On Saturday, October 20th from 12 Noon – 4:00 PM, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will host the 10th Annual Marco Polo Festival Procession and Grand Street Stage Performances. Witness the breathtaking procession of large-scale Marco Polo and Kublai Khan marionettes and the magnificent hand-painted 50 foot long Silk Road banner parade through the streets of Chinatown & Little Italy by local youth, volunteers, students & teachers from P.S.105.
The pageant procession ends at the Grand Street Stage where a unique combination of music and cultural performances takes place. Programming includes traditional Chinese & Italian Opera, folk dances, contemporary Chinese & Italian instrumental performances, and new since 2017, traditional Mongolian instrumental & dance performances!
Since 2009, the Marco Polo Festival interprets the story of the encounter between the famed Venetian merchant-traveler, Marco Polo (1254-1294), as a parallel of the historic encounter and lived experiences of the Chinese & Italian immigrants on Mott and Mulberry Streets during America’s most important period of immigrant history. Now in its tenth year, the Marco Polo Festival serves as the preeminent New York City occasion to celebrate the rich heritage of Asian American & Italian American history and culture.
The pageant, which will feature giant marionettes of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, begins at
12 Noon in front of the Chinatown Consolidated Benevolent Association at 62 Mott Street, and will wind its way through Mott and Mulberry Streets to Grand Street followed by an array of cultural programs and performances the rest of that afternoon on the Grant Street stage. More than twenty local youth from the Two Bridges Basketball Program have volunteered their time outside of school to practice the pageant choreograph. Rehearsals are directed and led by dancer & choreographer Belinda Adam.
The year’s dinner festivities once again include the bestowing of the Marco Polo Ambassador Awards, where exceptional local leaders are honored in recognition of their outstanding contributions towards the promotion of harmony, goodwill, and cooperation to the two communities of Chinatown and Little Italy. We are thrilled to report that this year’s honorees are Mr. John C. Liu, 43rd New York City Comptroller and 2018 NY State Senate Candidate; posthumously Mr. Jerry Gottesman, Edison Properties and Ms. Annette Criscitelli, DaNico Restaurant; and Fr. Raymond Nobiletti, Transfiguration Church. For the second year, we are presenting a Cultural Exchange Scholarship endowment to a New York City public school, and this year the scholarship is awarded to P.S. 126 Manhattan Academy of Technology.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.
Each year the Marco Polo Festival brings together families and friends for an exciting, entertaining week of music, festivities and food from both the Italian and Chinese community. The festival invokes the story of the Silk Road, and interprets the story of the encounter between the famed Venetian merchant-traveler, Marco Polo (1254-1324), and the innovative Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan (1215- 1294), as a parallel of the historic encounter and lived experiences of the Chinese & Italian immigrants on Mott and Mulberry Streets during America’s most important period of immigrant history.
To illuminate the common heritage and shared future of two of New York City’s most iconic immigrant communities, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council spearheaded the successful nomination of the Chinatown & Little Italy Historic District to the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2009. To date, the district remains New York City’s only National Register Historic District that recognizes two unique cultural communities.
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