old_hornet (old_hornet) wrote,

DanceParade 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008.  It was raining when I got up, raining while I worked, and raining when I went to bed.  And yet I was excited all day as any kid could be on Christmas Eve.  Saturday was the Dance Parade, over 4,000 dancers from every walk of life, dancing their hearts out down Broadway.


But I am not a dancer, unless you count a mean Flintstone.  My hobby is making parades.


Being involved with the DanceParade organization has been a great experience from the beginning.  The same dedication it takes to be a dancer was put into making the event a successful day.


Saturday, May 17, 2008, Parade Day.


All of the rain from Friday served to wash the streets and was dried by the time I arrived at 28th and Broadway.  Long before I arrived, the barricades were up all along Broadway.  The sun was shining and it was going to be a great day for a parade.


Volunteer check-in was to start at 9:00am.  I was there at 8:00am.  This is the best part of the day for me during the six or seven parades I get to work.  It is quiet, the calm before the storm, and I get to walk in the middle of the street, without having to look to see who or what is going to hit me, just because I think those red, yellow, and green lights are merely suggestions.


The first volunteer arrived at 8:45.  He was pretty exicted too.  The Executive Board arrived at 9:00am and we were open for business.  The first float arrived at 9:03 and was sent to the staging area to allow them to complete their decoration activities.  Maybe you saw them?  Sound Mind was near the end of the parade and their float was made to look like a jail cell on wheels.


I was too excited when I left Brooklyn and forgot my camera, so I am hoping that Dan and Lindsay from Dancer (www.danceruniverse.com) got plenty of pictures from the day.


Floats arrived throughout the morning and were put into our staging areas on 28th Street between 5th and 6th.  The NYPD officers were very helpful in controlling access to the street.  I did my best to be a good neighbor, allowing local merchants to drive through the mayhem to make quick pick-ups and deliveries.  Good fences (Police barricades) don't necessarily make good neighbors.  By 11:00am, my block was a party.  Music was pounding from the thirty floats, people were dancing in the street, and I was moving floats, cars and trucks into place, trying not to run over anyone.


12:55pm.  Go time.


When I started to move my first vehicle on to Broadway, I realized that the bad habits I have learned as a pedestrian here were common place.  The New Yorkers and tourists had no desire to make way for a large truck pulling a float full of belly dancers coming into the crosswalk.  They couldn't be bothered to wait the 45 seconds it took me to get the vehicle in place.  So I got some help from some volunteers who tried their best to keep the intersection clear as I moved the thirty plus floats into position.


At my drivers meeting, I told them rule number one was not to run over anyone.  It would not look good.  On a side note, on my way home, I saw Liz, the driver from the Amy Marshall Dance Company.  She was walking across St. Marks Place with a friend and was kind enough to remember me.  She told her friend what Rule #1 was.  I was very proud of her.


From an integration (parade talk for putting the groups in order) perspective, the parade went off pretty well.  The groups were in order with a few minor exceptions.  Tze Chun, DanceParade Production Manager did a great job pulling everything together.


My reward for the day was to trail the last unit in the parade, giving back Broadway and 8th Street to the people of New York as I passed.  The last unit was a float from Pasha.  It was filled with dancers and enough loud speakers pumping House music to make the most hardened New Yorkers smile and shake their groove thing.


As I walked the route for the last time, followed by two of New York's Finest, I got to see New York dance.

Tags: dance parade 2008, parade

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