BY JAMES FARRELL
Thousands hit the streets of northeast Queens to celebrate the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade—which is the largest in the nation—on May 29.
The overcast weather didn’t deter the crowds—the parade has persisted, rain or shine, every year for 90 years, and this year was no exception.
The parade featured a slew of high schools, civic groups and different branches of the city’s Fire and Police departments marching along Northern Boulevard before massive crowds of Queens residents waving American flags.
The march’s guests of honor included Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld, who was chosen by the parade committee as the Woman of the Year, and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside), who was Man of the Year. A number of elected officials representing Queens at the federal, state and city level—including Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Tom Suozzi (D-Little Neck), and City Council members Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens)—turned out for the parade, which also included a performance by the United States Air Force’s band, the Blue Aces.
For many in the community, the parade is a fixture. Ramazan Ay is the owner of the Kebab House, a Turkish restaurant on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck that is located along the parade route. His restaurant has been in the community for 20 years, and he said that he’s always enjoyed standing outside to watch it pass.
His young daughter Berfin, clutching an American flag, agreed.
“Memorial Day is the best day ever,” she said. “You can celebrate soldiers!”
On Sunday and Monday, the borough also celebrated Memorial Day with parades in Maspeth, College Point, Whitestone, Laurelton and Woodside.