Columbus Day 2018 NYC Parade: Route, Time, How to Stream

 nyc columbus day parade
The annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City, on October 10, 2016. This year, more than 130 groups are expected to march in the parade along Fifth Avenue. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

To mark the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue," the United States designated the second Monday in October Columbus Day, and New York City hosts a parade every year.

The 74th annual Columbus Day Parade will be overseen by Grand Marshal Guy Chiarello, who is the president of First Data Corporation. Parade attendees can catch the beginning of the procession at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street or snag a spot anywhere along Fifth Avenue until 72nd Street. Red carpet performances will also take place on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th streets.

"The parade celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus's 1492 expedition to America and the important contributions of Italian-Americans and other immigrants that followed," the official parade website stated.

 nyc columbus day parade
The annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City, on October 10, 2016. This year, more than 130 groups are expected to march in the parade along Fifth Avenue. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

More than 130 marching groups will make their way along Fifth Avenue, including over a dozen high school bands. Along with high school bands, professional groups from the United States and Italy will join the procession, and traditional folk groups will perform centuries-old dances. An estimated 35,000 people will march in the parade this year, and millions are expected to tune in.

"I've been part of this city for 35 years. I've been an Italian-American, obviously, my whole life," Chiarello told WCBS. "Celebrating this day, not only for Italian-Americans but for all Americans, is just an amazing opportunity."

The parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. EDT, according to Time Out. For those who are unable to make it to the festivities in person, there are multiple ways to catch it from the comfort of your own home. WABC-TV will be covering the event live on television and has set up a stream on its website.

Along with Fifth Avenue, the City of New York Police Department will close a number of streets to traffic from 11:00 a.m. EDT to 3:00 p.m. EDT to accommodate the parade, including:

  • 43rd Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 44th Street between Madison Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 45th Street between Madison Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 46th Street between Madison Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 47th Street between Madison Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 5th Avenue between 72nd Street and 79th Street
  • 72nd Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
  • 73rd Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
  • 74th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
  • 75th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue
  • 76th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue
  • 77th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue
  • 78th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue
  • 60th Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 62nd Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 63rd Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 64th Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 68th Street between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 69th Street between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 70th Street between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue

While the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hosts the parade, uses the day to celebrate the achievements and history of Italian-Americans, Columbus Day has become a contentious holiday for others. Some argue that it celebrates the enslavement and conquering of Native Americans, who were living on the land first.

Columbus Day was first celebrated in 1892 when then-President Benjamin Harrison was in office. More than 100 years later, some cities across the United States have opted to ditch Columbus Day and celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead.

Last year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a commission to study monuments, including a statue of Columbus, to determine if any of them were "symbols of hate." The commission was created in September; when de Blasio arrived at the Columbus Day Parade, attendees booed him. Ultimately the statue was allowed to stay.

"I don't get wrapped up in the controversy. American is the greatest country in the world," Chiarello told WCBS. "It represents freedom, and everybody has to have their own heritage and beliefs."

Columbus Day 2018 NYC Parade: Route, Time, How to Stream | U.S.