The big New York City St. Patrick’s celebration came a day early this year, as thousands of people from all over closed down some two miles of Fifth Avenue for the 258th annual parade. It's one of the oldest NYC traditions, and one of the largest such events in the the country.
When March 17th falls on a Sunday, as it did this year, everyone marches on Saturday instead, and it kind of seemed like a lot of people didn’t get that memo. Many of the usual parade day hot spots were surprisingly not as packed as usual. In the East Village, for example, McSorely’s still had several empty tables at 9:30 in the morning, and even during prime drinking hours in the evening there was barely a line to get into the popular bro-spot, The 13th Step. Even Penn Station was relatively peaceful last night, with more bored-looking NYPD officers than green-clad, woo-hoo-ing Long Islanders.
Which isn't to say it wasn't lively—here's McSorely's around 9 a.m. yesterday, while the rest of you were all having your first cup of coffee. (Note: Yes, it's usually more crowded than this on the morning of the parade.)
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Yesterday St Patrick’s Day in New York at 9am
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And the parade itself had plenty of participants—the crowds were thick on either side of the avenue from the starting point at 44th Street, up until about 61st Street. Pipe bands and drum corps, cheerleaders and dancers, civic groups from dozens of counties in Ireland and scores of uniformed officers made their way up to 79th Street over the course of about five hours.
Mayor Bill de Blasio marched with Police Commissioner Jimmy O'Neill, and Speaker Corey Johnson and Attorney General Letitia James were also on hand, leading a small group behind the NewYork City Council banner. This was not the case just a few years ago, when the parade still banned groups identifying themselves as LGBT, leading to a boycott from the Mayor, other city officials, and plenty of NYC residents.