Double Shamrock Shakes Over the St. Patrick’s Weekend

19 Mar

NYPD Pipe and Drum Band

     Every March since 1761 the city turns to sea of green to celebrate and honor the patron saint of New York City, St. Patrick. Since this year March 17 fell on a Sunday, the parade organizers moved the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world from a holy day of obligation to the prior day Saturday March 16th. This move allowed the largest parade of Staten Island to be moved from the first weekend in March to the actual day of Sunday March 17. The first time in a decade that the parade was actually on St. Patrick’s Day. Both parades had their fill of bagpipes, marching bands, the display of Irish pride for everyone to see.

Newtown Banner

     Fighting Irish of the 69th Regiment

     There really is no parade like the granddaddy of them all…the St.Patrick’s Day parade in NYC. And the 252nd version surely had some special moments that help remind us of the both hardships that people have endured from both mother nature and the dark side of human nature. It also reminds us of the strength people found in themselves and through their community to help overcome these hardships. For the marching band of Breezy Point, Queens , it was an honor to present their pipes and drums to the over 2 million parade viewers all along the parade route on 5th Ave. For the Newtown, CT High School marching band, it was a time of healing and showing their banner that represents their motto… “We are Newtown and We Choose Love”. Amen.

Pipe and Drums Band

   Another Pipe and Drum Band

      Beginning from the colonial times, this parade has always been a show of force and this year’s was no different. As they have for the last 160 years, the 69th Regiment (now the 165th Infantry) leads the parade with their signature pair of Irish wolfhounds and a proud step up 5th Ave.  The parade boasts some of the best local and national marching bands. The honored lead High School was the all girls band from Cathedral HS in Manhattan soon followed by the NYPD Marching Band.  The Honorable mayor Bloomberg and City Council members passed by waving to the crowd but what moved the crowd more was when Officer Steven McDonald wheeled up the parade route with family members. He’s been wheel chair bound ever since 1986 yet still continues to do speaking tours throughout the country. After the NYPD and the Fraternal Order of the Police marched up to the cheering fans, the Irish police , Garda  Siochana, made their up the parade route.  One of the best things about the parade in NYC is that all the counties of Ireland send their representatives with their banners. It brings a sense of unity and pride to those viewers with ancestral roots going back to Ireland. A long  journey it has been for some families. The first county came from Cavan and they were the happiest more so because they marched before the snow started falling. A sure crowd pleaser were the Twirlettes from Scranton, PA.

   Irish Police

   Officer Steven McDonald

  All the representatives from the local chapters of the Ancient Order of Hibernians made their way to the parade. One of the more pleasant surprises were the pipes and drums from Casa Galicia and from the Corvera group from Spain. The group from Brittany was superb and added a flair with their traditional dances. The Emerald Society of the NYFD had their pipe and drums band march up soon followed by a symbolic memorial simply called 343… the number of firefighters that lost their lives on 9/11. 343 firefighters carrying huge American flags serve as a reminder of what 343 people look like when they are together. They have been doing this since 2002 and I’m sure it will continue for years to come. Many more pipe and drum bands marched up 5th Ave. mixed in with marching high school bands. A more impressive  HS marching band was from Danvers, MA. They were followed by the Newtown, CT marching band. Then the snow started falling and the crowds thinned but the parade kept marching for those that decided to stay. The parade always lives up to the hype and it’s the only parade where everyone walks (no floats). The weather started becoming harsher so I bailed.  I love parades but there was another one to go to the next day in Staten Island.

343 Living Memorial

Britanny BandBritanny DancersStaten Island Biker

The second shamrock shake kicked off at a chilly noon on Forest Ave. and Hart Blvd, in West Brighton on St. Patrick’s Day. The 49th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is the biggest on the rock and it’s more family oriented. Folks have been coming to the parade for years to see their friends and family march. The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island President James Molinaro kicked things off soon followed by the Richmond County Pipes and Drums band. All the local high school bands marched and played well.   It was hard to tell who played better but Tottenville HS sure did represent very well.   One of the parade favorites are the dancers from Mrs. Rosemary’s Dance Studio. The girls always do a great job even in the colder than normal day…at least it wasn’t snowing. The tens of thousands of parade viewers were given lots to cheer about but none could have been happier than seeing a dad embrace his daughter who was part of the girl scouts and saw him standing on the sidelines. She ran to him and gave him a hug and a kiss. That’s what this parade brings to life more than anything…family sharing good times. We could all use a little more of that.

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One Response to “Double Shamrock Shakes Over the St. Patrick’s Weekend”

  1. Kanye west October 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Good write-up. I certainly love this website. Continue
    the good work!

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