New York, NY -- The River to River Festival, presented by American Express, launched today at noon on the Oval Lawn in Battery Park City with an unprecedented feature event called The UnParade. This was the first event in a specially curated, 3-day launch series for the River to River Festival, SITES UNSEEN. No ordinary parade, this was an exciting new direction in street theater. Lower Manhattan set the stage for dozens of musicians, dancers, and performance artists as they wended their way through Downtown’s historic streets.
To kick off the UnParade, a dancing horse performed a pas de huite with two dancers (humans); the outrageous and colorful Hungry March Band, delivered rousing renditions of classic parade songs; and the vibrant Red Dive dancers, performed in their bright orange jumpsuits and white helmets against the back drop of the Hudson River.
For the next two hours, the parade surprised Downtown’s residents, visitors and workers with boom box orchestras, video installations, giant puppets, ukeleles, accordions, trombones, and outrageous inflatables.
Leonard Lopate of WNYC and Stephan Pryor, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), joined William H. Glenn of American Express and Robert Douglas of the Alliance for Downtown New York to launch the parade.
"We are delighted to again be a part of the River to River Festival," said William Glenn, President of American Express Establishment Services. "We are committed to downtown New York, and this year's Festival is a great example of how our neighbors and partners are pulling together to support the economic and cultural development of a special community that has been our home for more than 150 years. The many events of River to River are a terrific opportunity for everyone to enjoy the rich culture and the vibrant community that are at the heart of downtown New York."
“We are very pleased that at the end of the season, River to River will be presenting a new cultural celebration featuring the four cultural institutions that will be located on the World Trade Center site,” said Stefan Pryor, President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funding the celebration. “The Signature Theatre, the Joyce International Theater Foundation, the International Freedom Center, and the Drawing Center will be offering a sneak peek at the exciting role that arts and culture will play in the new downtown. These institutions promise to infuse Lower Manhattan with vitality, and will be a powerful symbol of the hope and resiliency this community has demonstrated throughout the recovery and rebuilding process."
Anna Carbonell, Vice President of Stations Relations at NBC4, said, “NBC4 has always been an integral part of the thriving arts community that makes up our great city. We are therefore proud to join with River to River and again sponsor this unparalled arts festival. Through this partnership, NBC4 and Telemundo 47 will continue to help revitalize Lower Manhattan by bringing the excitement of the festival to tri-state viewers.”
"It's an honor to serve as Grand Marshal of the first-ever UnParade," said WNYC Radio host Leonard Lopate. "WNYC has been a sponsor of River-to-River since the festival's inception. We're proud to continue lending on-air and community support to this great celebration of the arts in Lower Manhattan, a neighborhood WNYC has been a part of for 80 years. I'm certain the UnParade will be an exciting addition to the festival.”
SITES UNSEEN continues tonight with Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew, performed at Pier 17 at South Street Seaport at 8 pm.
Free admission to River to River performance events is underwritten by a wide range of supporters. The lead underwriter is the Festival’s Founding Title Sponsor, American Express. Our Presenting Sponsor is WNBC. Major support is also provided by the Festival’s Producing Sponsors, including CB Richard Ellis, GMC, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Pace University, Pontiac, Starbucks Coffee, T47 Telemundo, and WNYC New York Public Radio. Supporting Sponsors include Century 21 Department Stores, HIP Health Plan of New York, J&R Music and Computer World, JetBlue Airways, Marriott New York Financial Center, Tyco International, and WFUV-FM. Participating Sponsors are Con Edison, New York Water Taxi, Thirteen/WNET New York, and TKTS-Seaport. Philanthropic support comes from Goldman Sachs, The Moody’s Foundation, New York Stock Exchange Foundation, The New York Times, and The Starr Foundation.
For complete event listings, updates, and more information, please visit our website at www.RivertoRiverNYC.com.
A complete list of events and archive of artist and event photographs are available immediately upon request.
UnParade Route & Highlights can be viewed at: www.rivertorivernyc.com/UNPARADE_MAP.pdf