Two Parades Mark St. Patrick’s Day In Queens
While St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated on March 17, which this year falls on a Wednesday, the Irish community in Queens will host two St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the preceding weeks.
Woodside and Sunnyside are home to many recent and older Irish immigrants. This year, the St. Pat’s For All Parade and Irish Fair will take place in Sunnyside and Woodside on Sunday, March 7 at 1 p.m.
“It’s small, spirited and inclusive,” Parade organizer Brendan Fay said. The parade will start at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside and travel east to 56th Street, then on to Woodside Avenue before ending at 61st Street and Woodside Avenue.
The theme of this year’s parade is “Cherishing All the Children of the Nation Equally”. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressmember Joe Crowley, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other politicians are expected to march. The parade will also feature the Puppet Art Group, the Celtic Dreams Dancers and local community groups.
The Sunnyside-Woodside St. Patrick’s Day Parade was started in response to the rejection of Irish gay and lesbian marchers by the much bigger Manhattan parade sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. It has grown in prominence over the years. Many prefer the local version because it is less crowded, less touristy and a neighborhood event.
Local Irish pubs in Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth make for an added bonus. Queens’ Irish drinking establishments include Donovan’s Pub, 57-24 Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside, Saints and Sinners, 59-21 Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside, Grand Stand Pub, 85-35 Grand Ave. in Elmhurst, O’Neill’s, 64-21 53rd Dr. in Maspeth, Matchmaker, 58-14 61st St. in Maspeth and Woodhaven House, 63-98 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park.
More Irish neighborhoods in Queens are found on the Rockaway Peninsula, including Broad Channel, Belle Harbor and Breezy Point. The last named community, Breezy Point, according to the United States Census Bureau, has the nation’s highest population of Irish-Americans, 60.3 percent. Mainly a summer getaway for many residents of New York, Breezy Point is an isolated area on the Rockaway Peninsula that includes views of the shoreline of Jamaica Bay, sand dunes and marshland. Due to its large concentration of Irish-Americans, Breezy Point has been called the “Irish Riviera”. Others within the community often refer to it as being “Cois Farraige”, Gaelic for “By the Sea”.
The Rockaways’ Irish-American population will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 6 with the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the larger of the two Queens parades. It annually attracts crowds as large as 50,000 people and is the second largest parade in the city. The parade will start at Beach 129th Street and Newport Avenue with a reviewing stand between Beach 94th and Beach 95th Streets. The first marchers will step off at 1 p.m.
For more information about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Fair in Woodside, visit www.stpatsforall.com. For more information about the Rockaway parade, visit www.queenscountyparade.org.