NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) –New Yorkers and visitors to the city lined Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for New York City’s annual Columbus Day parade.

Monday’s parade, which ran from 44th Street to 72nd Street, was organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation. It’s billed as the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture.

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As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, an estimated million people were on hand to watch from the sidelines.

PHOTOS: Columbus Day Parade

It was also a major political showcase less than a month before Election Day.

The marchers include Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and his Republican rival, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Cuomo is seeking re-election and has a commanding lead in the polls. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who frequently touts his Italian heritage, also marched.

The festivities feature scores of matching bands and Italian civic groups. The first parade was held in Manhattan in 1929.

The spectators also have their Italian pride on display. One group of people told CBS 2’s Emily Smith they’ve been going to the parade for the past 50 years and spend the day experiencing all things Italy in New York City.

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“The best pizza is in New York,” one woman told Smith. “My nephew came from Italy, and they love the New York pizza.”

Italian-Americans weren’t the only ones celebrating. Many tourists from around the world converged on the parade, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

One family visiting New York City from the United Kingdom told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa they were celebrating as Italians for the day.

“We have some family who live out in Italy, so. (What part of Italy?) A place called Greco, just outside of Genoa,” the man said.

The grand marshal is First Data Corporation CEO and Chairman Frank Bisignano.

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