I have never been a huge Columbus Day observer – especially since I have worked on Columbus Day for the past six years that I have been working. So, it never really felt like a holiday to me – more of an excuse for others to have a long weekend and usually mess up my life by not being in their offices. Another thing that urks me about the holiday is the traffic that is caused by the parade. Rather than being bitter that I can’t easily get around the city or spend the day with my husband or friends, I decided to find out why we have a parade in our city. I appreciate him sailing the “ocean blue in 1492” – but who is really celebrating today?
The Columbus Day parade is thrown in NYC by The Columbus Citizens Foundation, which is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The parade has celebrated Italian-American heritage on New York’s Fifth Avenue since 1929 when New York City businessman and Italian immigrant Generoso Pope led a parade from East Harlem down to Columbus Circle.
Being that my husband is an Italian immigrant, I am glad that I know a little bit more about the Columbus Day Parade and what the significance is behind it. Maybe next year I will request to take the day off to actually observe the festivities…that is, if I don’t use all of my vacation days actually visiting my in-laws in Italy!
Columbus Day Mass
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 50th St. and Fifth Ave.
9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Columbus Day Parade
Fifth Ave. from 44th to 79th Streets
11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.