Millions of Irish Eyes Smiling on 5th Ave.

20 Mar
Let the Fun Begin

Let the Fun Begin

Cold winds and old man winter’s last grip couldn’t stop the enthusiasm and good cheer of the millions of Irish that braved the elements to celebrate the 253rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade on 5th Ave. The oldest and longest parade did not disappoint with a fine display of Irish culture and pride in honor of the patron saint of New York City and Ireland. Millions of revelers jammed the parade route from 44th to 79th Sts., many huddled together to generate enough body heat to stay warm during a cold blustery day. The mounted police signaled the start of the parade with the much anticipated arrival of “The Fighting 69th” Regiment of NY with their signature Irish wolfhound mascots. Fire Departments from all over the Tri-state area sent their firemen as well as their counterparts from Ireland. Clans from every county in Ireland sent their representatives to march in the granddaddy of them all.  Many had their own pipes and drum bands play some tunes; most notably was the group The Finglas Concert Marching Band from Dublin.

The Fighting 69th and their mascot

The Fighting 69th and their mascot

 

The Finglas Concert Marching Band

The Finglas Concert Marching Band

 

Officer McDonald

Officer McDonald

It always brings a smile to my face to see Officer McDonald rolling down 5th in his wheelchair. He is the embodiment of forgiveness and compassion. The group of firefighters carrying 343 American flags reminds us of the brave heroes that gave the ultimate price to save others during the 9/11 attack. Yes, we will never forget. This years parade had a fun twist to it. The parade was dedicated to the Gaelic Athletic Association of New York on their 100th anniversary. Various sports organizations throughout the Tristate area marched up 5th. Sorry but the New York Rangers were a little thin in their representation. They must have been on the road. Soon after the Gaelic Athletes were the distinctive xylophone chimes of the Mother Cabrini all girls marching band. It was welcome relief to see them as the school was in danger of closing earlier this year. Many of the Catholic schools in the city sent their marching bands but one of the more notable out of towners were the West Milford Marching Band from New Jersey. They were unique in that they mashed bagpipes and traditional marching band tunes. It turned out really well. A special treat came when the Spaniard bagpipe band arrived with their unique style of play.

343

343

 

West Milford NJ MB

West Milford NJ MB

 

Spaniard Bagpipes

Spaniard Bagpipes

The parade certainly lives up to its reputation for being the longest parade. I went to lunch at 1:30 and came back and the parade was still going strong. There are several judges along the parade route making notes of who best represented Irish culture and costume which helps makes the over 200,000 marchers even more exuberant. Even though this was one of the coldest St. Patrick’s Day parades I have been to, there was enough love and pride to warm the heart of any Irishman. In NY, on St. Patrick’s, we’re all Irish for a day…and that’s a mighty fine thing.    st.pats14 014 st.pats14 028 st.pats14 032 st.pats14 033 st.pats14 043 st.pats14 049 st.pats14 052 st.pats14 060 st.pats14 064 st.pats14 065 st.pats14 081 st.pats14 086 st.pats14 100 st.pats14 118 st.pats14 148 st.pats14 154 st.pats14 156 st.pats14 158 st.pats14 167 st.pats14 170 st.pats14 179 st.pats14 181 st.pats14 188 st.pats14 191 st.pats14 197 st.pats14 210 st.pats14 217

See ya next time...

See ya next time…

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