Vivo Columbus! Parade takes 18th Avenue

Vivo Columbus! Parade takes 18th Avenue
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

They don’t call it Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard for nothing!

More than a thousand marchers — and twice as many spectators — converged on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst on Oct. 12 to commemorate one of the most influential Italians in world history.

The 32nd Annual Columbus Day Parade strutted from 60th to 84th streets, and featured a dazzling array of local schools, social clubs, dance troupes, and even bands visiting from Italy — all decked out in red, white, and green.

“It was a great celebration. I though it was just fantastic,” said Father Michael Gelfant of Saint Finbar’s Church on Bath Avenue, one of the parade’s grand marshalls.

Helping Gelfant head up the procession were Principal Josephine Sportella-Giusto of the Academy of Talented Scholars on Avenue P, attorney Luigi Rosabianca, and Lenny Tillman of Lenco Diagnostic on 86th Street. Acting as master of ceremonies from the reviewing stand was Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura.

Scissura argued that the robust demonstration of pride in the Genoa-born explorer flew in the face of the notion that Italian-Americans are abandoning Brooklyn.

“When people say the Italian community is leaving Brooklyn, you come out to this parade, you see a lot of people, and you see a community that’s very vibrant and very proud of their heritage and of being in Brooklyn,” the Bensonhurst native said.

And of course, no Bensonhurst event would be complete without an appearance from Courier-Life’s own Carmine Santa Maria, who has been part of the parade for the past 25 years. The Big Screecher raved that the Federation of Italian-American Organizations — and its secretary Barbara Pascarella in particular — had put together one of the greatest processions on record.

“It was a great effort they put into it,” Santa Maria screeched. “It was one of the best parades I’ve ever seen.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.