The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will host their 9th Annual Marco Polo Festival celebrating Chinatown and the Little Italy historic district. Festivities include a grand procession of marionette puppets as well as Italian and Chinese cultural performances.
On Saturday, October 21st from 11:00 am- 3:00 pm, the special relationship between the Italian American and Chinese communities will be celebrated. Now its ninth year, the Marco Polo Festival serves as the preeminent New York City occasion to celebrate the rich heritage of Italian and Asian history and culture. At 11:00 am, 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 and Little Italy by local youth and musicians. The procession starts at 62 Mott Street. The pageant procession ends at the Grand Street stage where a unique combination of music and cultural performances takes place. Programming includes traditional Italian and Chinese opera, folk dances and contemporary Italian and Chinese instrumental performances. Featured performances will be by the Red Mike Festival Band, New York Chinese Opera Society, Allison Scola, Corin Lee and the Mary Mandolin Trio. The festival is free and open to the public. No tickets are required and the event will be held rain or shine.
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 and 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 and 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. Two Bridges Neighborhood Council (TBNC) has been dedicated to serving the many neighborhoods of Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1955.