OCTOBER 20, 2012

Collaboration with Two Bridges Neighborhood Council

CONCEPT, DESIGN, and DIRECTION: Alex Kahn & Sophia Michahelles

SCENIC ARTISTS: Louis Munroe, Stefanie Loeb, Sam Horowitz

VOLUNTEER COORDINATORS: Jessica Scott and John Dyer

PHOTOS from the 2010 Marco Polo Day Parade

(Photos by: Bernard Debarbieu, except where noted)


On a windy Saturday in October 2010, bystanders on New York's Mott Street suddenly found themselves on a journey to the East, as a 50-foot long silk map unfurled above their heads, detailing Marco Polo's trek from Venice to the Court of the Kublai Khan. Leading the way, was a giant figure of Polo himself, flanked by the heraldic banners and floating palazzos of the Venetian Republic. As the map scrolled past, the Great Khan approached, appearing amidst mountain temples and Mongolian tribal standards, held aloft by masked attendants.

The occasion was Marco Polo Day, officially decreed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer last year. MPD was the brain child of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, a non-profit founded in 1958 to foster ties between the communities of Little Italy and Chinatown, and more recently to promote historic preservation and affordable housing in the district. PAW was commissioned by Two Bridges to create a parade to mark the 2nd Annual Marco Polo Day Festival. The event promises to become a new urban tradition, as new elements are added to the parade each year.

This year PAW continued to build on this growing Lower East Side tradition, working with local residents to create the iconic Venetian winged lion at St. Mark's and a 20-foot long dragon drawn from Yuan Dynasty porcelains. Skills abounded as veteran seamstresses and master calligraphers worked alongside local youths to produce phenomenal results for the upcoming parade on October 20. If you would like to learn more about Marco Polo Day or possibly participate in this year's parade, contact Christine Keefe @