The History of the New York Tartan Day Parade:
The annual New York Tartan Day Parade began 19 years ago, in 1998, after the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155, which officially recognized April 6th as Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005. On April 4, 2008, President George W. Bush signed a Presidential Proclamation making April 6 National Tartan Day.
In 1998, the first Tartan Day Parade, consisting of two pipe bands and a small but spirited group of Scottish Americans, was led by the very first Grand Marshal, Cliff Robertson.
Today the parade is a grand affair, featuring thousands of participants, including bands, dancers and clans.
On April 8, 2017, The Grand Marshal of the 19th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade will be Glasgow-born actor Tommy Flanagan.
The acclaimed actor has starred in Braveheart, Gladiator, and Alien vs Predator, as well as FX Network’s drama, Sons of Anarchy. He will be a starring role in the upcoming movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Chapter 2.
Past Parade Grand Marshals:
From actors and screenwriters, to athletes and designers, the past New York Tartan Day Parade Grand Marshals have been talented Scots from all different walks of life.
Read about them here:
2016: Sam Heughan, Scottish actor best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the Starz hit series Outlander.
2015: Co-Grand Marshals: Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (2011-2016) and Graham McTavish, Scottish television and film actor with an extensive career including roles in Outlander and The Hobbit Trilogy.
2014: Howie Nicholsby, Kilt designer and owner of “21st Century Kilts” in Edinburgh.
2013: Kevin McKidd, Scottish-American actor best known for his roles in ABC series Grey’s Anatomy and film Trainspotting.
2012: Brian Cox, acclaimed Scottish theatre and film actor who works with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
2011: Bob Winter, Lord Provost of Glasgow from 2007 until 2012.
2010: Rt. Hon. Alex Fergusson, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2007 until 2011.
2009: Alan Cumming, OBE, Tony, Emmy and Golden-Globe award-winning actor.
2008: Lawrence Tynes, Scottish-born former kicker for the New York Giants, winners of Super Bowl XVII.
2007: Rt. Hon. George Reid, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2003 until 2007.
2006: Brigadier Melville Jameson, Producer of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo from 1994 until 2006.
2005: Randall Wallace, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Braveheart.
2002: Sir Sean Connery, Academy Award-winning actor and producer who was the first actor to portray James Bond in film.
1998: The late Cliff Robertson, Academy Award-winning actor with a film and television career that spanned half a century.
New York Tartan Week is just around the corner and what a fantastic celebration it will be with people coming from all over the globe to experience a uniquely brilliant event which has something to offer everyone.
New York Tartan Week is a celebration of Scottish-American heritage culture and community and a brilliant experience which will see you wanting to come back each year for more!
Music plays a central role in celebrating that shared community and culture; the music traditions brought over by Scots have survived and thrived in North America to this very day.
It’s fair to say that the shared passion for music and culture has brought about real fusion and development of new style and approach whilst respecting the traditions of the past. Discovering new ways, paths and approaches has always been central to the Scottish-American identity and nowhere is this more evident in the culture and creations borne from our partnership and shared legacy.
Music, as with the Scots-American heritage itself has experienced real innovation and fusion over the past few hundred years and you can hear Scottish influences in everything from Appalachian, folk and even country music.
It’s fantastic that the old traditions are preserved an continued by many talented and passionate musicians across North America, some of which are performing at NYC Tartan Week this year alongside some musical guests from Scotland also! With live music performances all over the city there’s something for everyone and of course with a huge amount of pipe bands marching in the Tartan Week Parade on April 8th you can experience something truly unforgettable.
Musical performances at Tartan Week this year include:
Pre-Parade Ceilidh- 6pm
The Pipes and Drums on the Fountain Terrace Bryant Park (Free)
11:35am – Lathallan School Pipe Band
11:55am – Oban School Pipe Band
12:15pm – Bonnie Brae Knights Drummers
12:30pm – St Columba School Pipe Band
12:45pm – Shamrock & Thistle
Post Parade Party
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 4:00pm
Glengarry Bhoys, Gleadhraich, Scottish Octopus, Wight Hot Pipes, The Highland Divas
(Tickets $85 reserved/$65 general admission) Purchase tickets here.
