This is definitely not your grandmother’s Easter parade. Sometime in the late 1800’s, churchgoers in their finest Easter bonnets lingered on Fifth Ave. outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, enjoying a mutual display of sartorial elegance.
As the years went by it became it became so popular that it was necessary to close off a number of blocks to traffic so that the huge crowds had space to mingle. In recent years, tens of thousands have filled the blocks between 49th and 57th streets as the bonnets – and everything else – got more creative and more outrageous, rivaling Halloween for spectacle. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the parade was officially off – which was the cue for Christopher Hardwick and Abby Ehmann to kick into gear.
As they did for last summer’s “Renegade Mermaid Parade”, the pair planned a substitute event – the Easter Bonnet Promenade – in Tompkins Square Park to fill the void. Artistic friends showed up in all manner of dress and while we think it’s unlikely that many of them came directly from church, it’s really not about that anyhow.
Carl Saytor, whose wife wore a very impressive bonnet containing live grass, saw it as a celebration of renewal. “The beginning of spring is so much more important this year as we crawl out of our caves,” he mused. ” It’s a double rebirth – we are re-experiencing life and each other.”
Members of the Kostume Kult handed out cupcakes and matzah ball soup, while “Giorgio the Matzah Guy” dispersed unleavened bread ( in other words, matzah ), acknowledging the overlap of Passover. Sydney Oolango, whose fabulous headpiece was an undulating inflatable tube, brought the runway that everyone was welcome to traverse.
Music was provided by DJ Flo Pilot atop Glinda the Good Bus, with performances by Michelle Joni and Lucy Hall. “Thank god Glinda was available ! ” exclaims Hardwick. “Without her it would have been someone playing music through a little bluetooth speaker.”
Hardwick was pleased with the afternoon, also looking at it as a new beginning. “Our goal,” he explained, ” was to create happiness and joy while climbing slowly out of the pandemic.”
Look for similar upcoming events at m.facebook.com/groups/12236147106?group_view_