Parade Missed The Point
To The Editor:
Concerning the annual Inclusive St. Patrick's parade, which celebrated its ninth year: Inclusive perhaps; but absolutely insensitive to Catholics. Inclusive? No military were represented- only veterans against the war.
For the ninth year, the marchers outnumbered the spectators. Paradoxically, the largest group of spectators was at the Dutch Reformed Church, hardly Irish Catholic, but at least inclusive as to spectators. I did see a group of Irish people saying the rosary. For nine years some marcher has carried a placard reading "Free Abu Mumia", the Philadelphian convicted of murdering a cop. For nine years I have wondered what is so inclusively Irish about "Free Abu Mumia". A travesty.
Insensitive to Catholics during worship, the parade is disrespectful of Catholic rights. It has insisted on marching past two Catholic churches during Catholic religious services, with beating drums, skirling bagpipes, bugles blaring, and amplified music from a truck. The disrespect was intensified this year. Last year we remonstrated that the parade disrupted religious services and chaotically gridlocked traffic between Masses and Baptisms. Our suggestion of a 3 p.m. start for this year's parade was totally ignored. A 1 p.m. start was scheduled again, totally insensitive and intentionally antagonistic to Catholics. Thankfully, as informed by C.O. Kavanagh of NYPD 108th Police Precinct, the NYPD issued a permit for a 2 p.m. start.
I have news for the parade sponsors. St. Sebastian's is no longer as [white] Irish as you may think. At any 5 p.m. Saturday Mass, I am surrounded by Filipinos, ditto for the 9 a.m. Mass, the 12 noon is in Spanish. I discern no brogues at that Mass. This year's insensitive climax occurred when marchers offered condoms to Filipinos outside St. Sebastian's.
Neighborhood inconvenience. Thanks to "no parking Sunday" notices for a 2 p.m. parade, at 7 a.m. the police started to remove some 350 cars from Skillman and Woodside Avenues. As early as 9 a.m. police were at every corner preventing drivers from stopping even for newspapers, at the bakery and convenience store- for a 2 p.m. start! The parade started at 2:53p.m., an hour late, and lasted all of 22 minutes. All of this inconvenience for a measly 22 minutes. Why remove 350 cars? More cars were removed than Woodsiders marched.
Who marched. Not Woodsiders, not Sunnysiders. Only four local groups participated, the best-looking of which was SUDS, the Sunnyside United Dogowners Society, with 25 or so smart-stepping canines. The politicians made speeches at 43rd Street. But I counted only four politicos as far as 45th Street. Gone in two blocks!
The Grand Marshal's were Pete Hammill and Christine Quinn. I have a picture postcard of the parade titled St. Pat's For All Parade, March 3, 2008, with an address of 22-22 28th St., Astoria. How ironic. Astoria, not even Woodside. Perhaps there are more Irish in Astoria than in Woodside. I urge Mr. Hamill and Ms. Quinn to march on 28th Street, Astoria next year. Or why not your back yard, Mr. Hamill, Park Slope?
To paraphrase a 60's anti-war saying "Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came". Well, in Woodside they gave an Irish parade, and no Irish came. The parade is a joke. Al Volpe Woodside