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2010 Feast of San Gennaro

September 18, 2010

Earlier today I decided that I had to get out and see something again. So, I went to the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. I thought it was around this time of year and sure enough, it was. This weekend through about next weekend.

Little Italy continues to shrink, but it is still hanging in there. That’s good, but NYC is all about change and Little Italy is slowly going away.

I took some pictures with my iPhone, but when the light isn’t right it takes such poor pictures that I won’t even bother to post them here. Mulberry Street was blocked off and hundreds of concession stands were out in the street. It’s a pretty narrow street and the place gets very crowded. But that’s a good thing.

Two things I learned today. First, I was reminded that “Sausage and Peppers” really means sausage and onions with a very occasional (if you’re lucky) bit of green or red bell pepper. I didn’t try it, but it smells great.

Second, spumoni Italian ice is…wonderful. Wow. I was walking by a booth and they had these tiny paper cups (very small ones, not for drinking) with a price tag of $3 on it. It said “Italian Ice” on it and the concession owner saw me kind of smile at the absurdity of the price and said something like “Yeah, but you should see what they charge me for it, but it’s still worth it.” I laughed and decided I’d go ahead and try a bit. I noticed the spumoni was more than halfway gone and took that as a sign that it’s good. It looked a bit like Neopolitan ice cream, except the colors were white, brown, and green. It turns out that the flavor combination is pistachio, chocolate, and some sort of coffee (I think). In any case, the Italian Ice is very dense and the flavors were nearly overwhelming. Really good.


2008 New York City Pet Parade on the West Side

October 18, 2008

I had never been to the NYC Pet Parade and I decided it was time to go. I saw the announcement and thought that it gave me a chance to enjoy something a little different. You see, I didn’t have high expectations for it as I already understood it isn’t a “parade” in the sense of marching down the street. Instead, it’s much more in the vein of the NYC Easter Parade which is more of a large gathering of people (in that case, with interesting hats).

The parade was held on the far west side. Actually, on Pier 84 right on the Hudson River. That’s at about the 44th Street level which puts it mid-town. The announcement said from 1 to 4pm. I got there a little before 1pm and didn’t see much action. At 1pm, I took the following picture of the gathering. I was way too early, but that’s part of my nature.

The parade is for all pets. Got a tarantula? A ferret? Snake? All supposedly welcome. The only pets I ever saw were dogs, though. It was cool (high 40s with some wind) and I doubt the snakes and tarantulas would have enjoyed it. Nor the cats, I imagine.

The next dog also wasn’t too happy. The owners would put the halo on him/her for pictures, but the dog would shake it off as quickly as he/she could. Hey, I would too.

The next dog was pretty popular. Pirate dog! Arghh!

NYC is a land of small dogs. Little ‘uns that don’t need too much picking up after (yeah, they enforce that). It also is a land where the owners love, just love, to dress up their dogs. This little happy gathering included one I never would have expected, a lobster-dog. Two of the others were pretty conventional sweater/collared dogs. The dog in the t-shirt is one I knew would be there: Obama t-shirt dog. It’s NYC, a political dog is par for the course. I’m sure he’s old enough to vote…at least in dog years.

I couldn’t resist this next picture. I like small dogs (and large ones, too), but the next picture shows what I consider as “fake bravery dog”. Look at the guy’s jacket and you can see a second head. That little dog never stopped barking it seemed.

As I was leaving, I ran into a few later-arrivers (it was still early, though). Just a couple of more small dogs here.

And then there was this last one. In terms of parade-quality, this one was top-notch. Yes, it’s dog in a Wonder Woman outfit. The effect was very interesting to see the dog with fake arms and all.

But that wasn’t even the most interesting part of that dog. Look closely and you’ll see it’s a Chow. This wasn’t a particularly happy Chow, either. Chows are fighting dogs and this was an unhappy fighting dog. The owner had just strapped on the outfit and maybe the dog was just out of sorts about it and didn’t want the other dogs to see her like that. She didn’t snap at me or anything, but I got one of those feelings of “just a little bit closer so I can taste those famous ankles!” A bit of an exaggeration. The dog looked great and the owner was friendly. I just had the impression of an unhappy dog.

I left after less than an hour. The parade was probably just starting to get cranked up. I hope hundreds more showed up.


Sorry about the lack of posts…

October 6, 2008

I started Famous Ankles in July 2007 as a way to communicate with family and friends and to detail what I kept seeing in NYC.  Then, in August 2007 I started to post daily and after a while…well, it got to be a habit.  Unfortunately, I kept seeing mileposts along the way.  Two months of daily posts, three, four…  Eventually, I started thinking about hitting the one year mark of daily posts.  And I made it.  However, the last three or four months of the run were pretty wearing on me and I’ve decided to take a bit of a break.

