One of the many Memorial Day parades held in New York City, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, instituted in 1927, has grown to become the nation’s largest. In any year, you can usually find New York City’s contingent of Congress members, the New York State governor, New York City mayor, and at least one of the state’s two senators.
The parade actually begins in Great Neck, and spans two municipalities in two counties. A reviewer on Northern Boulevard can expect a full hour and a half of pageantry by sticking to the same (preferably shady) spot. For 2015, the parade honored those who served in the Vietnam War on its 50th anniversary. Mounted members of the 1st Regiment of the US Volunteer Cavalry kicked off the procession this year (pictured above).
Mayor Bill De Blasio as well as State Senator Chuck Schumer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Congresswoman Grace Meng all marched in the 2015 parade.
For Brooklynites not familiar with the area, here’s a little background:
Douglaston and Little Neck are the two “northeasternmost” of Queens’ neighborhoods. They somehow seem carved out of the rather exclusive, definitely monied precincts of the Nassau County towns immediately to the east, Great Neck and Manhasset.
Part of it is their compactness: Both neighborhoods are served by a short shopping strip along Northern Boulevard, and the area’s hilly topography doesn’t lend itself to block upon block of similar-looking ranch houses.
Little Neck and Douglaston’s nature lovers can hike in the semi-rural Udall’s Cove Park, while the Italian restaurants Il Bacco and La Grotta attract patrons from surrounding Long Island neighborhoods. (La Grotta, by the way, is located in the former Little Neck Theatre.)
The Long Island Railroad stops in both Little Neck and Douglaston, whisking visitors and residents to Penn Station within half an hour.
The Matinecock Indians, who occupied Little Neck before the Dutch and English arrived in the Colonial era, were represented in the parade this year. Many descendants of the tribe still reside in Little Neck.
Flags are displayed proudly by members of the New York Police Department’s Emerald Society.
Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, rode in a motorcade. Dozens of vintage automobiles were also part of the march.
Members of Chinese spiritual organizations Falun Gong and Falun Dafa, wearing traditional and colorful outfits, marched near the end of the parade.