Ever since I moved to NYC, one holiday has held a special place in my year. The Easter Parade!!! I create my own extravagant–and elegant hat the week before Easter, and proudly walk in the parade on Easter Sunday. (Note: that’s me in the yellow outfit, carrying a parasol.)
For those who grew up watching Judy Garland movies, you know that the Easter Parade scene was the end of her famous movie with Fred Astaire, where she sang “In your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it….” as she(wearing a huge white hat covered in netting and white flowers) and Fred(in a top hat and tails) walked down the street, nodding to all the other people who were dressed up.
WHAT TO WEAR
(1)dress up in a nice outfit, and make–or buy–a hat with as many flowers, feathers, and other decorations(the candy, “peeps” is a common choice) on it as you can. If you want to wear clothes from the 1800’s along with your hat, go ahead. There is a group that regularly appears in top hat, canes, and dresses with bustles. The first parade I ever attended, a contingent from the village came wearing all of Audrey Hepburn’s costumes–and most importantly, HATS– from My Fair Lady!
WHERE TO GO
Go to Fifth Avenue from 57th down to 47th between 10AM and 2PM on Easter Sunday. The City blocks the traffic on those streets so people can walk up and down the middle of the street in their Easter outfits and as photographers–from around the world–take their pictures. NOTE: 2PM is an absolute time! That’s when the police make everyone get out of the street, and allow traffic to go through!
MAKING YOUR HAT
A good place to hunt for plain hats to redecorate is the discount stores, and many florist shops have things like artificial birds and feathers, if you cant find them elsewhere. If you plan on adding candy to your hat, beware chocolate–it will melt! Apart from that, anything goes. Have fun experimenting.
The parade isn’t limited to people. Over the years, I’ve seen people carrying(or pushing in a stroller)live rabbits, dogs, snakes(on a hat), cats, ferrets, you name it–wearing hats, decorations, or even full costumes.
It isn’t a formal parade; there is no order to what happens, no marching bands or floats(although 2 years ago someone made a flat for himself and had a bunch of his friends pull it down the street). There are usually a few street vendors selling hot dogs, and sodas so you don’t starve.
One request. Please, please, please respect the other paraders. Everyone is their to have fun. Many people–myself included-carry parasols to protect them from the sun; it’s also part of the outfit. They are being bombarded with requests from people all around to turn towards their cameras so they can get their photos; they can’t get out of your way, its up to you to watch where you’re going, and not run into them–especially if you’re driving a baby stroller.
So have a little over a week to get started! Go for it! See you there….