I will start posting again soon.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to make it a little more fresh and interesting.  So far, the ideas just aren’t working out.  Strangely enough, I do have materials for posts as I still take some pictures but it just seems like variations on posts that I’ve done before.  I could just post the pictures, but I really hate putting in a picture without context.  A picture without a story is just somebody else’s picture.  It can be interesting, it can be terrific; but I don’t think my photographic skills are able to carry the post unaided.  Besides, I like to have the context and the story.  I just want to make it interesting for me to detail what I’m seeing and hopefully convey that joy to my readers.

So, in the meantime feel free to enjoy the blog.  I purposely fashioned it so that almost any part can be read without worrying too much whether it is outdated.  The events I’ve covered like parades are actually just moments captured and preserved.  As they should be, at least in my opinion.

I’ll post on occasion.


Guidelines for Attending the Puerto Rican Day Parade

June 6, 2008

This Sunday Is The Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade!!!!!

And I can hardly wait.  It’s everything you want a parade to be.  Loud. Crowded. Boistrous. Loud. Music.  Loud music.  Louder music.  Amplifiers amplifying the amplified loud music.  Rolicking, crazy, wild, fun, and loud. This is a group that throws one heck of a parade!

I’ve been in NYC for four years now and this will only be my second of these parades.  I actually walked past the setting up once, but didn’t give it any thought.  But last year…I went.  Got myself one heck of an experience.  Wonderful.  Just a blast.

I wrote to family shortly afterward my guidelines for going to the Puerto Rican Day Parade.  For those of you going to the 2008 parade, here are Famous Ankles’ 2007 rules.

1.  Get there early.  (I didn’t.  I showed up 45 minutes before the scheduled start and barely escaped being in the third or fourth row of people.)
2.  Don’t stand behind people sitting on chairs.  (I did get behind two of them.  They looked older and shorter than most of the others around.  Didn’t matter.  They loved to stand on the chairs later in the parade despite the fact that they were at the front!!!)
3.  Speak Spanish.  (I don’t and that’s my bad, at least for that day.  One woman beside me kept asking me questions.  I think she thought it she was speaking English, but what I understood her to be asking and what she was asking appear to be different things.  She kept asking me if this was the “end of the parade” before it even started.  I think she was asking the direction they were coming from and answered accordingly.  She didn’t understand my answer.)
4.  Dance.  (I didn’t.  Everybody else did.  Including the cops.)
5.  Wave flags.  The bigger, the better.  Two flags are better.  Three if you can.  Don’t worry that others can’t see through the flags; flags are good and meant to be waved vigorously.  (They handed out flags by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.  Even I had a flag.  Although, I admit that I only waved it once or twice and then gave it to a nearby child.)
6.  Earplugs.  Ya gotta have earplugs.  (Hurray, I got this one right.  When I mentioned I was going to the parade to a guy at work, he looked at me with dead seriousness and said:  Take earplugs!  I did and I’m very grateful to him.  You wanna know how much you need earplugs?  At one point in the parade, a police car was in the procession.  It had flashing lights and the siren going full blast.  It was just background noise. The whole parade isn’t that bad, but that’s beside the point. Take earplugs!)
7.  Wear red, white, and blue.  (Well, it isn’t necessary, but you’ll be the only person there not wearing the national colors of Puerto Rico.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.)
8.  Be ready to duck (I wasn’t.  At some point, a float came by and one, count it – one, T-shirt was thrown to the crowd.  Directly – at – me.  A gift for the poor guy not wearing the national colors. I didn’t see it, but at least two people around me did and launched themselves onto me.  I got clobbered in the head pretty good.  Not knocked down or anything, but it was a bit of a blow and I sure wasn’t happy.  The guy behind me was…he got the shirt.  The woman beside me wasn’t too happy, ‘cuz she didn’t.)


Philippines Independence Day Parade – Part 3

June 5, 2008

No better way to start off my third and final post on Sunday’s parade than to show Miss Philippines USA.

The Jaycees. Or as they marked themselves: The Junior Chamber of Commerce.

The next group was the Filipino Social Club of New York City.

This was Mrs. Philippines USA.  Okay, that’s her well to the right in the picture.  I doubt that Mrs. Philippines looks about five or so.

Whoever originated the name of “Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue” was only interested in getting the acronym “FIND”. The marchers were only interested in tossing some beach balls amongst themselves. I approve of the beach ball fun.

