Celebrating New York’s Easter Parade (a.k.a Mill About) and Easter Bonnet Festival

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.

Girl wearing easter egg hat costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Revelers spent weeks making beautifully crafted hats that ranged from stunning period pieces to off-the-wall wacky, while others wore costumes from head to toe. 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. )

Purely Patrica Flower costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Purely Patricia was a big success. Her card business card reads, “Assemblage Fashion Stylish for People and Spaces.”

Purely Patrica in pink Flower costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Girl wearing easter egg hat costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

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.)

woman wearing chocolate bunny costume at the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Man wearing easter egg hat costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Sparkle flower shoes in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Two couples dressed in vintage costumes at the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Man in drag at the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Father and son wearing easter hats in the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Man and woman wearing marshmellow peep hat at the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Man and dog dressed in pink costumes at the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

Two men in pink and white tophats and tails in the Easter Parade in NYC 2016

Men in lumbar jack outfits in the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Man in costume at the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Woman and child wearing costumes at the Easter Parade New York City 2016

Woman with two dogs wearing easter hats at Easter Parade in New York City 2016

Photographs of Eater Parade in New York City-2-20

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68 replies »

  1. Hi Susan,

    Your photos continually make me feel like jumping in to wherever you are! These pics took me right back to when I was a little girl my sister, mom and I would go to this parade. One year I was wearing my favorite pink dress with chiffon angel wings, as I called it, and was interviewed by the local news channel making it onto the evening news. Such fond, happy memories…am thrilled to see the tradition is still going strong!

    Grateful as always,

    • Thank you, Mark. I still don’t know what he is and he was so popular all I had was a chance to grab a shot and move on. The guy with the cigar I think is on ever revelers camera. He just stood there motionless and let people run up to shoot him.

    • So true. Some went all out on the humor quotient, but it was also nice to see all the people who chose to come in period costumes. Everyone did an amazing job. I am not a costume person, Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but I do admire those who embrace it. 🙂

  2. This looks like so much fun! Now i kind of actually want to DO it! This post made my day with the uplifting colors and unique scenes. I am definitely spreading the word about your blog! Do you have any suggestions for blog newcomers?I’m an actor by trade, so I just started a blog with the focus on movies, plays, and the surrounding media. I would be very grateful for any wisdom that you may have!

  3. Love this, Susan. Thanks for the bonus video! Have never been there during Easter, but for seven consecutive years we were there during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and saw some similar creative get-ups! A great city.

  4. this is so spectacular susan! i loved reliving the wonderful “15 minutes of fame” (which was actually 2 1/2 hours……thank you for the gift of you and your talent fun to see us coming and going!

  5. Wow! Never knew such a thing was held every year in New York! With your photos you’ve captured the feeling of this event so wonderfully! Thank you so much for doing this 🙂

  6. I’ve never even heard of this event before, but thanks to your marvelous post I feel as if I’ve actually *been* there. Thank you for this wonderful réportage!

  7. I had SO much fun going to this Mill About with you, Susan. Your photos captured so much, I could never decide which costume I liked more, because each one was so creative and well done. Your video clip was wonderful. The 1948 movie “Easter Parade” gives a great picture of the original event, and after seeing your rendition here, I am happy to see the spirit has not lost its luster over the decades. Really fun post.

    • I’m so glad you had fun with the post Jet! I know, the creativity some people have knocks me over. I’m just not that kind of person who can make, let alone think of, those kinds of wonderful costumes. Thus Halloween has never been a strong post for me. And thank you about the video too. I’m just starting to learn to edit. It’s a little rough but I had a blast last night putting it together. 🙂

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