your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You'll be the grandest
lady in the Easter parade!"
Berlin memorialized the event in the 1948
musical Easter Parade starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, but
the New York Easter Parade tradition goes back to a much earlier time.
In fact, the Fifth Avenue
Easter Parade is a New York phenomenon that dates back to the middle of the 1800s.
Back then, the social elite would attend a service at one of the fashionable 5th Avenue churches,
such as St.
Patrick's Cathedral, and parade down the Avenue afterwards to give onlookers
- and each other - a chance to view their new Easter hats and dresses.
less well-to-do would come to gawk at the carriage set, and to see what the latest
trends were. Many handy seamstresses found inspiration for their middle class
client's wardrobes at the parade. It was a combination of religious services,
reality TV, and haute couture in the days before mass media, when only the wealthiest
New Yorkers could attend the Paris fashion shows and keep up with the
Attending the Easter Parade in New York
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.
there is still an element of fashion involved in the modern spectacle, the current
version tends to be more fantastic. Live birds nest in bonnets of real flowers,
while even fashionable pets are dressed in the latest 5th Avenue doggy wear.
Today, in New York on Easter Sunday flamboyant headgear and costumes are paraded down 5th 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.
York weather in early Spring 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
March or April day can make for soggy bonnet watching.
In good years, the weather forecast will call for a wonderful sunny day with temperatures
around 60 degrees. If that's the case, you can count on a huge crowd.
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.