General Pulaski Parade / Polish Parade in NYC – Part 1

I was late to the parade.  I’m never late to parades!  But, I was late.  Okay, it wasn’t my fault (sorta):


See?  It says the General Pulaski Memorial Parade started at 2pm.  Nope.  Try noon.

Actually, there was a link to the website that I didn’t bother to check, but it would have set me straight.  I should never trust the “City Events Calendar”.  They are wrong so often that I should only use them as a first pass.

The Pulaski Parade (or the Polish Parade or the Poland Parade or whatever you want to call it) is actually an old favorite of mine.  Almost every parade has something distinctive about it, aside from the group it is dedicated to.  With the Pulaski Parade, it is the “Miss Polonia” phenomenon.  The Poles love to show off their attractive women and they do it with an odd flair:  there can be lots of Miss Polonias.  Lots of them.

In fact, I’m going to have a future post dedicated only to them.  I have to admit that I find it wonderful and interesting and altogether different in a way that I like.  They break it out as Miss Polonia of this place and that place and they also have “Junior Miss Polonia” or, alternatively, “Little Miss Polonia”.  This year I even spotted one “Mr. Polonia”.  Give me a day or two to write and post the story.

There were three parades this weekend, and each of them has the same issue:  the crowds.  The Korean Parade made due without a Korean viewing audience.  I can tell you that there were lots and lots of Poles in the Pulaski Parade crowd and they have their own way of cheering:  they have conversations with the marchers.  In Polish, of course.  More on that shortly.

I left my place before 1pm because I knew I needed to find a good spot.  As I was getting toward 5th Avenue, I started hearing loudspeakers and music and saw a float go past!  It had been going on for around an hour by the time I arrived.  I felt guilty.  But then I ended up staying until after 5:30pm so I think I can credit myself with having been to the parade.

Here’s what I saw at the corner of 41st Street and Fifth Avenue:


This was pretty new to me.  They actually had a group introducing the floats over loudspeakers using both Polish and English.  This parade, always a big one, has really stepped up to the plate.  That’s the New York Public Library behind them.  I had planned on getting a place on the steps, but it was jammed so I ended up going a couple of blocks south.

I saw this particular sweatshirt all over the place.


As I went along, I found a pretty good spot…defined as right near a lot of people speaking Polish amongst themselves.  I love that kind of immersion.

Once I got there, I saw a Polish military contingent going by.  The crowd started calling out to the marchers and the marchers starting having conversations back.  There was tremendous good humor and fun in it and this picture typifies the joy I sensed in the crowd and the marchers.


I haven’t the foggiest idea of what they were talking about or what/whom was being pointed out.  Okay, I said there was joy in this, but not always and not by everybody.  Not a fair statement, but the dourness of this family probably belies something like being overwhelmed by what was going on and knowing they were headed toward the loudspeakers and the BIG crowd.


There was a big crowd, but it wasn’t Puerto Rican Parade big.


The following picture of a marching band is something of a mystery to me.  I don’t know if it’s a traditional outfit, a comedy outfit, or a traditional comedy outfit.


There were at least two contigents of scouts.  I don’t know if they are Boy and Girl Scouts or just an independent Polish version of it.  The scouting concept seems pretty popular though.


The last bit I’ll mention in today’s post is actually a WWII group that commemorates the Polish contribution.  When I first saw it, I first thought about how Poland had been overrun at the beginning of the war (by both Germans and Russians) and then remembered how many of its soldiers had ended up in Britain and fought on the Western Front where they faced execution if captured.



Explore posts in the same categories: Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

4 Comments on “General Pulaski Parade / Polish Parade in NYC – Part 1”

  1. […] Famous Ankles Documenting my wanderings around and about NYC « General Pulaski Parade / Polish Parade in NYC – Part 1 […]

  2. […] Pulaski Parade / Polish Parade in NYC – Part 3 I’ve led you on for two posts before putting in my favorite part:  Miss Polonia.  This is the part to the Polish Parade that […]

  3. […] worst part of the parade is that it was so sparsely attended.  When I went to the Polish Day Parade, also held on a Sunday on 5th Avenue, it was jammed.  On the other hand, here’s a couple of […]

  4. Maggie Says:

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