- Manhattan's Columbus Day Parade: Well, of course, one can go see the big-time, crowded Manhattan Columbus Day Parade, on Mondayh.
- Brooklyn's Columbus Day Parade: Or, you can celebrate on Saturday in Brooklyn, where the folks on the sidewalk aren't tourists, and are as interesting to watch as the people in the parade. Brooklyn's Columbus Day Parade is held in one of the borough's few remaining enclaves of authentic Italian-American local culture, Bensonhurst. Enjoy a proud locally-produced parade (and fantastic cannoli afterwards). Fittingly, Brooklyn's Columbus Day Parade is located on Cristoforo Colombo Blvd., also known as 18th Avenue.
Manhattan's Annual New York City Columbus Day Parade
- When: 11:30 AM, Monday, October 8, 2012.
- Where: Fifth Avenue from 44th to 72nd Street, which will be the dismissal point for participants.
- Big Shots: Grandstands will be located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets. Who: Everyone and their brother, major media.
- What: Marching bands, floats, Italian American organizations,civic organizations and others.
Why Bother to Go to Manhattan for a Parade? Well, it's fun! It's a classic, float-filled New York City parade, filled with flag-waving crowds, dignitaries, politicians, marching bands, and lots of hot dog and pretzel vendors, not to mention Italian-American pride.
What to Do After the Parade in Manhattan? Afterwards, you do those Manhattan things that you just cannot do in Brooklyn: go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney or the Guggenheim museums, take a stroll in Central Park, or head toward the Apple Store, FAO Schwartz, stroll Fifth Avenue for some early-bird holiday window-shopping.
The Annual Columbus Day Parade in BrooklynIn Brooklyn, head to Bensonhurst for a low-key, family-friendly, community sort of affair, especially fun for pint-sized kids who won't get squished in the crowds. And, you can get an eyeful of "real Brooklyn." Bensonhurst is one of Brooklyn's historic immigrant Italian neighborhoods (though today it's home to a diverse population).
- When: 1:00PM Saturday, October 6, 2012. It will last about 3-4 hours
- Where: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, along Cristoforo Colombo Blvd (18th Avenue) from 61st to 84th street
- Who: Local groups, local music, local (very good) food, organized by the Federation of Italian American Organizations. In 2012, Staten Island residents have been invited to participate as well
- What: Marching bands, Italian American organizations,civic organizations, flag waving kids and parents, and others.
The parade's organizing entity, the Federation of Italian American Organizations, also runs soccer leagues, afterschool programs, and language classes in Italian.
How to Get to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for the Columbus Day ParadeYou can drive, but parking might be tough.
As for subways, always check the MTA for delays, but in general you have two options:
N Train to 18th Avenue stop which leaves one on 18th Avenue and 63rd Street, very close to the start of the parade line up.
D Train to 71st Street stop or 77th street stop which leaves one on New Utrecht Avenue, then walk up to 18th Avenue.
What to Do After the Parade in Bensonhurst?Stroll around Bensonhurst with your appetite in tow. Have a good cup of coffee, and try some local calzone, baked goods or fresh cannoli (try yuummy treats from the wonderful, old fashioned Vilabate). For pizza, head to the classic L&B Spumoni Gardens. Celebs such as Larry King grew up in this classic immigrant neighborhood.
Or, to make a day of it, head to Coney. It's a quick drive to Coney Island, so if the weather's cooperative, you can head to Coney for a stroll on the Boardwalk, visit the NY Aquarium, or check the schedule at Coney Island USA to see what zany things are going on.