I know, I know. You’ve been asking: where are the Bukidnons? Here they are. I haven’t any idea who/what the Association of Bukindons in America is; but here they are.  Cool clothing, too.

We’d gone too long without Ladies with Parasols. Here came some.

The Philippine-American Association of Connecticut marched next. I liked these ladies and their native dress.

A bunch of protestors marched next. The economist part of me is bemused. Their demands? Control the price of rice and abolish the rice cartels. Cartels are designed to control prices; that’s one of the definitions. If you control the price of rice, presumably by keeping it lower, then production lags. If you want to keep the price of rice high, demand lags.  End of Econ 101 class.

More of the protestors. A little bit of trivia: something like 10 percent of all Philippinos have left their country and work in other countries. It’s a big industry for them.  This was an immigration group, but I’m a little bemused by the idea that they are against trafficking people.  That seems to be a growth business in the Philippines.

The next group touched something that was missing in this parade. It was a remembrance for Hector Tamayo who died in 9/11. I know nothing about Hector, but they were basically saying that their community has that connection and remembers.

I always enjoyed the Ladies with Parasols and got some more. When I started writing these posts I mentioned that there were a bunch. But then, that’s just fine.

Well, we’ve had Ladies with Parasols and “brides” and now we have “girls under flowers”. I haven’t quite seen this before.

Yeah, these girls were adorable. I imagine all of this group got pretty tired walking the 14 or 16 blocks of the parade.

I am utterly baffled by the below group: The Original Maharajah USA, Inc. Who they are, what they stand for… Just baffled.

A last group of beauty queens. That’s a reporter who jumped up there to grab an interview with a queen.

The final Church group: Couples for Christ.

And the final group: the promised bagpipers (that’s what I promised in the first post; that this parade was begun and ended by bagpipers).

All in all, a mild parade that was really only distinguished by the Ladies with Parasols. I enjoyed it, but the groups seemed a little staid. Next weekend, the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Now they are not dull in the least.


Philippines Independence Day Parade – Part 2

June 4, 2008

This is my second post on the Philippines Independence Day Parade (just like the title says).  The parade was held on Madison Avenue and started at 41st Street and headed down to 26th or so.  As pleasant as it was, it wasn’t a real crowded affair as the next two pictures will show. Here’s just to the south of me.

This was the crowd across the street from me.

The next float was the only sign I saw of which liberation they were celebrating: the 110th Anniversary, which would make it freedom from Spain during the Spanish American War of 1898.

The Filipino Pastoral Ministry from Our Lady of Pompei Church in NYC. It’s kinda cool to have the Philippines, Italian, and American all cited in that title. The item the ladies are holding seem to be a doll of some sort. I presume its a Virgin Mary icon, but I just don’t know.

I can’t help loving the name of the next group: Simbang Gabi Sa Katedral. Well, of course they are. (Okay, I guess that’s “Cathedral” at the end, so I presume it’s a Church group.)

The Knights of San Lorenzo Ruiz marched next.

And they were followed by a bunch of Ladies with Parasols! Thank you, ladies.

A beauty queen with a parasol? Well, it would have been nearly perfect if she hadn’t put it to the side…

Another beauty queen in a car. I just wish they had it marked more clearly. Who’s supposed to read the hood of a car?

Below was the National Association of Filipino Americans, or NAFA. You know, I never could figure out when it was supposed to be Filipino or Philippino.  Both spellings are used, but I never could figure out the rules for the use of it.  Generally, it seemed, that when the appellation was applied to people, the “F” spelling was used.  But I saw some exceptions to that and just ended up giving up on it.  Woe is Famous Ankles.  Well, at least NAFA had some beauty queens.

The next group kinda boggled me a bit. They were Philipinos/Filipinos. They were Hawaiians. They were both! (or all)

Beauty queens from the Bronx. Well, beauty queens from the Philipino-American Association of the Bronx.

The Tanglaw Philipino Society of Suffolk County was the next group. C’mon ladies! Where are the parasols?

The most unique exhibit in the parade: a recreation of the sewing of the Philippines flag.

This was an interesting beauty queen concept: promote politician Jun Policarpio for Congress.

The Association of Filipino Teachers; which just happens to have the same initials as the bigger teachers group.

I really like the next picture. I put it on zoom and caught the two young beauty queens.

One of the few dance groups that were in the parade.

This is the PACI, which I believe means Philippine Americans in the Construction Industry.

The Laguna Associations, or as I like to think of them; more Ladies with Parasols.

