Columbus Day. It is a holiday that is often overlooked on our calendars. Some states (California, Nevada, and Hawaii) don’t recognize it as a public holiday and others (South Dakota) have modified it to celebrate our Nation’s indigenous people. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, Columbus Day has become practically obsolete in the modern calendar.
In New York City, however, it is a holiday with deep roots that is steeped in tradition. In 1929, an Italian-American businessman named Generoso Pope wanted to celebrate the cultural significance of his people and honor the man whose accomplishments were undeniably instrumental in the shaping of this nation. On October 12, he led a parade from East Harlem to Columbus Circle and organized a fund-raising dinner to ensure the continued achievement of immigrants from all over the world. These initial festivities have snowballed into the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture. New York’s annual Columbus Day Parade is broadcast on six continents and the following Gala Dinner continues to commemorate the strong ties that bind America and Italy. Italians from both here and abroad continue to flock to the Big Apple for Columbus Day and prove to the rest of the Nation that this is one holiday that still has a pulse.
While most of the Columbus Day action is happening in Midtown, the ubiquitous presence of Italian-Americans can be found in almost all of Manhattan’s neighborhoods. While Little Italy may be the first to come to mind, Wall Street certainly boasts its share of heavy hitters. Richard Grasso, for example, served as chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange from 1995 to 2003 and was a key player in the resumption of business post-September 11.
New York has always been a city that lauds the achievements of all of the cultural groups that make it so wonderfully diverse. In the spirit of diversity, why not spend a portion of your Columbus Day holiday enjoying the sights and sounds of Lower Manhattan on a Wall Street Walks tour? Learn about the historical contributions of Italy and other countries all over the world and see Lower Manhattan from an entirely new perspective. Schedule your Wall Street walking tour today!
HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!