NYC’s Colorful Dance Parade

New York City has parades celebrating many things, and one of the most fun is the Dance Parade. Yesterday was the 11th annual Dance Parade and Festival, which according to the organizers is held “to inspire dance through the celebration of diversity.”

The parade was a riot of colors and sounds, and the diversity of the dancers was truly magnificent. My favorite part of the parade: the look of joy on so many of the dancers’ faces. I think these photos speak for themselves!

Don’t these photos make you want to dance? What was your favorite?

Art in the Details: Looking Up in the Financial District

A couple of months ago I wrote this post about the architectural art at the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum subway station. You may remember, the exhibition at that station consists of architectural details that were salvaged from demolished New York City buildings. That post, along with inspiration from my friend Meg’s blog, 12 Months in Warsaw, has made me take a much closer look when I walk through New York City neighborhoods. There’s so much to discover that I decided to start a new mini-series of posts that I’m calling “Art in the Details.”

For my first “Art in the Details” post, I looked for inspiration in the Financial District, located in Lower Manhattan. My starting point was where Broadway begins near Battery Park. As I walked along Broadway searching for the granite markers for the Canyon of Heroes (which I wrote about last week), I also looked up and around much more than I would have done normally. Almost immediately I discovered some unique details on the Cunard Building at 25 Broadway.

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I love how the building across the street is reflected in this window.

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As I walked along the next few blocks I found these details.

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I glanced across the street at 65 Broadway and saw the Federal Express Building, with this incredible bronze eagle.

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Overlooking the historic Trinity Church cemetery, which has its own interesting architectural details, I found this gargoyle/knight.

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Below, I also spotted this plaque commemorating the founding of the American Institute of Architects on this site in 1857.

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Across the street, at 100 Broadway, I spied these lovely details.

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On just the next block was the old Equitable Life Building, with these incredible details above the entry.

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At 195 Broadway, I found these bronze and stone details on the side of the building.

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Further along, I discovered this incredible bronze detail work.

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I walked as far as the historic Woolworth Building, located across Broadway from City Hall Park.

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When I turned around to head towards Wall Street, I saw this incredible red brick building with terra cotta details at 15 Park Row, juxtaposed against a modern steel building in the background.

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Back in the heart of the Financial District, I headed to the New York Stock Exchange, located at the corner of Wall Street at Broad Street. There, I noticed this classical pediment stationed above the Stock Exchange’s stone columns.

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Around the corner on Wall Street nearby buildings displayed these cherubic details.

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By this time I’d wandered quite some time and decided I should take a break. That doesn’t mean that these explorations have ended for good, however – I will soon be looking for the Art in the Details in another New York City neighborhood!

It just dawned on me that this would make a good post for Jo’s Monday Walks. If you haven’t checked out Jo’s blog before, I recommend it!

Canyon of Heroes

Visitors to lower Manhattan may notice some unusual granite markers embedded in the sidewalks along Broadway. Those granite markers looks like this:

November 13, 1951 – Women in the Armed Services

The further you walk, the more markers you will see – and they are located on both sides of the street. Each marker lists a date and a person or group of people. But why are they here? The answer is actually located above, on the street corner signs along this path. The stretch of Broadway from the tip of Manhattan, known as the Battery, to City Hall is known as the Canyon of Heroes.

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But what qualifies someone to be included in the Canyon of Heroes, you might ask? All someone needs to do is be the guest of honor at one of New York City’s ticker tape parades. One of the earliest parades along this route was on October 28, 1886, celebrating the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, but ticker tape parades really got their start when American troops began returning home after World War I.

Here’s the granite marker for the start of the Canyon of Heroes. (As you can see from the edge of the photos, some of the sidewalk vendors end up blocking some markers.)

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In all, there have been more than 200 ticker tape parades, and every one has been commemorated with a granite marker. Approximately 130 of those took place during a 20-year period between 1945 and 1965. During that time period, heads of state of many countries were honored with parades. It’s interesting to see some of the names of those heads of state today. Although they were known as allies of the United States, some of these heads of state had mixed records when it came to democratic government or human rights issues. The markers show a wide range of international leaders from all over the world.

Here are just a few of the markers for heads of state.

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October 17, 1949 – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
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April 7, 1952 – Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, and Prince Bernhard
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June 1, 1954 – Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia
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November 4, 1955 – Carlos Castillo Armas, President of Guatemala
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June 29, 1959 – Dr. Arturo Frondizi, President of Argentina
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July 5, 1960 – Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand

There are many other markers as well, commemorating milestones in terrestrial and outer space exploration, sports figures and teams, famous cultural figures, and more. Here are some additional examples of some of those markers.

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July 7, 1952 – U.S. Olympic Team Send-Off to the Helsinki Games
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July 11, 1957 – Althea Gibson, Wimbledon Women’s Champion
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October 3, 1979 – Pope John Paul II
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June 20, 1990 – Nelson Mandela, African National Congress Leader
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October 29, 1996 – New York Yankees, World Series Champions

Interested in learning more about the ticker tapes parades commemorated in the Canyon of Heroes? This website has more information about them, as well as several historical parade photos and even a podcast.

Update to this post (1/14/2018): One of the most controversial markers on the Canyon of Heroes route is this one for Marshal Petain of France. Petain received his ticker tape parade in 1931 because of his reputation as a hero of World War I, but that reputation was tarnished by his role as a Nazi collaborator during World War II. In recent months, the mayor of New York City had a commission consider whether some controversial markers and monuments across the city should be removed; this marker was one of those under consideration. Ultimately, the commission determined that the marker should not be removed (or any of the other markers on the route), but that signs should be posted to add context for the controversial names on the route and the signs labeling the route “Canyon of Heroes” (see the second photo above) be removed.

October 26, 1931 – Henri Phillippe Petain, Marshal of France

Interested in reading the Commission’s full report on this and other controversial monuments? You can find it here.

Broadway in the Boros

(This was originally posted yesterday, but I had technical problems with that post and had to repost it.)

One of the things that makes New York City such a special place is that there’s always something new, something unexpected, around the next corner. Yesterday, I traveled by ferry to Staten Island, intending to visit the National Lighthouse Museum for the first time. As I entered the plaza next to the museum, however, I found my plans had changed. Broadway in the Boros had come to Staten Island!

Sponsored by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Broadway in the Boros brings cast members from Broadway musicals to perform songs in concerts in the city’s outer boroughs. The goal is to make Broadway musicals more accessible to all of the city’s residents. The concerts are informal, with performers wearing T-shirts and other casual attire. In between songs, the concert’s emcee gives away Broadway show tickets and other freebies.

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Friday’s concert featured performers from two musicals: She Loves Me, and Fiddler on the Roof. Cast members sang four songs from each musical, accompanied by the members of the musicals’ orchestras. It was a fun performance – I especially enjoyed the performances from Fiddler on the Roof, one of my favorite musicals.

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Wanting to catch one of the future Broadway in the Boros concerts? The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment posts announcements of future events, including these concerts and many other special events, on its social media sites. (You can find its Facebook page here, and its Twitter page here.)