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.
There was the NYPD Band, as well as the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.
The New York State Police were also well-represented.
And here are the Pipes and Drums of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
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.
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.)
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.
There was the U.S. Military Academy’s West Point Band.
And even students from high school Jr. ROTC units.
There were representatives from the U.S. 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.
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.