with thousands of people front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Revelers spent weeks making beautifully crafted hats that ranged from stunning period pieces to off-the-wall wacky, some wore full costumes, and everyone else came to take pictures. Fifth Avenue was a barrage of selfies. Picture the commotion surrounding a Kardashian and multiply that by 10.
For those with the best ensembles (and there were A LOT of amazing creations), crowds surrounded them five people deep. For hours, the boldly attired were the center of attention. Most of the costumed folks I spoke to were long-time regulars of the event. The Easter Parade was a source of an annual 15 minutes of fame.
Did you know that the Easter Parade dates back to the 1800’s? Originally, the hoity toity of the time used to stroll down Fifth Avenue, dressed in their finest, after church services for the rest of the world to see.
Today it’s a spectacle of another kind, and loads of fun.
Here’s a peek at what I saw. (Bonus: you’ll find a little video I threw together at the end. )
This group of friends (above) have been creating themed hats for the parade for over seven years. Yesterday’s theme celebrated iconic New York. Past motifs included Broadway Shows, The Seven Deadly Sins, Holidays, Superheros and the Zodiac. (Click any photo in the gallery above to enlarge it and turn the series into a slide show.)