The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a historical event that has been taking place in New York since 1762 and has been marching for 256 consecutive years. The original St. Patrick’s Day marchers would gather at their local churches or their organizations’ headquarters and proudly march to the Old St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Archbishop would greet the groups, followed by speeches by politicians and other notables. Once the official ceremony was over, the marchers would disperse and possibly continue their celebrations at a pub.
The parade is traditionally honored by a Grand Marshal and this year the title goes to Tommy M Smyth. The parade will be reviewed by His Eminence Cardinal Edward Eagan, Archbishop of New York from the steps of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as from the Official Reviewing Stand located on 64th Street and 5th Avenue.
This year, the parade takes place Monday 17th March and begins at 11am. The 150,000 strong crowd will march up 5th Avenue, starting at 44th Street and proceeding to 86th Street. The marchers gather in groups of clans, and clad in green, they proceed down 5th Avenue.
Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day Parade does not allow any floats, cars or any other commercial aspects to taint the festivities. Those who have the privilege of looking on will be entertained by bagpipes, bands and orchestras, as well as an opportunity to see many strange items of green attire.
The best spots to catch a glimpse are towards the north end of the parade route, removed from the throng of shoppers and workers that crowd the sidewalks below 59th Street. The best position is sitting on the upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one can grab a great view and even a close up of the marchers when they turn east on 86th Street.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an icon of the diversity of New York’s culture and is one day in the year that everyone in the city becomes Irish!