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    NYC Easter Parade - Fashion Meets Fantasy

    "In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
    You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade!

    Irvine Berlin memorialized the event in the 1948 musical with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller, but the New York Easter Parade tradition goes back to a much earlier time.

    Easter Parade in New York 1900The Easter Parade is a New York tradition that dates back to the middle of the 1800s. The social elite would attend services at one of the 5th Avenue churches and parade their new fashions down the Avenue afterwards.

    The less well to do would come to see what the latest trends were. Many handy seamstresses found inspiration for their client's wardrobes at the parade. It was a combination of religious services and haute couture in the days before TV, when only the wealthiest New Yorkers could attend the hottest Paris fashion shows.

    While there is still some fashion involved in the spectacle, the modern version tends to be more fantastic. Live birds nest in bonnets of real flowers and pets are dressed in the latest 5th Avenue doggy wear.

    The flamboyant headgear and costumes are paraded down the Avenue to the delight of onlookers. You don't need a special outfit to join in the fun. Anyone can step out and stroll down the Avenue.

    New York weather in April is anything but reliable. "Record April Snowfall, 10 Inches, and 60-Mile Gale Usher in New York's Easter," was a headline in the New York Times on April 4, 1915. While this is unusual, a rainy April day can make for soggy bonnet watching.

    If good years, the weather is forecast will call for a wonderful spring day with temperatures around 60 degrees.

    St. Patrick's Cathedral In New York CityYou can attend services or stop in to hear liturgical music at one of nearby churches:

    St. Patrick's Cathedral,
    50th Street and 5th Avenue

    Sunday Morning Masses:
    7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:15 (Cardinal's Mass)
    Sunday Afternoon Masses: 12:00, 1:00, 4:00, 5:30

    Saint Thomas Church,
    53rd Street and 5th Avenue
    8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Solemn Eucharist 2:30 p.m. Organ Recital
    3:00 p.m. Solemn Evensong

    5th Avenue Presbyterian Church,
    55th Street and 5th Avenue
    8:00 a.m. Communion Service
    9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Festival Services
    3:00 p.m. Concert in the Chapel

    The parade takes place on Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets. The action starts at 10AM and goes on for hours.

    Join the spectators in the viewing stands or along the streets.

    The song lyrics predict, "On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us and you'll find that you're in the rotogravure."

    You can dress up for a chance at being caught in the modern version - the TV camera. Who knows, you may find that you're on the evening news.

    Either way, it's a lot of fun.

    Related Links:

    An Animated Easter Parade E-card

    Irving Berlin's Easter Parade (1948)


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