Today we celebrate Christopher Columbus, honoring his circuitous and serendipitous discovery of America. Columbus Day is officially celebrated on the second Monday in October; this year’s holiday falls on the 12th: the actual day when it’s believed he landed.

I always feel that I should say something appropriately honorific in regard to a man who took so much time and effort to arrive in the New World. However, as Conor Doughtery and Sudeep Reddy state in their excellent article, “the tradition of honoring Christopher Columbus for sailing the ocean blue in 1492 is facing rougher seas than the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.”

Here in New York City, the Columbus Day parade will march as it has been marching every year since 1929 (in the looming shadow of the Great Depression); of late, the bond market will be intentionally closed. Actually, Columbus Day was first celebrated in NYC in 1792 when the city dedicated a monument to his discovery. In 1866, New York City’s Italian immigrants initiated a day of celebrations which were soon mimicked all across the nation. {read more}

Extracts from Columbus’ Journal upon discovering the New World can be found here.