Outrageous. Unbelievable. Shocking. These are not words we normally associate with Easter, but along the usually refined streets of Fifth Avenue, New Yorkers gather to don their finest, freakiest, and sometimes, furriest!
The tradition is etched in our memories by Irving Berlin's 1933 song, later used in the Fred Astaire-Judy Garland feature Easter Parade (1948). But it all began in the 1880s when the city's grandest churches began placing elaborate flower displays in their sanctuaries in honor of the Spring holiday. Wealthy New Yorkers would leave the services of St. Patrick's Cathedral, between 50th and 51st streets, and walk to see the other displays. Many not so well-to-do folks gathered along the avenue to see the newest fashions on parade.
Today the event escalates fashion to extremes. Large, colorful, geometric hats adorned with flowers, feathers, ribbons, and bows are the norm. Beware of pets donning their own bonnets, or serving as headgear for their owners! Anyone is welcome to walk in the parade, but if your wardrobe is too bland, observe from the viewing platforms at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The procession begins at 10 am and runs between 49th and 57th streets.