In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it
You’ll be the grandest fella in the Easter Parade
I’ll be all in clover and when they look us over
We’ll be the proudest couple in the Easter Parade
—from Easter Parade, 1948, by Irving Berlin (1888–1989)
A gaggle of white paper curls formed the hat that was my favorite at the Parade. It was not made by the wearer but was a gift from a stranger on Fifth Avenue. Festive attire and mild weather combined to make this year’s annual Easter Parade a joy attend.
I, too, was the recipient of kind generosity. A man was walking through the crowd offering this hat, made from question-and-answer cards to the board game Trivial Pursuit. I gladly accepted.
This colorful paper hat, most of it trailing down the wearer’s back, was another freebee from the same not-so-mad hatter.
Although not a free, hand-out hat, this white top hat, with a white satin band, is made of paper. Worn at a rakish angle, the hat has an intricate cut-out pattern, making it eye-catching.
Members of the New York Police Department, New York’s finest, were out in force. Not only did the officers’ presence help to reassure Parade-goers, they entered into the photo-posing spirit. Everyone is quite game for having their photo taken when asked.
A father hammers home a point to his son with his foam hammer head hat. The boy responded on cue. It was very cute!
This group of women, dressed in 1940s vintage clothing, told me they dress this way every day! I am skeptical. Hats were de rigueur for every woman and every man dating back to the late 1950s.
This fellow is quite the dapper dandy with his boutonniere, walking stick and spectator shoes. In 19th-century France he would have been called un boulevardier, strutting about dressed to the nines.
With their gray top hats and winged collars, these fellows look as if they belong at Royal Ascot, rather than Fifth Avenue’s Easter Parade.
The exact inspiration for this costume is unclear; but I see the influence of the ancient Aztecs at work.
The amount of time and effort devoted to these costumes must have been tremendous. The father, with his daughter seated on his shoulders, certainly would have had sore muscles the next day.
It was a simply elegant statement: an inverted Easter basket with flowers sprouting from the bottom, now the top of the basket!
Contrasting looks: He is dressed very classically; she, though tasteful, has an edge in both coloring and style.
Yet another study in contrasts: His basic baseball cap and simple suit allow her blue feathered headdress and jewelry to stand out.
It is good fun when a group coordinates its hats to make a strong statement. The fellow’s lively print jacket added a festive touch.
The simple boater is a welcome sight. To think that this was once standard head gear for men in the spring and summer in New York is difficult to wrap one’s head around in today’s hat-free society.
The ubiquitous rabbit ears get a stylish twist with these over-sized black-and-white plaid versions, worn by these bunny boyfriends.
Mr. Bunny cannot hide behind his shades. Attached to a simple, contrasting black straw hat, his ears, mimicking the pointed NeoGothic arches of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, give him away.
More bunnies: this time topping flower-decorated basket hats.
Very creative: on a bed of silk flowers, bunnies form the entourage, carrying and attending the bunny princess in the sedan chair.
Appearing as if she is a visitor from another land (and she may be!), this woman was a bright and exotic addition to the day.
Baby’s crocheted bonnet is as simple as mommy and daddy’s are elaborate; but baby may have designs on mommy’s hat.
Wigs of fuchsia and white support flowers, carrots and bunny ears. Again, some hid behind sunglasses. Who could they be?
This family celebrates with chapeaux, each just a bit different from the other. Rockefeller Center, where this family was snapped, is part of the parade ground along with Fifth Avenue to 57th Street.
This group chose a garden theme. An amusing touch: the butterfly on the little girl’s hat moved its wings when she pulled a string.
Feathers and flowers formed the hats for this trio.
This well-coordinated couple brings to life the phrase, “Nothing says spring like forsythia” with branches of that delicate yellow flower sprouting from her head and his blazer’s pocket.
Another group gathered to delight the photographers with fun bonnets made from gift-bag headbands, worn at a jaunty angle.
When this man says, “I’ll eat my hat,” he can, because the brim and the crown are covered in multicolored jelly beans!
The Easter lily never looked as good, springing from a classy top hat.
There were so many bunny impersonators at the Easter Parade; but here is the real deal. Mr. Bunny may eat his handler’s hat!
Bunny-eared lumber jacks rolled onto Fifth Avenue ready to chop down some trees and yell, “Timber!” In many ways the Easter Parade has become a springtime version of Halloween; it is an opportunity to dress in costume, give folks some laughs, and have fun.
A colorful, bejeweled duo, one wearing a simple straw hat and the other with a more elaborate one; but all is in the spirit of the season.
A family of four sports well-coordinated, garden-inspired bonnets as they stand on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
For a look at photos from New York’s Easter Parades of the past two years, and to read a bit of this event’s history, click these links, Easter Parade 2015 and In Your Easter Bonnet to past postings.
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT, EXCEPT NOTED QUOTES, © THE AUTHOR 2016