Sunday, May 17, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Yesterday morning I took the subway downtown to Union Square, planning on finding some beautiful fresh asparagus at the Farmers Market.

What a fabulous surprise to discover the arrival of ... the Dance Parade!  I'd no idea that such a special event was taking place.  I'm glad that I had my little camera with me and am now able to share some of the Parade with you all.  You must imagine the music.

This was the first float of the parade.  I realized that my asparagus mission would have to wait.

Lots of skilled drummers kept the beat.  Beautiful costumes from many parts of the world were in motion.

You all can see that parts of these blocks of Union Square West are paved smoothly and some are cobbledy irregular.  This was a challenge for some dancers' foot gear and also for some portable sound systems, but everything was fine.

A quick shower and the the sun came out again.

Parade observers kept smiling and did their own little subdued dancing as the procession continued.

Many Central American dance groups performed.

It was not always very easy to take photographs that would actually convey the dancing.

The famous choreographer Paul Taylor's dance school's students danced their way downtown.

It was fun to see the reactions of children watching the children dancing in the Parade.  Perhaps those watchers will be in next year's Parade.

Also fun to compare the fashion on the sidelines to that of the dancers.

These young senoritas heels are about to encounter cobblestones.

Can you all see the bells on his boots?

 Many professional photographers were covering the Parade.

Pretty parasols.  I cannot remember what sort of dance these folks were doing.

Nor these.

The costumes are lovely, and you can see a bit of NYC architecture, too.

Lots of red was part of the event.

Fabulous hats!

Plenty of precision along with sparkling face paint.

Every so often there would be a longish break between the performing units, and I took advantage of a pause, to find my asparagus.

Lots of sweet lilacs were also available.

Cheery geraniums brightened this stand.  I found my asparagus and some apples, and hearing more music, returned to the Parade.

Beautifully graceful silk clad ladies, dancing along to the beat of some fabulous drummers.

Many of the performing units made use of very amplified sound systems, but I truly preferred the natural drums.

Tutus and tiaras in motion.


Funky on wheels.

Uncle Sam.

This is not the only hula hoop I saw.

I loved the wit of these tee shirts worn by folks who'd volunteered as Dance Police to complement the numbers of actual NYC Police on duty in their usual blue uniforms.  The Dance Police were there to keep the dancers moving along at a steady pace, in line with the official hours of the parade permit granted by the city.

Balloons overhead signalled a party on its way downtown.

Get in the groove.

Smiles all around!

Don't stop!

And then, a quick tempo change as the American Swiss Ballet arrived.

More young dancers.  Many of these dance school groups included dance teachers who were helping to direct the young folks in their moves.

And then another tempo arrived on the scene.

The heat of the day was having a wilting effect on some of the gentlemen wearing these elaborate outfits.  Carrying the hats was more comfortable, and lots of bottled water was being swallowed.

The young ladies are still wearing their hats.

Here's a close up view of the intricate hairstyles worn by many dancers.

Hats off!

Ahhh, Brasil has arrived!

Golden samba reigns!

There is no way to capture this joy in a still photograph.

More joy!

With feathers.

Please take a bow, gentlemen.  You are the heart of the samba.

Brasil was followed by a complete change of mood.

Celtic dancers in black t-shirts and kilts.

The Dance Police had asked these folks pick up their pace, which they did with style and grace.

I was standing just behind two NYC Police officers when this group came dancing by, and do not remember what sort of dancing they were doing.

I took another detour back into the farmers market, and saw more flowers.

It was difficult not to take some of these lilacs home.

It's also nasturtium season.

This fellow was considering ranunculas.  I am not sure what sort of flowers were already in his backpack.

I returned to parade side in time to see more dancing children.  The pretty little girl in the purple t-shirt to my right was truly enjoying the parade, applauding her favorites.  Her little brother seemed less interested.

Those blue boots are amazing.

Here's a close up view of costume details.

I am hoping that you all are not getting weary.  There is still a bit more Parade to come.

Another hoop, and neon hues.

The lady with the pink headband and Red Nose Day nose was performing for the little girl in the purple t-shirt.

These dancers were great fun.

I am guessing that it was unusual for them to be doing their dancing in sunlight.

The destination of the Dance Parade was Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, where a huge dance party would take place.

Everyone was invited.


Keep dancing!

Don't stop.

What a great atmosphere.

Here's a magic blue bus.

Another youngster, with a bit of a scary friend.

