Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Monday, October 12, 1998

Release #475-98

Contact: Colleen Roche/Jennifer Chait (212) 788-2958


54th Columbus Day Parade Kicks Off at Noon

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani this morning welcomed members of the Italian American community to a breakfast celebrating the 54th Annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City. The Parade's theme "A Salute to the Italian Immigration Experience; An American Success Story," celebrates the important contributions of New Yorkers of Italian descent. The Parade will feature a special performance by Broadway actress Deborah Gibson.

Joining the Mayor at today's breakfast were Columbus Citizens Foundation Parade Chairman Frank Fusaro, Consul General Franco Mistretta, Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange and Grand Marshall Richard Grasso, Ms. Gibson and Administration for Children's Services Commissioner Nick Scoppetta.

"I am pleased to welcome you to Gracie Mansion to celebrate the Columbus Day Parade in New York City," Mayor Giuliani said. "Since the time Christopher Columbus discovered America, Italians have been shaping the culture of our City, State and Nation. Italians came here to build better lives for themselves and their families, and they worked hard to see that dream come true. It is impossible to travel the City's streets, to read about its history, to look at its buildings, to experience the cultural life of the City, its theater, its music and opera, without seeing the many contributions that Italians have made.

"As we celebrate Columbus Day today, it goes without saying that Italians have given their talents to every imaginable field of endeavor in the Capital of the World," the Mayor continued. "And as the third Italian-American mayor of the City of New York, I look forward to the celebration of Columbus Day, a day in which we honor this rich heritage."

The Mayor will join Governor George Pataki, Senator Alfonse D'Amato, and Grand Marshall Richard Grasso, Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, Inc and more than 60,000 people to march in the celebration that includes marching bands, school children and colorfully-decorated floats.

This year, the Parade's theme "A Salute to The Italian Immigration Experience; An American Success Story," chronicles the struggle of the first Italians to call New York City home, to their present-day successful lives in politics, business, medicine, education and law.

The Columbus Day Parade will begin at noon and will travel along Fifth Avenue from 45th Street to 79th Street.

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