NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A sea of red, white and green took over Manhattan today.
Tens of thousands of people marched up Fifth Avenue for the 75th annual Columbus Day Parade.
The parade stepped off at 11:30 a.m. following a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation organizes the event to pay tribute to Christopher Columbus and the contributions of countless Italian-Americans to the United States.
More than 35,000 people marched from 44th to 72nd street in front of nearly one million spectators.PHOTOS: Columbus Day 2019 In Pictures
“It’s an overwhelming feeling of pride to be at the Columbus Day Parade today in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” said Patty Marsibilio, of the Bronx.
“Let everybody know that we’re proud to be Italian, and Italians have contributed so much to everything that has made America, and we should be proud and we are proud,” Martina Vidas, originally from Sicily, added.
A band called Scattini came from Italy to perform outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral ahead of the parade.
“We are proud to be here,” one member said.
A statue of Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, was also featured on a float by the Diocese of Brooklyn. The city recently decided to exclude Mother Cabrini from a new group of statues honoring women, despite being the No. 1 pick in a poll of New Yorkers.
At the parade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will partially fund a Mother Cabrini statue, with $30,000 coming from the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the parade, and Italian luxury fashion business leader Massimo Ferragamo was the grand marshal.
“Big day, very important really, because it symbolizes so many things that Italy and America have in common,” Ferragamo said. “They are two fabulous countries. Two countries where I spent all my life – half in one and half in the other – and I adore them both.”