Blue bus was followed by pink bus.

And more dancers.

Driver of the pink bus.

Mascot at the back of that bus.

Lots of folks my age dancing on this float.  Some were barefoot.

And then another mood change, with the arrival of this color-coordinated precision dance group being directed in their steps.

No direction needed for this lady.

This group had been rehearsing for ages.

More gorgeous textile work on display, along with the fine dancing.

Swirly skirts filling the space.

No, it's not John Cleese.  This fellow was able to do very, very high kicks while making his way down the street.  My camera clicks were never quick enough to catch the full elevation.

Just dancing along with the breeze.

Almost there.


We gave a final round of applause as the final group of dancers passed by us.

And those of us on the sidelines, still smiling, agreed that we'd had a fabulous time, and that we'd be back next year.

Thank you all for joining me at the 2015 Dance Parade.  Wasn't it fun to see these city views!


  1. Frances, what an amazing morning you had! I imagine the noise and the colour and the joy of the many dancers must have contributed to a very festive atmosphere.
    And you got Asparagus too!

    1. Elizabeth, the dancers, musicians, fruit, veg and flowers made up a perfect partnership! xo

  2. Gosh what excitement! Not something I've ever come across on the way to buy asparagus :-D

    C xx

    1. Celia, I think the surprise of discovering the parade added to the enjoyment. Of course, you have many wonderful opportunities to come across in your area that we will never see in NYC. xo

  3. What a happy, foot tapping post this is, I can almost hear the drum beats. How does anyone dance it high heels I wonder? I can hardly walk in them. I am sure you would have enjoyed your asparagus all the more for this musical encounter. x

    1. Val, I think that those dancers do a lot of practicing in their heels...and I will note that the heels were not super tall stillettos. I'll also note that the asparagus is delicious. xo

  4. For the want of asparagus, you got to enjoy a most colorful parade. Oh, the joys of New York. When I go to our local farmer's market, I just get do see men in overalls.

    1. You have me laughing at the visions of overalls. Perhaps you need to get them dancing? I am thinking of a samba....

  5. Loved the costumes, particularly the traditional ones. I could almost hear the drums in your photos. Would love to think you went to the park and partied after.

    1. Sorry to disappoint Katharine, but after the entire Parade had moved on downtown, I returned uptown with my asparagus. Perhaps I will get to the party next year! xo

  6. Frances you have done a great job of conveying the colours and sounds of the parade with your still shots. What a wonderful city! The costumes, the market, the candid shots of people shopping and watching - what a treat for us!

    1. Thanks so much Pondside. I was so glad to have taken my camera with me...and that the battery was fully loaded. Missing the chance to take some of these pictures would have been so disappointing. xo

  7. What a wonderful, colourful event Frances, and how lucky you had your camera with you - great photos. Hope you enjoyed the asparagus too!

    1. Marianne, last Saturday was a fabulous day! xo

  8. Hi Frances, such joyful images and what an unexpected surprise when you just went out to buy asparagus ...

    1. Thank you so much for your visit and comment. I do think that the surprise element really added to the joy of the experience.

  9. Wow! What a display - so joyous. The arty at the end must been so much fun.

    We're cutting asparagus in our garden - a short lived season but one to relish with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Hope you enjoyed yours.

    1. Wow indeed! I will have to imagine what that Party was like...and how anyone managed to stop the Party at the posted 7 pm, although our city parks all close at dusk...unless there's some sort of special event taking place.

      Your asparagus preparation sounds delish...I will have to try it. Lucky you to have asparagus growing in your own garden...doesn't get fresher than that. xo

  10. Wonderful! Is this parade in aid of something or just a sign of the exuberance of NYC? So much colour, so much joy.

    I wonder, if you could harness the total energy expended by all the dancers and send it to the national grid, would you have been able to light up the city for a whole night?

    The flowers in the market are as much a spectacle as the dress of the dancers.

    Hope you enjoyed your asparagus!

    1. Friko, you've posed a very good question. As near as I can tell from the link I've included in the post, the purpose of the Parade is to encourage dancing, and to encourage interested bystanders to join or support the individual schools or dancing groups that participate in the Parade.

      I would love to see that energy much joy was released into the air, truly positive vibrations being shared by all.

