The Bronx Columbus Day Parade marched Sunday without the mayor amid controversy over Christopher Columbus's status as an American historical figure.
The Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee did not invite Mayor Bill de Blasio to the event, saying he did not take a strong enough position to protect the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.
De Blasio's Italian pride has been questioned lately, ever since he created a commission to examine "symbols of hate" around the city.
The group is meeting Tuesday for the first time and it may debate the fate of statues like the Columbus Circle one. The mayor has refused to say whether he thinks it should come down.
Local people said they supported the committee's decision.
"If you're not supporting our community, we're not going to stand behind you and support yours," one man said. "This definitely sends a message, this is a big community, and our vote counts too over here."
"I felt maybe the mayor, with all due respect to him, he could've put his feet down and said from the beginning, 'We're going to leave history the way it is, this is all part of history,'" said Tony Signorile, the president of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee.
Several elected officials — and some of de Blasio's mayoral opponents — attended the parade, which marches 18 blocks up from the Van Nest area to Williamsbridge.
Critics of Columbus say the Italian explorer's slaughter and abuse of Native Americans means the statue should come down.
The annual parade celebrates Italian-American heritage, and will be followed by a concert Sunday night.