FLASH: The New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York 2019
But nothing could put a damper on the largest Irish-American Saturday, with tens of thousands of marchers following a painted green line up Fifth Avenue for the 6-hour parade.
Though many people are worried about BREXIT as they are waiting for the shoe to drop to see what this means for the Irish economy.
“We can get through anything; we survived a potato famine.”
This year’s official parade theme was immigration, with Brian O’Dwyer, an immigration attorney and activist as the Grand Marshal. Mr. O’Dwyer a co-founder of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens that helps clients including a group of Latino immigrants that joined him on Saturday.
Through its history, dating back more than 250 years, the New York parade has often had a political element.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, as sectarian violence flared in Northern Ireland, there were controversies over the inclusion of groups supporting the militant wing of the Irish Republican Army. A banner reading “England get out of Ireland” has flown in the parade since the 1940’s.
And for more than 20 yrs, LGBTQ groups were officially banned from marching, until Y 2015, when marchers under a banner linked to NBC were 1st allowed, opening the doors to other LGBTQ participants since then.
This year’s march is taking place amid a new set of questions about relations between the UK and Ireland.
“When the Irish take to the streets this Saturday for the 258th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, our thoughts will take us far beyond the festivities on Fifth Ave. to Washington, D.C., and to the British Parliament in London,” Mr. O’Dwyer wrote in an editorial in the Daily News.
British lawmakers are struggling to find a way to exit the European Union without disrupting the two-decade old peace accords that created an open border between the Republic of Ireland, which is in the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is in the UK.
This week, with a 29 March deadline looming, British lawmakers voted to seek to delay BREXIT for at least 3 months. But the possibility exists that the line between the 2 parts of Ireland, which has been unguarded for 20 years, will once again become hardened with vehicle checkpoints, with trade rules and tariffs in force.
But for most at Saturday’s parade, the political debate over the future in Ireland took a back seat to the pageantry.
Popular marching groups include the pipes and drums corps for the Emerald Societies at the New York police and fire departments and the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, of the New York Army National Guard, which has led off the parade since 1851.
Elsewhere in the US
The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the South was held in Savannah, Georgia. Started by Irish immigrants to Georgia’s oldest city 195 years ago, the March parade has ballooned into a sprawling street party that’s the No. 1 tourist draw for Savannah.
Over in Chicago, the river there was dyed Green, a tradition that dates back decades. Thousands line up to watch members of Chicago Plumbers Local 130 dump and spray the dye into the river from boats.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.