UPPER EAST SIDE — Throngs of people waving Italian flags crowded Fifth Avenue for a glimpse of the 69th Annual Columbus Day Parade Monday.
Marching bands, floats and dignitaries including Governor Andrew Cuomo joined in the parade, waving and greeting onlookers.
John and Gina Broetsky of Yonkers were waiting for their 14-year-old daughter Julianna who was riding on a float in the parade for the first time.
"[She is] very proud of her mom's side," John Broetsky said about the family's Italian ancestry. "It's a nice story where they did well and their kids moved up."
Mia DiPrete, 5, was enjoying a day off from P.S. 87 with her mom while soaking up the parade.
DiPrete said she liked the "cheerleaders" and the Sea Wolf SUNY Stony Brook mascot that had come jogging down 5th Avenue, pointing at the crowd.
But she also had some constructive criticism for the organizers.
"It's loud," she said, much to the surprise of her mother, Martha DiPrete, who joked that she was maybe a little too young to be making such complaints.
Politics also worked its usual way into the parade.
Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota marched and then took time to speak with reporters at the end of the parade route on 72nd Street.
When asked about his strategy for Tuesday's debate he answered simply, "To win."