Columbus Day 2012: What You Need to Know

NYC parade information, what's open and closed, street closures, expected traffic delays, subway and alternate side information.


Happy Columbus Day! Here's a bit of history as well as practical information for the 2012 holiday, which falls on Oct. 8.



Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus' arrival in the United States.

It became a state holiday in Colorado first, in 1906, and became a federal holiday in 1937. Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage. The first occasion was celebrated in New York City on October 12, 1866.

In recent decades there has been increasing controversy over whether Christopher Columbus should be celebrated as a hero due to his violence towards the Native American population. 

In the United States, Hawaii and South Dakota do not celebrate Columbus Day. Instead, they celebrate Discoverers Day (which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii) and Native Americans Day, respectively.

California,Texas and Florida removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers, while still maintaining it either as a day of recognition or a legal holiday.

Columbus Day is also celebrated in Spain, Uruguay, the Bahamas and many South American countries.


What's Closed:

Government offices, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, are closed. Courts and public schools are also closed. There is no mail delivery.

There is no garbage or recycling collection. If Monday is your regular garbage day, put your garbage out after 4 p.m. If Monday is your regular recycling day, wait until the following week to put out your recyclables.


Alternate Side, Subway, Street Closures and Traffic Delays:

Subways and buses run on a weekday schedule.  

Alternate side parking is suspended. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

If you're planning on driving in Manhattan, the following streets will be closed:

  • 44th-47th streets between Madison and 6th avenues
  • 5th Avenue between 43rd St. and 79th St. 
  • 72-78th Streets between 5th and Madison avenues


The Parade:

The Columbus Day Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. beginning on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and continuing north along Fifth Avenue to 79th Street.

The Columbus Day Parade has been organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation in New York since 1929. Over 35,000 people participate in the parade in New York City. The parade attracts nearly one million spectators and is the largest celebration of Italian-American culture in the world.

Columbus Day mass takes place at St. Patrick's Cathedral (50th Street/Fifth Avenue) at 9:30 a.m.

Charles E. October 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Amy Sara Clark October 08, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Robert, Now that it is Columbus Day, I edited the opening to remove "tomorrow" and noting your point, added the date as well. -Amy
William Hill October 08, 2012 at 10:29 AM
I found this article helpful, many thanks. BTW, Robert not only misspelled exactly, but also the words amateur and Whole. IMO his credibility leaves nothing to be desired. Bill H
Charles E. October 08, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Here's a few historical points: Columbo thought he was in China even after his crew told him otherwise. He was responsible for mass killings (and suicides) among native peoples. He was one of the best navigators. He introduced Europe to tobacco, potatoes etc. He made the trip in six weeks (a speed record).
Amy Sara Clark October 08, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Very interesting Charles, thanks for the information.


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