Planning for Little Neck parade takes big step forward

By Kelsey Durham

The new group of organizers who have volunteered to take over the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade met again Wednesday night to continue pulling together the details of the 87th annual event scheduled to take place in May.

Members of the community gathered at the Community Church of Little Neck with the United War Veterans Council, which has agreed to bring its experience in parade-planning to the borough to help the community start from scratch this year. After several committees were formed last week, the neighborhood volunteers named Douglas Montgomery and Charlie McBride as the two chairmen to oversee the planning operations and the groups began to organize specifics.

Geraldine Spinella, a former parade board member who is leading the new finance committee, said the volunteers have started looking at how much money is needed for this year’s parade and how it can be raised. She said there are two fund-raisers currently being planned on April 16 and May 4 to bring in money.

“We think we need about $30,000 for this parade,” she said. “We have a few thousand in donations already and I think we’ll see more in the coming weeks.”

The group decided to set the parade’s theme around the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which comes up this summer, and it already has a few World War II veterans in mind to name as the grand marshals, who will be honored during the parade. The chairmen said they are still looking for a woman who served in the war and for a veteran who was stationed in the Pacific to add to this year’s honorees.

The parade also has a new website, lndmemorialday.org, that residents can visit for information about the May 26 ceremony, and Montgomery said he was able to get the old phone number that led to the information hotline, at 718-279-3200.

Vince McGowan, founding president of the UWVC, said he thinks the parade has gained a considerable amount of support in the last few weeks despite initial rumors that it would not be taking place, and he thanked the community for coming together to save the tradition.

“We are simply the stewards here,” he said. “The neighborhood owns this and we just feel compelled to help, but the community has obviously spoken and the future is that we’re going to have a parade.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.