Sunday, April 24, 2011

Destinations: The Easter Parade 2011

Easter Paraders (photo credit: Lynn Redmile)
The Easter Parade is one of the last remaining quintessential New York traditions not overrun by arrivistes misinterpreting nostalgic Gotham. From the late-19th century until the 1950s, over one million people attended the annual event. Crowds may have thinned in this last half-century, but hardcore New Yorkers with penchants for ceremony and haberdashery keep it relevant.  Today, New Yorkers will put on their finest attire, don creative headwear, and promenade up-and-down Fifth Avenue for several hours. It is an informal amble, and any line between spectators and participants ebbs and flows like the Avenue's traffic.

From a lounge lifestyle-perspective, aficionados of vintage style hang up their herringbone and break-out fresh and found fashions. If you like to see boaters, seersucker, bonnets, poplin suits, bow ties, boutonnieres, and a glamorous, sartorial crowd, it is a must-attend event. Whether one is religious or not, the Easter Parade is treated by the city as its entrance to Spring. Jazz Age stalwarts such as Michael Arenella &  The Dreamland Orchestra or Drew Nugget & Midnight Society set up guerrilla performances in front of venerable institutions like St. Patrick's Cathedral, playing until New York's Finest kindly ask them to move on... it is a Parade, after all! Swing dancers from the decade-old website and community, Yehoodi, show up with prepared routines as shutterbugs snap the whole scene. The New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham, nips in and out the throng to spot those who'll grace next weekend's Sunday Styles section.

The Easter Parade runs from 10 a.m. through until 4 p.m. Gather in front of Rockefeller Center before making your way up to 57th Street, then stroll back down Fifth Avenue, and repeat!

After today's Parade, the loungerati will retire to some of the area's classic restaurants, bars, and, if they are tired out, private clubs. Destinations include afternoon tea service at the Palm Court, cocktails in the Oak Bar, afternoon Red Snappers at the King Cole Bar, and cigars on the terrace of the University Club.

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