Tag: St. Patrick’s Day

Getting our Irish on (and up)

Monday, March 17th, 2008 | All Things, Friends

Erin Go Bragh! Despite the Catholic Church’s decision last summer to reschedule the March 17 holiday for March 15 so as not to coincide with the second day of Holy Week, New York City held its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade this morning. The Church has a history of involvement in these celebrations: in 2000 and 2006, when the holiday fell on a Friday in Lent, during which Catholics are to abstain from eating meat, the Archdiocese of New York issued a special dispensation allowing its 2.5 million Catholics residing in Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island and several upstate counties to eat meat on March 17. Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens received no such pass from their Archdiocese, and were instructed to perform another act of penance if compelled to indulge in corned beef on that day.

Unlike last year, the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day festivities fell during normal work hours, so I missed out on the parade fun along Fifth Avenue. Guinness is behind Proposition 3-17 — a campaign to make St. Patrick’s Day an official holiday in the United States. No matter, I was able to catch the all inclusive parade in Western Queens earlier this month.

At Irish bars throughout Manhattan, the drinking had begun in earnest well before noon, but my plans for the evening involved a trip on the 7 into Sunnyside, which along with neighboring Woodside, is one of the city’s historic Irish enclaves. Since the 1990s, while other ethnic communities have moved into these neighborhoods, the Irish population has dwindled as longtime residents move out of the city or back to Ireland, spurred by the country’s renewed economy and the end of the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

The Empire State Building aglow in green, of course:

St. Pats ESB

At RM’s home in the Gardens, we caught up with friends recently seen and not so over cold beer and treats from El Shater. The night was marked by valiant attempts at Irish dancing and a rousing, lyrically mangled rendition of “Danny Boy,” (which sounded rather like this one)… by all accounts a fine, fun gathering marred only by a brief, but mortifying episode which included the most appalling party exchange since… well, in a long, long time.

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St. Pats for All Parade 2008

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 | All Things, Events

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Everyone knows about the city’s main St. Patrick’s Day parade that takes place along Fifth Avenue on March 17. Since 2000, though, another smaller St. Patrick’s Parade & Irish Fair — dubbed St. Pat’s for All — is held along Skillman Avenue in western Queens weeks earlier. The parade begins in the traditionally Irish community of Sunnyside and ends in Woodside.

Brendan Fay, founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance, a group serving the needs of the Irish GLBT community, organized the inclusive parade after being arrested at the city’s main St. Patrick’s Day festivities in 1999. This year’s St. Pat’s for All took place on Sunday, March 2 and featured the usual Irish heritage groups (bagpipers, the Irish Arts Center, step dancers from The Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, whom we saw perform last fall at CultureFest) as well as local politicians, community and labor groups, gay rights organizations, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish groups, and not-obviously (or obviously not) Irish groups like Sunset Park’s Quetzalcoatl Group with its colorfully attired Mexican folk dancers and the wonderfully charming Keltic Dreams, a clogging troupe from P.S. 59 in the Bronx, whose student body is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black.

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

Even canines got to participate, courtesy of S.U.D.S., the Sunnyside United Dog Society:

St. Pat’s for All parade

There was constant music in the air, and I was probably most surprised (and psyched) to hear “Hit Me Baby One More Time” for marching brass band… though in retrospect, I would have saved myself some embarrassment if I’d kept that sentiment to myself. No “Danny Boy though.

Check out the full photo set on flickr!

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