Sunday, June 28, 2015

Where's the Parade?

The Saturday parades are over for a while. This weekend, the action is at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, where the Hudson River Exchange is drawing an impressive crowd. But two parades, on consecutive weekends in June, inspired Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) to suggest at the last Common Council meeting that parades should happen someplace other than Warren Street, offering Columbia and Union as possible alternatives. His reason was that parades closed down the street for most of the day and prohibited business. 

There is photographic evidence that parades in the past have gone down streets other than Warren. There is this picture from the 1930s of a Fourth of July parade heading west on Columbia Street.

Of course, there's no way of knowing that this parade didn't make a left turn at Park Place and then head down Warren Street just as the Flag Day Parade does today.

Then there are these pictures of a parade in 1917, for the purpose of inspiring support for U.S. involvement in the war in Europe (World War I) and encouraging people to buy Liberty Bonds. In this parade, the marchers are heading west on Union Street.

In this case, too, the fact that the pictures of the parade were taken in the 400 block of Union Street doesn't mean that the parade was confined to Union Street. A parade two years later, in September 1919, which celebrated the victorious end of the Great War and welcomed the veterans home, followed a route that involved almost every street in Hudson. Called the "Monster Street Parade," its route, which began at the Armory, is described in the booklet commemorating the Welcome Home Celebration.
Up State to 6th, over 6th to Gifford Place to Columbia to Green, out Green to Frederick, through Frederick to Columbia to Eighth to Warren, down Warren to 6th, over 6th to Union, down Union to West Court, over West Court to Allen, down Allen to 3rd, over 3rd to Warren, down Warren to Front, down Front to New York Central station where the column will countermarch to Warren, up Warren to Park Place where the column will disband without form.
Such an elaborate route didn't seem to be reserved for celebrating victories in global conflicts. The parade on Memorial Day, which until the advent of the Flag Day parade as we know it today was the biggest parade in Hudson, took a similarly circuitous route. Here is the description of the route of the Memorial Day parade in 1911, as it appeared in the Hudson Evening Register. The parade started at the Armory.
Down State to Fourth, over Fourth to Warren street, up Warren to Park Place, over Park Place to Columbia street, up Columbia street to Cedar Park Cemetery.
On the return from the cemetery the line of march will be down Prospect avenue to Warren street, down Warren to Fifth street, over Fifth to the armory, where the column will be dismissed.
The question of rerouting the parades was taken up at the Common Council Legal Committee meeting last Wednesday night. In introducing the topic, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who chairs the committee, mused, "If we decide Columbia Street is where you want the parades to go, the City might spruce up the street." Alderman Tiffany Garriga, who is not on the Legal Committee but was present in the audience, wanted State Street added to the list of possible alternatives, noting that a lot of people live on State Street.

Alderman Bart Delaney (Fifth Ward) declared that he was "totally against moving the parades off Warren Street," recalling that in his lifetime Warren Street has always been the route of the Flag Day parade. Alderman Rick Rector made the point that there were only three parades that actually shut down Warren Street: Flag Day, Pride, and Inspection Day. Haddad adamantly maintained that, with only sixteen Saturdays in the summer season, losing three was substantial.

Friedman defined the dilemma: wanting to help people "who have invested their life savings in their businesses," while at the same time wanting to showcase Hudson's main street "because it's an architectural masterpiece." Council president Don Moore declared himself in favor of considering rerouting the parades. "Warren Street is our tax base. Protecting our tax base is what it's about. We have a business sector that needs protecting and that needs considering."

No decision on the matter was made, and it was suggested that this was a discussion that required input from business owners as well as the rest of the community.


  1. In recent weeks we've also heard legitimate grumbles from business owners over disruptions to business due to movie-making.

    When city streets are closed down with little or no notice, as alleged, why shouldn't businesses expect compensation for lost opportunities? That's the way it's done elsewhere.

    The city depends on the success of businesses and owes them an explanation of the policy (if there is one).

  2. In years past I recall many business owners asking why parades take place in the afternoon, and not in the morning. Why not take place sometime around 10-11am before most businesses are open.

    Personally, I like that the Pride parade only closes parking on the north side of Warren, yet allows parking to return along Warren at 3pm. Flag day allowed parking to return at 6pm.

    DPW was painting new parking spots along Warren on Wednesday when most businesses are closed. I think the new paint looks great.

  3. move the Pride Parade to the evening. merchants would still have their day, it doesn't get dark until nine. the festivities on this parade past ended at 6PM with the waterfront still wanting. for those with sensibilities about adult themes being around young children, it's evening - leave the kids home if you're sensitive. it will be cooler in the evening, parades in the sun can be torture. besides, sequins look best at night, under the lights.

  4. I don't know why my comments have not been getting to Carole, but here's my two cents..Years ago, the Memorial Day parade was the biggie and we lined up at 8:30, stepped off at 9 and marched UP Warren to Park Pl, then around the corner to Green and up to Union Tpk (Rt 66), turning the corner and on to Paul Ave and then the cemetery,,,A ceremony was given to honor the military who fought for our freedom..The parade didn't take more than and hour or so, on Warren at least.

    Let't not change tradition...

    As I recall there was a fireman's parade sometime during the summer...The Flag Day parade wasn't much of a parade back then compared to Memorial Day.

  5. Quick question...why does the Pride Parade have to take place the following weekend after Flag Day?...Can't there be a space between them like a month or so and perhaps some of this issue could be alleviated. And why can't the time of the parades be at non peak business hours? If that's such a problem to merchants?

    Keep the parades on Warren Street where they belong. Parades draw people.. Moving them to "side" streets would be a big mistake..They need to be on the main thoroughfare. For heaven's sake,how many are there a summer? They draw people to town and give our city a "community" feeling.