When I first saw the next group, all I could think of was this was a delegation from New Orleans. Wrong! The Luisianians for the East Coast USA are from Laguna in the Philippines.

The below beauty queens(?) were from Santa Cruz at Pistahan. To be honest, I really didn’t understand the group but maybe they took advantage of the parade to wear their outfits.

And a very interesting, even a wonderful set of young ladies who I can only think of as “brides” but I don’t know if that’s true.

Each of them was walking with a movable structure and all of them had trains on their gowns. I tell ya, all I could think of them as was “brides”.

The little girl next to this bride was a bit of a handful. I can’t imagine she walked the other 14 blocks or so of the parade.

I don’t know what this group is, but it is the Cavite Association.

The next, and last picture of this post, is one of my favorite groups in all of NYC parades. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present the hardest working ladies in NYC parading: the Mother Cabrini Marching Band. These girls are in so many parades it makes me goggle. From now until Fall, they’ll march practically every weekend. I hope they all get full scholarships to the best schools around. They sure work hard enough for it.


Philippines Independence Day Parade – Part 1

June 3, 2008

On Sunday, parade season continued its winding up process. There were two parades (unfortunately, I missed the second one: Salute to Israel). The one I did attend was the Philippines Independence Day parade marking 110 years since their liberation from Spain. The fact that they then went under the USA’s territorial rule seems to be ignored. But I believe we were mostly benign, or at least better than the Spaniards.

Kind of a strange parade. Nothing wild nor weird, but a few points of interest. I ended up taking lots and lots of pictures but will post relatively few. Sorry, but a lot of the parade was just a lot of little groups that often went without decent signage. Otherwise, I could have done a five day post on this (and that’s too long for only a mildly interesting parade).

But I shouldn’t complain. They did have a new twist that I thoroughly enjoyed: ladies with parasols. You’ll see a mess o’ pictures of them.

And another interesting point. They actually began and ended with bagpipers. I think only the Tartan Parade may have done that, and I don’t think that parade actually did manage that trick. Here’s the first set of pipers.

They were followed by the Asian Jade Society, which seems to be a Philippino police group. There was one very tall cop in the group.

The Philippines is a small country with a whole bunch of people.  And a lot of them appear to be dignitaries of some sort.  And a whole bunch of those dignitaries marched in this parade.  At least I call them “dignitaries” as they seem to be there as thanks for their participation in the community and the parade; but don’t have signs saying who they are.

Yes!  Ladies with parasols.  I presume it is traditional in the Philippines and I must say I think it’s great.  (I think these are actually Lady Dignitaries, but I just like to think of them as Ladies with Parasols.

A well marked dignitary.  Below is the Grand Marshall.

More dignitaries, but the ladies had no parasols (so they don’t get capitalized).

More dignitaries.  I just keep showing these because there were so very, very many of them.

And then, a high school band.  It is the Port Richmond High School band from Staten Island.  The group in front were flag carriers.

And the band was pretty small.  Well, it was a small crowd, too.

Look!  More dignitarties!  The men are wearing traditional clothing, but nothing as cool as Ladies with Parasols.

More lady dignitaries.  It was really strange.  They just kept coming and coming.

More dignitaries, but these ones are marked!  Hurray for the Philippine Consulate General staff.

And hurray to the Permanent Mission to the United Nations.  (But mostly, hurray to the Lady with Parasol!)

The first part of the parade was packed with Church groups.  This is El Shaddhai Prayer Partners.

And this is the El Shaddhai group from Connecticut.

This is the Pangasnian Foundation USA.  I don’t know anything about them, but the Web indicates that Pangasnia is a Philippines province.

This is a group from Our Lady of Manaoag.

I loved this quote.  It seems very direct:  “The people of the Philippines are devoted and faithful servants to God.”  I don’t know the source of the quote and couldn’t find it by searching.

This was the first float.  It came from Our Lady of Manaoag.  And, I think, it was the only instance of a Gentleman with Parasol.

I love the name of the next group:  Paaralang Pinoy from the Filipino Diocesan Apostolic Queens Council.  I know it has to be a Church group, but haven’t got the foggiest of what it is.

And the next group was a little more understandable:  the Filipino Arts and Music Ensemble.

The next ladies didn’t have parasols, but they were fine anyway (a crown is always a plus and a couple of them had them).

Continuing with the arts group was this pole dancing crew.  Different kind of pole.

This was the Ensemble’s float; but notice that it is actually some bikes cobbled together.

This is a teachers group.  I presume the kids made the flowers.  There were a pretty fair number of these marchers in the group, but they were spread out.