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Brooklyn celebrates Italian heritage with the Columbus Parade

columbus parade

39th Parade in Brooklyn

The Columbus Parade came back to Brooklyn for its 39th edition on Saturday October 9th.

Columbus Parade in Brooklyn. Photo by Michele Petruzziello

The theme was “Building Back Community”, in recognition of the people who have been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

Smaller scale

 The event, sponsored by the Federation of Italian American Organizations, was on a smaller scale due to the lingering effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Columbus Parade. Photo by Anthony Sanfilippo

The parade celebrated the 529th anniversary of Italian explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World in 1492.

Columbus Parade. Photo by Anthony Sanfilippo

Italian heritage

The festive event was also dedicated to the Italian heritage of thousands of Brooklynites and to the Italian American culture. 

Preceded by the Grand Marshals, the bands marched along Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard (18th Avenue) from 61st Street to Benson Avenue.

Columbus Parade. Photo by Anthony Sanfilippo

This year’s marshals were investment banker Ana Oliveira, entrepreneur Nicholas Cutaneo, and school Principal Andrea Cillotta, plus representatives from Maimonides Medical Center.

The Parade’s chairman and chairwoman were G. Jack Spatola and Barbara Pascarella.


Monday’s federal holiday has become increasingly controversial in the past few years. While some people view Christopher Columbus as a symbol of Italian American history and heritage, others despise this annual celebration because it ignores the impact of colonialism on native people’s lives.

Columbus Parade. Photo by Anthony Sanfilippo

Indigenous People’s Day & Columbus Day

On Friday, President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”, recognizing “the contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history.”

While the US President acknowledged “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities,” his proclamation doesn’t entail ending Columbus Day as a federal holiday.

Columbus Parade. Photo by Anthony Sanfilippo

As White House press secretary explained, Monday “is both Columbus Day, as of now … as well as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”


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  1. Pingback: Columbus Day Parade returns to NYC's 5th Avenue

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