Celebrating Greek Independence Day, Catsimatidis Style
Tens of thousands of people lined both sides of Fifth Ave. Imagine the sight of thousands of people waving blue and white Greek flags, some carrying symbols of the church, many dressed in traditional clothing and carrying signs that read "God Bless Greece" in Greek. It was more than a typical parade because of the very strong prevalence of Greek heritage. Many people traveled from other states to march or just be a part of the festivities. Some exchanged stories about their families, heritage and childhoods. This parade commemorated the 194th anniversary of Greece's Independence from Turkish Ottoman rule that lasted for 400 years and ended on March 25, 1821. The Greek American Day parade is an annual celebration where Greeks showcase their Hellenic heritage, culture, families and achievements to the world.
The Grand Marshall's were New York's Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo, Mr. and Mrs. John Calamos and Mr. and Mrs. John Psaras. There were marching bands, Greek music and foods. The energy amongst the revelers was apparent. I learned a lot about Greek culture and hope to be a part of the festivities again next year. Like most New Yorker's, I've watched parades from the sidewalk or from the windows of buildings. It was a thrill to have the opportunity to ride on the Cats Roundtable float and be able to see all of the smiling faces and wave back at the joyous kids and adult onlookers.
Photos and story by Sara Herbert-Galloway