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TRAVELING IN STYLE : Correspondents' Choice : HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S SPRING?

March 07, 1993|John J. Goldman, New York bureau | Six Times correspondents from around the world identify the harbingers of the season in cities they have covered.

IN NEW YORK CITY

THE ANNUAL FIFTH AVENUE EASTER PARADE IS NEW YORK CITY'S DEFINITIVE symbol of spring. On Easter Sunday (April 11 this year) in Manhattan, thousands of people stroll along Fifth Avenue, wearing gravity-defying hats embellished with toy rabbits, plastic eggs, stuffed hens, false flowers and fake grass. Strollers in jogging outfits mix with striders in top hats and tails. Jugglers, street musicians, break-dancers and an occasional mime add to the spectacle. Vendors, keeping an eye out for police, hawk imitations of expensive watches.

The spectacle originated decades ago when elegant parishioners began walking along Fifth Avenue in their finery after services in Manhattan churches. Immortalized by Irving Berlin with his hit song "Easter Parade," it begins at 11 a.m. near St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Inevitably, near St. Patrick's, tourists puzzled by the absence of floats and marching bands will stop a cop and ask, "Where's the parade?" And with a practiced smile, the officer will reply, "Start walking. You're part of it."

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