NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Big Apple was Red, White and Green Monday in celebration of Italian-American culture.

PHOTOS: New York City Columbus Day Parade

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And even if they’re not Italian, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly were at the front of the 67th Annual Columbus Day Parade — the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage — that kicked off at 44th Street at around 11:30 a.m.

“Proud to be Italian today — great festival, great heritage,” Frank Giuffrida told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

“The whole world is Italian today — Sicilian, even better,” said one woman.

Led by Grand Marshal Joseph J. Plumeri, a Trenton, N.J., native, the parade honored New York’s Millennium High School, which was established to help rebuild lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks.

The philanthropist and business leader said that he felt a special sense of pride on such a special day.

“Columbus was an Italian who founded America and the rest of us followed,” he told Rapoport.

The parade route followed Fifth Avenue to 72nd Street where it wrapped up shortly after 3 p.m.. This year’s parade featured over 35,000 marchers and more than 100 bands and floats.

See Also: CBSNewYork’s Columbus Day Parade Guide

On Sunday, a wreath was placed at Columbus Circle in honor of Christopher Columbus, as well as New York’s uniformed civil servants and immigrants.

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