Midtown Manhattan just encountered its 256th annual parade in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks ago. The Upper East Side was transformed into bagpipe-playing, crazy-hat-wearing, drinking, flag-wearing, celebration of everything green…aka Irish.
The Parade was packed with excited spectators, alongside the more famous revelers, James O’Neill (NYPD Commissioner) and Mayor Bill de Blasio. And of course, East Village’s McSorley’s Old Ale House (NYC’s most famous and oldest Irish tavern) conducted a roaring trade.
So how come so many New Yorkers celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? In 1845, New York witnessed a slew of immigrants from Ireland. They came to escape their country’s potato famine. They didn’t have much when they came and thus many settled in poverty-stricken Five Points, neighboring Little Italy and Chinatown.
There have been quite a few festivities taking place in the Midtown Manhattan area recently. First, the Manhattan Irish Fest provided a ton of entertainment – so much so that Chairman of the Fest, Peter Hegarty said it was the biggest he could recall since this event started! It even has a new location to boot, which is great since in years’ past, people have gotten their shoes quite muddy! Now, located right by the Firehouse, at 195 S. State Street, the South Wabash Street parking lot makes things much easier.
Now in its 22nd year, tons of people enjoyed the festivities – a great deal of them clad in green clothing. There was a 5K race and parade, at which the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department, performed.
With regards to New York City and St. Patrick’s Day, there’s more good news since Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his two-year boycott on America’s largest celebratory parade of this since it finally ditched its ban on permitting the LGBT community to march under their own banners. He happily said: “Finally, they can celebrate their heritage by marching in a parade that now represents progress and equality.”