      And yes, those flowers are rather fantastic, too! Asparagus never lets me down. xo

  11. Dancers, flowers and asparagus - a pretty perfect day in my opinion!

    1. Su, it was really lovely...and everyone seemed to be in a great mood. xo

  12. Who needs asparagus when you can have dancers?! I am glad you still went home with the vegetables. It's a relief no one toppled over in their high heels on that cobblestone, (as far as we know). Never a dull moment in your city, that is for certain! I think the flowers in the guys backpack are Iris, still wrapped up in a bud. You should go back for the Lilacs, Your apartment will be filled with that wonderful scent for days and days!

    1. Jeri, I think you are right about the was funny to see those buds so tightly what looked like tan tissue paper. You are also right about lilacs! xo

  13. Hello from Spain: awesome pics about dance parade. I just discovered your blog and I really like the variety of issues that you that you write. At this point I created a blog dedicated young people and their use of new technologies. I invite you to visit: If you want we kept in touch. I already made me a follower of your blog.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit and comment and becoming a follower, too.

  14. Frances, I popped over from Cornwall UK with my morning cup of tea - and got so carried away with all the wonderful photos of the Dance Parade that my tea has gone cold! You captured the atmosphere perfectly and I had drums and music in my head as I watched all those amazing dancers. I love the variety of your blog and will now follow it with interest.

    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed your visit to the parade...sorry about that cold tea. I know what you mean, though, about getting caught up in something.

      How lucky you are to live in gorgeous Cornwall!

      Thank you for becoming a follower.

  15. Wow, that was some parade! How long did it last Frances? I feel I can hear all the marvellous drumbeats just looking at all these pictures.

  16. Yes it was, Annie. I think I was there for over two hours, with those illustrated breaks for flowers, fruit and veg from the farmers' stands. I'm glad that some of those farmers also got a chance to venture over the Broadway edge of Union Sq to get a glimpse of the dancers to go along with the music they'd been hearing. Great all the senses. xo

  17. Reading this was wonderful my friend. I thoroughly enjoyed every picture and word. I can feel the music through your pictures, and I can hear your voice telling us about what you saw. As ever, my dear friend, you bring us with you on your journeys in NY, all we are short of is a cafe to sit and chat in as we watch these wonderful pictures in real life. Thank you Frances for sharing. x

    1. Irish Eyes, it gives me such pleasure to share some of New York City with you. Yes, it would be grand to pop into that cafe and order tea (and cake) and chat for hours. Some day.... xo

  18. Oh, what a treat this was, Frances! The color and movement and joy come through so well. Thank you for a wonderful post!

    1. Thank you, Vicki. I just kept clicking away with the camera and hoped to catch some of the spirit of the day. It was helpful to have that digital ability to edit the really blurry shots as the parade continued...for hours! xo

  19. I swear I could hear the music. It must have needed to be well spaced so the styles and tempos didn't clash. I think that chap is carrying irises in his back pack. We are enjoying asparagus too but without the extra showtime!

    1. Yes, Lucille, the parade organizers did a grand job of keeping the dancing groups' sound systems distinct from each other. Mostly! Even when there was a slight overlap every so often, the dancers improvised beautifully.

      I that I've had a closer look, those tightly wrapped buds do look like iris.

      Asparagus is playing a major part in tonight's tortellini supper. Delicious! xo

  20. Amazing dance parade, as if half of New York City was out and about!

    The flowers in the gentleman's backpack look like Siberian Iris about to open their blossoms.

    1. Merisi, the parade was so full of joy and good spirits...and not too regimented...just full of spirit and beautiful movement.

      Thank you for the Siberian Iris id. The Siberian variety is a new one on me. Must visit Mr Google for more info.


  21. What an unexpected treat!
    Wonderfully captured!

  22. Thank you, Elizabeth. I think you'd also have loved the spirit and joy of this parade. I keep wondering how this was its ninth year and I've never heard of it before.

    Next year...let's dance! xo

  23. Such wonderful colourful photos of the dance parade, what amazing sights to see! The costumes, and the flowers and the bright and spectacular, Frances.
    Wishing you a happy week ahead.
    Helen xox

    1. Thank you, Helen. What was so pleasing about this parade was that it was very low key (yes, some of the amplified music was loud, but the atmosphere was low key and friendly.)

      As one of the participants called out, everyone can dance!


  24. What a colourful post Frances! Love every picture from your beautiful city...
    Have a happy week, take care!

    1. I appreciate your visits and comments, Titti, and still cannot quite imagine that we have Manhattan island and your Oland. It's grand, isn't it! xo