2007_03_stpatflag.jpgThe Department of Sanitation had trucks out early this morning to make the Fifth Avenue path for the St. Patrick's Day Parade clear for marchers - and controversy. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg weighed in about the Fire Department's unhappiness over being moved from near the front of the parade to the middle of the pack. Parade organizer John Dunleavy was unhappy about an FDNY delay caused by a banner last year and also said that the firefighters drank too much. On his radio show, the Mayor said, "Usually, I march with the Police Department the whole way. This time, I'll try to march with the Fire Department as much of the whole way as I can. My advice to the guy running the parade is: Look, nothing's perfect. Lighten up! You have rules. Rules are there to be guidelines. Don't enforce 'em at this level."

The Post looks at Dunleavy's biography, which includes working for the MTA as a bus driver and retiring as a superintendent.

The parade starts at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street. It's also broadcast on WNBC 4 beginning at 11AM. Expect many Irish bars to be packed today and revelers from the LepreCon to be out and about. Finally, there's a funny "editorial observer "in the Times asking "How Close is Too Close to Shane MacGowan and the Pogues?"

Photograph by Amauri Aguiar on Flickr