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SOME SAY DUBLIN is the only place to be on St. Patrick’s Day, but they are wrong, dead wrong.  The only place to be on St. Patrick’s Day is New York.  It is a fabulous experience, and you really don’t know what a March 17th celebration is until you’ve seen it for yourself. The City is literally transformed. Thousands upon thousands crowd into its streets, all of them Irish, or claiming to be Irish for the day.


Everyone is happy, everyone is friendly.  And everyone eagerly awaits the bagpipes that signal the start of the  parade of parades as it begins its majestic swing up Fifth Avenue – the street where, just a little more than a century ago, employment signs all read NINA, (No Irish Need Apply). 


                                         Parade of Parades


NOW, THERE IS A GREEN LINE up the famous boulevard and all New Yorkers –the governor, the mayor, senators, the super-rich and powerful, corporate officers, military units, union leaders and workers, students, policemen, and descents of clan after clan  – are proud to march in what has often been called  the quintessential immigrant parade.


Sure, there are many ethnic parades in New York, but this was the first of its kind.  What’s more, it dramatically shows what immigrants have endured coming to this country, and what they have accomplished. So it is a great day for the Irish, and everybody else!  It’s that green line up Fifth Avenue.  It says, “We made it!”


YOU CAN BE IRISH FOR THE DAY, TOO:  Just have fun wearing some of these great items:





  • A St. Patrick’s Day bracelet with rows of enameled leprechaun charms.






                                 Green Beer and Pub Crawls


Of course, St.Patrick’s Day in New York City isn’t all green cotton candy.  It can also get downright rowdy, rambunctious, and raucous.  Once the multi-hour parade draws to a close, celebrating “Irish” fill up with green beer or Jameson’s at all the Irish pubs and bistros in town.


Irish bands and entertainers abound.  This year, The Pogues famous Irish folk and rock group will entertain at Roseland Dance Hall, while the Irish Musical Ambassadors will be at Carnegie Hall. And, of course, there is always the somewhat disreputable Irish Pub Crawl, which this year will run 3 days, cover 300 taverns, and frankly benefit no one but the barkeeps..




–We can’t fail to mention the oldest Irish pub in New York, McSorley’s Old Ale House, downtown. It stayed male-only longer than any bar in town but finally crumbled in 1970 under the weight of the feminist movement. Not that it made much difference. Even though McSorley’s distinguished patrons have run from Abraham Lincoln to the poet Brendan Behan, one New York woman delicately said it for her gender: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in the dump.”   


STILL, IF YOU AIM TO DEDICATE YOURSELF TO THE ART OF IRISH ELBOW- BENDING this year, you might want to stock up on these fun-time souvenirs:







  • A “Proud to be Irish” pendant. Sort of comment on the obvious!
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, February 19th, 2009

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