For Mary Gagliardo, a longtime Lynbrook resident who has watched the high school’s pre-prom parade on local television for years, the tears began before the parade.
“It hasn’t hit yet because we went from taking pictures at her friend’s house to going to the pre-prom to this,” she said. “I started crying after she got dressed.”
She was there in person this time to watch her oldest, her daughter Emily, walk out into the crowded shopping district of Atlantic Avenue, blocked off by police cars and barricades for the annual pre-prom parade that the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce has sponsored each year since 2000.
After the parade, students made their way to limos, cars and buses to drive to their senior prom, which this year was held at the North Ritz Club in Syosset.
Some community members lingered outside the pizza parlors and bake shops on the street, while others pushed their way to the front of the crowds to snap photos of their kids, as well as complete strangers. The whole affair, which began at 5 p.m., was also aired on LYN-TV, the village government’s television station.
It all had a runway feel with pop music blaring and people with cameras shouting. The attention was something to adjust to, Gagliardo said about her daughter.
“She’s not the center-of-attention kind of person, so this is all really out of her comfort zone,” she said. “I think she’s embracing it all very well though. … She’s her own person. She’s very independent.”
It was a newfound celebrity feeling most other students can relate to.
“It was kinda weird — I’ve never experienced that before,” Lynbrook senior Daniel Risorto said, though he has been on the other side of the barricades a couple times to see his cousins and sisters walk the promenade.
Senior Kelly Foster said being on the other side was a completely different and, at times, scary experience.
“It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” she said. “I’m happy it’s over, but I’m happy I did it."