By The Daily Mail
A new collection of vintage photographs reveal the pomp and circumstance of New York's Easter Parade decades ago, with hundreds and thousands of spectators - including the rich and famous - using it as occasion to model the latest fashions.
In one black-and-white image, dated 1948, screen stars Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are seen strolling along in top hats, cravats and striped blazers with canes to hand. While another captures billionaire oil magnate John D. Rockefelle Jr. on his way to church dressed in his Sunday best.
Joining the A-star line-up is a 15-year-old Judy Garland riding in a horse and cart wearing furs. Ironically, nine years later she would be responsible for immortalizing Manhattan's famous pageant by staring in Irving Berlin's hit film Easter Parade opposite Fred Astaire.
Star smile: Joining the A-star line-up is a 15-year-old Judy Garland riding in a horse and cart wearing furs in 1939. Ironically, nine years later she would be responsible for immortalizing Manhattan's famous pageant by staring in Irving Berlin's hit film Easter Parade opposite Fred Astaire
Other 'celebrity sightings' at the event during the mid-20th centurt included TV comedian Milton Berle, screen star Bette Davis and surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, who first visited New York in 1934.
The event, which takes place on Easter Sunday, started out as a spontaneous event in the 1870s and soon became an annual tradition.
By the 1950s it had an attendance rate of close to one million and other cities developed their own versions. Philadelphia and Boston were among these, as were Coney Island and Atlantic City, where the parades became tourist attractions.
By the mid-20th century, the parade's religious aspects had faded, and it was mostly seen as a demonstration of American prosperity. It reportedly only attracted 30,000 bystanders in 2008.
In 1988, Albert Baragwanath, a then senior curator at the Museum of the City of New York, told the New York Times that the parade's decline in popularity was due to a 'general decline in the refinements of life'.
He continued: 'I feel that the whole elegance of Fifth Avenue has deteriorated. The elegantly dressed people aren't there anymore.'
However, the event remains on the calendar and is less about style and more about having fun.
This year the area along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets will be closed to cars from 10am to 4pm to make ways for the annual parade of Easter bonnets and costumed pets.
Swagger: Dean Martin (left) and Jerry Lewis attracted much attention in the Easter parade on Fifth Avenue when they appeared in 'new' Easter outfits that hark back to the old days in 1948
Bonnets on! One woman lets her enthusiasm for General Dwight Eisenhower go to her head in 152 (left) while in 1944 actress Lisette Verea opted for a quirky headpiece complete with a red felt lips and a protruding cigarette
Quite a buzz: TV stars Steve Allen, (L) and Eva Gabor, interview Surrealist Salvador Dali, (C) in front of St Patrick's Cathedral during the Easter Parade in 1951
Family affair: Easter Sunday on Fifth Avenue in 1922 the wife of famed American philosopher C.S. Pierce, walks with her children (left) while financier George Jay Gould's brood step out in matching outfits and bonnets
Attracting the rich and famous: Prince George of Russia and Miss Jane Erdmann were snapped as they took part in the annual Easter Parade along Fifth Avenue in 1933 while walking their dogs
Wearing the latest fashions: The parade which takes place on Easter Sunday, started out as a spontaneous event in the 1870s and soon became an annual tradition - here two couples are seen wearing their finest in 1922
A child's delight: Milton Berle, stoops to hug his daughter in the midst of New York's Easter parade in 1950 while motion picture star Bette Davis and her artist husband William Grant Sherry were spotted taking a leisurely stroll through Central Park with their daughter Barbara the previous year
Rammed! Spectators crowd the streets around Rockefeller Center for the Easter Parade in 1945
Piece of history: Dressed in the traditional Easter fashion, a Paramount newsreel cameraman trains his camera on the crowds in 1948
Growing in popularity: Church-goers seen at St. Thomas' Church in 1915 (left) on Fifth Avenue and in 1922 (right)
Dressing like a billionaire: Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, Jr. steps out in his Sunday best before going to Easter service at church in 1922 (left) and 1924 (right)
Stepping out in style: Three women model the latest fashions in 1922 - wide-brimmed hats, low heels and calf-length skirts appear to have been in
Change of scenery: Easter morning in 1900 in New York with horse-drawn traffic and two motor cars
Community spirit: Russian costumes on Fifth Avenue in 1922 - this this year the area along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets will be closed to cars from 10am to 4pm to make ways for the annual parade of Easter bonnets and costumed pets