2006_03_pattywagon.jpgOnce upon a time, St. Patrick's Day was a day simply full of pageantry and feasting. But those days are over, as most St. Patrick's Days seem to be full of controversy, and this year even features some really classy (or is that assy?) remarks by the parade organizer. The big hullabaloo is about how City Council Speaker Christine Quinn - an Irish City Council Speaker!! - is not marching in the parade because she was not able to reach a deal that would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Irish New Yorkers to participate as well as being able to wear something like a gay pride pin or sash. And this comes as the parade organizer, John Dunleavy, told the Irish Times:

"If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African-Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade? People have rights. If we let [Irish gay activists] in, is it the Irish Prostitute Association next?"

Yeah, we don't know where the logic is - we just hear crazy man. Quinn said Dunleavy's remarks don't even "dignify a response"; Dunleavy claims that Quinn is welcome - just without any symbolic references to her sexuality. Well, the parade didn't allow some firefighters to wear their tams last year - maybe the officials thought they were too metrosexual (this year the firefighters are holding them).

2006_03_stpatty.jpgThough Mayor Bloomberg wishes the parade would be open to everyone (yada "always believed this is a city where all of the parades should be open to everybody" yada), he will be marching, as it's a great photo op. Senator Hillary Clinton will also march, but not Governor-wannabe Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Today's parade starts on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and goes all the way up to Fifth at 86th Street. Parade organizers say the best place to watch the parade is at the Met (Fifth at 79th). And while New York has quite the festivities, it's no match for Chicago, where they get to dye the river green.

Are you celebrating St. Patty's Day?

Photograph of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn getting arrested at a St. Patrick's Day parade in the Bronx as part of a LGBT activist group (pre-speaker days) via Newsday