James MacMillan – St. Luke Passion: New York Premiere
St. Bartholomew’s Church - 8pm
(Tickets $40 Balcony/$50 Prime Seating) Purchase tickets here.
– Jamie McGeechan
Music Reporter for the American Scottish Foundation
Friends and members of The American-Scottish Foundation®, join us in celebrating Tartan Day 2017 with “The World’s Finest Shortbread” - Walkers Shortbread!
Tartan Day is on April 6th – just days away! So why not celebrate with a biscuit or two?
Over a hundred years ago, the Walker family started baking shortbread at their bakery in the Speyside village of Aberlour, surrounded by the beautiful Scottish highlands. Today, Walkers products are now sold all over the world, using the same wonderfully simple recipe to produce that iconic Walkers taste!
To celebrate Tartan Day, Walkers Shortbread has a delicious deal for you!
Use the code TARTAN to receive your special Tartan Day treats!
This special offer expires on April 2nd, 2017, so place your orders now on the Walkers website, here.
The American-Scottish Foundation is proud to have a vibrant and growing platform of Arts and Culture programming, including our contribution to the Landmarks 50+ project.
Through this partnership, the ASF has developed the fascinating history of The Scots Who Built New York’s Landmarks, chronicling the contribution of Scottish Americans to the building of New York.
Recently, The Times of London published an article on how The American-Scottish Foundation® is embarking on this second phase of The Scots Who Built New York project with the development of an App and A Map. As The Times notes this will be so useful to visitors to the City, and here at the ASF, we are excited and proud to be undertaking this next phase of the project.
With research undertaken by Architect and Architectural historian John Kinnear, The American-Scottish Foundation has developed a photographic series of talks exploring the huge contribution of Scottish-Americans to the building of New York.
To date, the five The Scots Who Built New York lectures have reflected on eras of architecture as exemplified by a leading Scottish architect of the time. Noted within the research and talks are references to other contemporary, leading Scottish American architects.
Now, the Scots who built New York’s landmarks will literally be put on the map by the newest addition to the project. The Scots who created important buildings like Carnegie Hall and Penn Station will be celebrated by a Walking Tour App, and NYC Map. With our work around this project we will expand our research, noting additional Scottish-American Landmark buildings that were built over the last 350 years.
As ASF’s executive director, Camilla Hellman, explains, the research for the project has taken over 18 months. “Now we are looking to move on to create a city map and walking tour app which will allow visitors to discover the leading buildings that Scottish-Americans have been responsible for,” she said.
As The Scots Who Built New York project has shown, people are often amazed to learn how much of NYC’s famous skyline is the result of the innovative work of Scottish architects, developers, and engineers. According to Ms Hellman, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, the author and director of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Centre, said she has now come to realize that “all the leading landmarks in New York appear to have been built by Scots.”
The Scottish diaspora has truly been a part of New York’s fabric since the city’s early days. As John Kinnear notes, “Scottish-Americans and Scottish architects, in particular, have been a leading force in the developing of New York and remain so today. We are now looking to bring this important and fascinating history to a wider audience through the walking tour app and map, and ultimately, a coffee-table book entitled The Scots Who Built New York.”
The forthcoming project will spotlight various locations, like the designs of architect Charles McKim, including the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University. The map will also feature Carnegie Hall, which was financed by Scots philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, and the Empire State Building, which was designed by William Lamb.
Other highlights will include Gracie Mansion, which was originally built for Archibald Gracie of Dumfries, President Ulysses Grant’s mausoleum, which was designed by John Duncan, and St Andrew’s Golf Club, the oldest golf club in the US.
We are looking to have the App and Map for April 2017, to coincide with the Tartan Week celebrations that will take place in New York City at that time.
