THE STREETS of New York will never be the same after Lerwick Guizer Jarl Stevie Grant and his squad of Vikings invaded the Big Apple this weekend, writes Malcolm Younger.
Swapping their galley for Virgin Atlantic airways, the Shetland entourage were received with open arms by America when they flew in en masse on Friday.
The warriors stayed just a stones throw away from Times Square, where they donned their suits on Saturday afternoon for the famous Tartan Parade that takes place in Manhattan every year.
To say the crowds welcome was enthusiastic would be an understatement. “Now that is what I call cool,” one man shouted as the Vikings marched proudly past the skyscrapers on 6th Avenue. The camaraderie was awesome.
With axes raised aloft and the traditional Viking roar echoing through the city with a cheer coming back from the smiling crowd, the Jarl Squad could not have done a better job as ambassadors for our wonderful isles across the pond.
Unsurprisingly, everywhere they went the spectacle of a band of Viking warriors was a photoshoot for young and old alike. Firefighters and New York City cops all wanted to stand and have their picture taken as a memento of this once in a lifetime occasion.
After all the excitement of the parade, Sunday is a free day for sightseeing around the city while some are looking forward to seeing punk band Green Day perform in Brooklyn.
On Monday a few more will be going to watch Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden (across the street from the hotel), but first they will be hard at work promoting the isles in Times Square and on top of Rockefeller Towers, known as Top of the Rock.
Signing off now from the Big Apple, an exclusive report by Malcolm Younger for Shetland News.