New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

One of New York City’s most famous parades is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held in Manhattan on March 17 each year. New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a long history that stretches back to 1762. (I don’t think that there are any NYC parades with a longer tradition!) The parade has so many participants that it lasts approximately 5 hours, offering something for everyone to see. The parade participants march up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street, and the least crowded viewing is in the latter blocks.

One of the key features of the parade is the many Pipe and Drum Corps, many sponsored by Irish societies such as the Emerald Society within New York City’s Police (NYPD) and Fire (FDNY) Departments, but also coming from other organizations. Here are a few of my favorites.

First, the Pipes and Drums of FDNY’s Emerald Society.

FDNY Emerald Society-photo2

FDNY Emerald Society-photo3

There was the NYPD Band, as well as the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.

NYC Police Band


NYCPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums-photo3

The New York State Police were also well-represented.

New York State Police Honor Guard

NY State Police Pipes and Drums

NY State Police

And here are the Pipes and Drums of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Ancient Order of Hibernians-photo1

Ancient Order of Hibernians-photo4

There are also associations representing Irish immigrants and their Irish-American descendants, with many having roots going back to the nineteenth century. They are often led by beautiful banners like the ones shown here.

Limerick flag

Galway Assn of NY

County Meath Assn flag

Of course, there are also the marching bands. A number of high school marching bands participate in the parade, like the one shown here. (This is the Cicero-North Syracuse High School Band.)

Cicero-North Syracuse High School Band

The U.S. Armed Services also send bands to perform in the parade, as well as honor guard units. Here is the U.S. Air Force, followed by the U.S. Navy.

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard

US Navy - photo2

There was the U.S. Military Academy’s West Point Band.

West Point Band

And even students from high school Jr. ROTC units.

Xavier High School Jr ROTC-photo1

There were representatives from the U.S. Park Police.

US Park Police

St. Patrick’s Day is a day when New Yorkers of every background are Irish for the day. Nothing represents this better than the participation of performers from some of the city’s Hispanic cultural organizations, whose members also are known for playing bagpipes. (They also participate in the Hispanic Day Parade, a fabulous parade that I’ve described previously here.)





Finally, one of the most powerful parts of the parade was the FDNY 343. A total of 343 New York City firefighters each carry an American flag as they march in formation, memorializing the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in New York City on 9/11.

FDNY 343

If you are in New York City for this or any of the other parades that New York City has to offer, I recommend that you attend – it’s an opportunity to celebrate the city’s diverse residents and traditions.

3 thoughts on “New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  1. What a parade, how wonderful to see that! Do you know that last year I happened to be in London when the St Patrick’s Day parade was taking place and although good, it was nothing on the scale of the NYC one!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.