The Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee has chosen its grand marshal, and this time they’ve gone local, selecting Dom Castore, chairman of Community Board 11 and a veteran community leader. He will speak at the parade dinner on Friday, October 1 and ride in a convertible at the front of the parade on Sunday, October 10.
“It’s an honor, I’m excited,” Castore said. “This is my neighborhood, this is my blood. I have never been the marshal before. I was asked to do it years ago, but Rudy Macina was very sick at the time, so we had him do it, and then I never asked.”
Macina co-founded the parade along with Castore back in 1977. Castore, now 82, remembered the old days, “The four or five guys that started it with me were great. Now they have passed away, so I’m the last of the Mohicans.”
Tony Signorile, who heads the parade committee, said that in previous years they have selected grand marshals of all different backgrounds, including celebrities like Regis Philbin. This year, however, it was Castore’s time.
“He was overdue,” said Signorile. “This time the local guy gets the prize. He deserves to be honored because if it wasn’t for him, this parade would never exist. He has done a great deal for this community over the years.”
There is also an honorary marshal, and for that role the committee has chosen Charles Sperrazza, the principal of P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti School. Sperrazza was unavailable for comment.
Signorile said that as excited as they are for this year’s Columbus Day Parade — especially since the Morris Park parade was recently christened the second-biggest in the entire state — he is also disappointed over expected cuts to the parade.
“The Mayor has cut all city parades, so ours will be 25% shorter,” he said. “And our parade isn’t five hours like all the parades in Manhattan. Ours is done in three hours. But this year, probably it will be two and a half hours or less. The city cut about 15 blocks.”
Signorile said that because of the enforced cuts, he will have to cut down on floats, not let as many merchants participate, and have fewer marching bands. “It’s a shame,” he said.
Castore is disappointed as well, but still looking forward to it. But what will he talk about when he addresses community members at the annual Parade dinner on the first of October?
“Well, I don’t believe in long speeches,” he said. “I’ll just say whatever’s in my heart.”
©2010 Community News Group