New York Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams were front and center for Monday's annual Columbus Day parade - even though the city's leader posted messages backing both sides in the debate over what should be honored on the holiday.
The 79th parade is a chance for to celebrate Italian-American heritage and the legendary explorer with plenty of groups, Maseratis and revelry on display along Fifth Avenue.
However, some have pushed to ditch Columbus Day for Indigenous People's Day because of the legendary explorer's treatment of natives when he arrived in the West.
Adams seemed to play both sides in social media messages.
'The story of Italian immigrants is New York City's story. Our Italian-American community has contributed so much, from arts and culture to the determined, working class spirit that built our very city,' he said in a short video posted online.
Moments earlier, the mayor posted about a separate video stating '#IndigenousPeoplesDay is a call for us to mend our broken history and embrace our indigenous and native brothers and sisters upon whose ancestral land we live.
New York Mayor Eric Adams was seen marching in the streets as he waved around the Italian flag and waved at people
Governor Kathy Hochul stood tall on a float and marched as she waved a flag around as well as she interacted with the crowd
Floats and Maseratis lined the streets as members of the Italian American community stayed out for hours on end
Adams didn't speak at the parade, neither did Governor Kathy Hochul. But both were present.
Hochul stood tall on a float and marched as she waved a flag around.
Every year, thousands of people come together to celebrate Italian-American heritage, dressed in red, white and green, waving Italian flags around as they marched the streets.
The parade began on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and continued north to 72nd Street after a mass was held at Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
Floats and Maseratis lined the streets as members of the Italian-American community stayed out for hours on end.
'Italian Americans have done so much to build the city of New York and I think we all definitely benefit from Italian culture whether we are conscious of it or not, between art, food, music, everything else,' said Beth Paretta, CEO or Paretta Motorsports.
Lenny Mancuso from Long Island told CBS New York: 'What people don't realize is that Italians have had an influence in the development and growth of the United States since colonial times. We helped write the Declaration of Independence, in every field that you can think of.'
Columbus Day is meant to highlight Italian Christopher Columbus's journey to discovering the West. But, in recent years, there has been a push to downplay his place in history and remove the holiday named for him because of the treatment of Indigenous people.
'As an Italian-American, Columbus Day will always hold a special place in my heart and no amount of woke madness will take that away,' a statement from the Italian Caucus of New York and NYC Councilwoman Vickie Paladino read.
'I will continue to celebrate Columbus Day proudly and I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues in the Italian Caucus in opposing the erasure of the Italian History in America.'
Indigenous People's Day has been around since 1977 when it was first introduced at a United Nations conference, and for the past three years, it has shared the same day with Columbus Day following a 2021 federal proclamation from President Joe Biden.
Many communities now celebrate Indigenous People's Day, or both holidays, on the same day. Pictured: People gathered for the 202 Indigenous People's celebration in New York City
In response to the findings of what the Italian explorer did on his journey, his federal holiday has been questioned for the past quarter century due to his mistreatment of Indigenous people. Pictured: A man defacing a Columbus statue in Miami
Adams came out for this parade after he failed to appear at the pro-Palestine rally in Times Square on Sunday
Columbus was born in Geno, which is now part of Italy, in 1451. The Italian explorer is idolized by many for representing their heritage each year on the second Monday in October.
Spanish rulers, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand approved and funded his journey, but what they did not authorize were the indigenous people that he abducted and enslaved.
'His first trip had been rushed, he told the monarchs, but on his next he was sure he could amass “slaves in any number they may order,"' Columbus allegedly said, according to a new op-ed from the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby.
In a 1975 essay from American Heritage, Edward T. Stone wrote that 'Columbus captured a large number of indigenous men, women, and children, sending them back as cargo in 12 ships to be sold in the slave market at Seville.'
At least 14 states and 130 cities in the US have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. Columbus, Ohio, named for the explorer, has even changed the holiday to recognize Indigenous people.
Massachusetts has become a hotbed for the Columbus Day vs. Indigenous People's Day debate.
Native American activists and supporters take the day and make it their own as more than 300 cities and towns across Massachusetts alone have set out to honor their community.
But, the state government has yet to make the switch. A bill is pending to make the change to Indigenous People's Day, according to The Boston Herald.
'This bill basically disregards the contributions of Italian American people,' said State Representative Jeffrey Turco, D-19th Suffolk.
Danielle DeLuca co-founded Italian Americans for Indigenous People's Day and has led efforts to drop Columbus Day since 2016 and instead use it to celebrate other Italian Americans.
'We believe that Indigenous Peoples Day should be its own holiday. It should not stand alongside Columbus Day. It should not stand alongside Italian Heritage Day.
'We cannot celebrate Italian Americans on a day that is honoring Columbus. You just cannot celebrate a perpetrator of genocide and victims of genocide on the same day,' DeLuca said.