Would you like to join us as a Sponsor or Patron of the exciting next phase of this project?
Find out more about The Scots Who Built New York, and how you can support the project on the ASF website, here.
Images via americanscottishfoundation.com.
Sam Heughan, Grand Marshal of the 2016 New York Tartan Day Parade has been named Barbour’s first Global Brand Ambassador of the British clothing company. Heughan, who stars as Jamie Fraser in the mega hit drama “Outlander” , will develop his own capsule collection for Barbour, made with the brand’s signature tartans, which are based on the Ayrshire District Tartan from where the Barbour family originated in the 13th century.
“I am delighted to be working with Barbour and feel very privileged that they have chosen me to be their first Global Brand Ambassador,” he said in a statement.
“Being Scottish, I grew up with the brand and have always been a big fan — being born in the same rural area as John Barbour, in the south of Scotland.” He also respects the longevity of the brand saying that he’s intrigued by how Barbour “has adapted yet retained its strong identity.”
“I have a great passion for the company and their employees that feels more like I’ve been welcomed into their extended family. I very much look forward to designing my own capsule collection based on this ethos and to representing the brand in the UK, the US and internationally.”
To learn more of the 2016 Parade and keep up to date on plans for 2017 visit NYC Tartan Week the central website for the Parade which is organized by Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, New York Caledonian Club, The American-Scottish Foundation® and Clan Campbell
We are looking forward to the first introductions to the Barbour Collection. Read more via the Barbour Blog:http://www.barbour.com/blog/sam-heughan-barbour-brand-ambassador
A rare exhibit of renowned Scottish sculptor Andy Scott (sculptor), is now on show at the New York campus of Glasgow Caledonian University, 64 Wooster Street, NYC. The show runs now through June 26th. The exhibit through a series of bronze sculptures and sketches, shows us Scott’s love of the horse, especially the large working Clydesdales.
In 2014 Andy Scott’s completed his largest public work to date when The Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world standing over 100ft tall, were unveiled at the Helix Park, Falkirk.
Scott normally presents LARGE public works, and for this show he is presenting twelve bronze sculptures and two wonderful larger steel pieces. These are shown together with maquettes (scale models) of some of his famous public works. Also on display are sketches and drawings showing the process for making his landmark public figurative and equine works. Scott in recent years, produced some of Scotland’s leading art in the public space. In addition to the Kelpies he has created Arria in Cumbernauld, Ravenscraig’s Steelman and the Heavy Horse.
In addition to the smaller series of bronze sculptures for the show, Scott has also been collaborating with renowned silversmiths Hamilton & Inches and cabinetmakers Method Studios. Together they are developing a bespoke sterling silver chess set to mark Hamilton & Inches’ 150th Anniversary. All the chess pieces will be based upon the horse.
In Spring 2014, The American-Scottish Foundation® in conjunction with Andy Scott and Falkirk Council, worked to bring the Kelpies maquettes to New York, where they took up residence for several weeks on the Fountain Terrace of Bryant Park.
They looked very “at home” on the Fountain Terrace and many of us wished they could stay but they had to continue their world travels.
At the American-Scottish Foundation, we take great pride in being a founding member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, together with the St Andrews Society of the State of New York, the New York Caledonian Club, and more recent member Clan Campbell.
We work together to coordinate joint and separate events and festivities during the annual New York City Tartan Week, including the annual Tartan Day Parade, which is now the biggest event of its kind in the United States.
We love hearing from fans of the Tartan Week festivities, so it was great to see the enthusiastic response of Outlander fans at the 18th annual New York Tartan Day parade.
Outlander is a time-travel television series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse in 1945 who is mysteriously transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she meets the handsome Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. Heughan was the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade.
With Sam Heughan leading this year’s Tartan Day Parade, Outlander fans flocked to New York this year in even greater numbers than were with us last year when Graham McTavish, another great actor from the series, was Grand Marshal. It was no surprise that many Outlander fans came and participated in the parade from all over the Unites States Britain and Europe.
