On with the parade!
The NYPD has granted a permit for the 10th annual Greenpoint Memorial Day Parade after organizers capitulated to the city’s demands to reduce their proposed eight-block route to six-and-a-half blocks.
Members of the St. Stanislaus Memorial American Legion Post were surprised when the city initially rejected their application this year in a citywide budget slashing measure.
In March, police officials demanded that all parades cut their routes by 25 percent — but the American Legion members submitted their initial application with a one-block, or 18.75-percent, reduction in length.
After around-the-clock negotiations between American Legion members and officers from the 94th Precinct, the parade has been rerouted so that it can meet the city’s requirement.
“We lost a block and a half in the amended route,” said American Legion post member and parade founder Rick Kenney. “But we’re happy with that.”
The May 30 parade will begin on Leonard Avenue, in front of the American Legion Post, turn north onto Manhattan Avenue, and stop at St. Anthony’s Church for a memorial mass before returning to the post headquarters for an after party — six and a half blocks long and a brisk 90 minutes in time.
The route, which will skip Driggs Avenue, will be more direct, though not to everyone’s liking.
“Personally, I’m not overjoyed. I feel that our national, state and county commanders should have went to bat on this before the edict came done,” said Don Marshall, a Greenpoint resident and American Legion member. “If it weren’t for the vets, there would be no parades at all.”
Kenney insists it will be long enough to include the scores of sailors and marines from Fleet Week ships, naval sea cadets and air force junior ROTC students who typically participate in the parade, as well as four new marching bands, several antique police cars and a 17-foot Coast Guard boat hitched to a trailer, just for this year.
Most important, the parade will honor Greenpoint’s living veterans and mourn those who have died in battle.
This year, 92 year-old World War II Veteran Pasquali Sperano will be the Grand Marshal. He has vowed to walk the entire distance.
“It’s a big deal to have a WWII veterans. There aren’t many left. You hate to say it, but you may not see it again,” said Kenney.
St. Stan’s Memorial American Legion Post [519 Leonard St. near Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, (718) 383-9822). For info, visit www.ststanspost1771.org.