Oct. 9, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The annual Queens Columbus Day parade took place in Astoria on Saturday, Oct. 7, and it was well attended despite the heavy rain.
The parade, now in its 45th year, celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492. It also coincides with Columbus Day, a federal holiday that takes place on the second Monday of October every year to mark Columbus’ arrival. Columbus went ashore at Guanahaní, an island in the Bahamas.
The Queens Columbus Day parade is organized annually by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Queens (FIAOQ), a nonprofit group that seeks to promote and preserve Italian-American heritage throughout the borough. It also provides immigration services and civic classes. Astoria is known for having a large Italian-American population.
Rain-soaked marchers departed from Kaufman Astoria Studios, a film studio located at 34-12 36th St., and marched north through the heart of Astoria until they reached Columbus Triangle, a small public space next to the Astoria Boulevard station and bordered by Astoria Boulevard South, Hoyt Avenue South and 33rd Street.
The space contains a statue of Christopher Columbus, which was erected in 1941. A wreath was laid at the bottom of the statue to honor Columbus.
This year’s grand marshal was Clemente Lopes, who is the principal of I.S. 010 Horace Greeley, a middle school located at 45-11 31st Ave. in Astoria. He led the march with Judge Jerry Iannece, the parade’s chairperson, and Thomas Principe Esq., a former parade grand marshal. Angie Markham, the executive director of FIAOQ also attended the parade.
Participants in the parade also included members of the NYPD’s police band, and the Junior Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at Aviation High School, an aviation high school located at 45-30 36th St.