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New Yorkers celebrate Columbus Day while more US cities drop it

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-10-09 10:09
New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo and participants march down Fifth Avenue during the annual Columbus Day parade on October 8, 2018 in New York City. [Photo/VCG]

NEW YORK - Gloomy overcast skies on Monday did not stop thousands of people, mostly Italian-Americans, to march up the iconic Fifth Avenue of New York City to celebrate Columbus Day, which marks the landing of the Italian-born explorer Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean in 1492.

The heart of midtown Manhattan was shut down for the 74th annual Columbus Day parade included bands, floats, performers and 35,000 marchers. And over a million people were estimated to have lined the streets -- from 44th to 72nd street, to watch the festivities that "celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus's expedition" and "the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States," according to the organizers.

"My grandparents were from Italy and I was raised with that heritage and the Italians believe in what New Yorkers believe in - education, discrimination of none, opportunity for all," said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo who marched in the parade.

However, Columbus, Ohio, the largest city named for Christopher Columbus, has called off its observance of the federal holiday this year.

Majorettes march during the 74th Annual Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, New York, US, October 8, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Mayor Andrew Ginther of Columbus recently announced that the city will stay open on Monday (during Columbus Day). The city of 860,000 would instead go on holiday for Veterans Day on November 12.

The Ohio's capital city joined a growing list of US states and cities that do not recognize Columbus Day and either recognize other holidays or practice non-observance.

In recent decades, Native Americans and other groups have protested the celebration of the Columbus Day and called for replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day in an effort to recognize the damage of colonialism in the Americas.

Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont have officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, as cities include Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Cincinnati.

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