Over 450 members of the fan group Outlander United marched in the parade, while thousands lined the streets just hoping to catch a glimpse of Heughan. Scotland Now calls the Outlander effect in New York the nearest thing to “Beatle-Mania.” All the American-Scottish Foundation can say is that it was wonderful to see so many enjoying the Parade.
To hear first hand-accounts of the Tartan Day Parade from members of the Outlander United group, read this fantastic article by TiBS blogger and Outlander United member, Erin Conrad. It includes a slideshow of more fabulous photos from the parade.
We hope to see the members of Outlander United at next year’s parade. Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 8th, 2017!
To learn more about the annual New York City Tartan Day Parade, visit the website, here.
ASF Members and Friends can enjoy special ticket pricing for the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts’ upcoming production of “Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby” on April 13-17.
In Walter Asmus’ critically-acclaimed staging of three one-woman plays by Samuel Beckett, Irish actor Lisa Dwan masterfully triangulates the existential void.
In Not I, a woman—reduced to a mere mouth, suspended in total darkness—seeks solace in a blisteringly paced stream of her own broken speech. In Footfalls, a tattered soul, drained of life, paces relentlessly outside her dying mother’s bedroom. And in Rockaby, a woman slowly withdraws from the world, rocked to eternal sleep in her mother’s chair.
This production drew ecstatic reviews at BAM in 2014, Royal Court Theatre and in the West End.
The astonishing actress Lisa Dwan doesn’t just uncover layers; she digs all the way to the void beneath them. - Ben Brantley, The New York Times
Friends and members of the American-Scottish Foundation have an exclusive offer for discounted tickets of all levels. There are only six performances on April 13-17, so don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.
Wednesday April 13 and Thursday, April 14 at 8PM | Saturday, April 16 at 2PM | Sunday, April 17 at 3PM:
- Level 1 – $44 (Reg. $55)
- Level 2 – $36 (Reg. $45)
- Level 3 – $28 (Reg. $35)
- Level 4 – $20 (Reg. $25)
Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 at 8PM:
- Level 1 – $52 (Reg. $65)
- Level 2 – $44 (Reg. $55)
- Level 3 – $36 (Reg. $45)
- Level 4 – $28 (Reg. $35)
To purchase discounted tickets use the official code: Beckett3
Order tickets by going online and entering the code, or by calling 888.611.8183 and mentioning the code. You can also bring a printout of this offer to the NYU Skirball Center Shagan Box Office – 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square.
For more information, visit the NYU Skirball Center website.
Service fees apply to online/phone orders. Schedule is subject to change. All sales are final. Offer subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time.
Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange, at St Nicholas Park, received a visit from Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop during her visit to New York for Scotland Week 2015.
The Grange reopened to the public in 2012 after extensive restoration by the National Parks Service and the ASF is proud to be working with National Parks and the New York Parks Department on the Scottish heritage of the gardens and links to Scotland. The Grange was built by John McComb, and his work has been spotlighted within the ASF project “The Scots Who Built New York”.
The Grange is named after Alexander Hamilton’s ancestral home in Scotland. The plantings in the gardens follow many of the original elements layed out by Hamilton in his diaries.
During the visit, Secretary Hyslop met with the pupils of Stephen T. Mather High School, and joined them in the planting of shrubs in the Hamilton Gardens.
Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School, located in New York City, is a Career and Technical Education high school for hands-on skills-training in the specialized building arts and landscape trades, focused on high-quality craftsmanship and historic preservation. Students work directly in the trades of carpentry, masonry/plastering, decorative finishes and landscape management. To learn more about the school and their community, visit their website here.
The Mather School is partnering with the National Park Service on various projects including the First Bloom Garden project and The Grange is one of the National Park sites they will be involved in.
To learn more of the restoration and of the work of John McComb, visit the ASF website here.
Secretary Hyslop and ASF Chairman Alan Bain with students of the Mather High School