When New York celebrated “Columbus Week”

The Columbus Day parade of 2015 is expected to draw a million viewers to the parade route on Fifth Avenue.


That’s peanuts compared to the crowds that turned out for Columbus Day parades of decades past. And it’s nothing compared to the Columbus Day—actually Columbus Week—of 1892, the 400th anniversary of the Italian explorer’s washing ashore in the Caribbean.

Columbus Week 1892 was an all-out party, featured a naval parade up the Hudson, fireworks at the Brooklyn Bridge, displays at various city parks, a Catholic school parade of thousands of kids, and a music festival.


And of course, there was a grand parade, seen here in two images at Union Square. “Many miles of men in the great Columbus procession,” the New York Times wrote in a headline on October 13.

“Streets turned into arbors of bunting—cascades of gay colors everywhere—model work by the police in handling the greatest crowd New-York ever held.”

[Photos: NYPL Digital Gallery]

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3 Responses to “When New York celebrated “Columbus Week””

  1. Tom Hakala Says:

    Great pictures! Thanks! I am going to quibble with the comment that Columbus ‘washed ashore.’ Columbus landed in the Bahamas and then made three more voyages across the fearsome Atlantic to the Americas. He was arguably the greatest explorer of his age, perhaps all time. He knew where he was going – a continent to the east. Yes, he was seeking, and even thought he had found, an eastern extension of Asia. But that’s beside the point. He risked all on a perilous journey into the unknown and made the greatest geographical discovery in world history. Let’s be respectful.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks! Agree with everything you’ve said…it was just an attempt to kid a bit by playing his accomplishments down.

  3. James Says:

    I moved from NY 40 years ago and I remember the great holiday celebrations.

    It’s a shame that the PC crowd has diminished the significence of the day.

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