2015-03-04 / Front Page

St. Pat's For All

BY THOMAS COGAN


Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the annual St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside. With him are Consul General of Ireland in New York Barbara Jones and parade Marshals Kerry Kennedy and Brian F. O’Byrne. 
Photo Walter Karling Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the annual St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside. With him are Consul General of Ireland in New York Barbara Jones and parade Marshals Kerry Kennedy and Brian F. O’Byrne. Photo Walter Karling It’s that time of the year again for the St. Pat’s For All parade on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. The 16th annual all-inclusive parade, held on March 1, went off in a snowfall that was expected, but turned out to be heavier than predicted. Before the main festivities began, the parade of politicians and sundry officials was mainly local. Mayor Bill de Blasio was present wearing a green tie with a lavender shirt.

The parade went the few blocks from 47th to 56th Street, turned the corner and came to an end at Woodside Avenue.

Parade co-chair Brendan Fay, more than anyone else, got the parade started in 2000 as a reaction to the specific exclusion of homosexual pride groups, Irish or otherwise, in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan held on March 17.

The local parade has changed a lot in recent years, for it now includes transgender persons. The Gay Officers Action League, (GOAL) marched in the parade with a banner and the parade Grand Marshals included Kerry Kennedy and Brian F. O’Byrne. Kennedy spoke of visiting Uganda, the east African country where life imprisonment and even the death penalty have been proposed as punishment for being gay. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was also in attendance as was Borough President Melinda Katz and Congressman Joseph Crowley, who pledged their support, as did City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Also joining in the festivities was City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who said that she and much of the City Council would once again decline to join them in the March 17 parade. Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer, Danny Dromm, Costa Constantinides, Rory Lancman, and Elizabeth Crowley were present, along with Councilmembers Corey Johnson of Manhattan and Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn, all of whom also spoke, along with Assemblyman David Weprin and Consul General of Ireland in New York Barbara Jones.

“Today I am proud to march in the St. Pat’s For All Parade, a celebration of culture and pride that embraces the beautiful diversity of the Irish community – including our LGBT New Yorkers. We know that as we march, we are united in our commitment to acceptance and tolerance, no matter who we choose to love or how we choose to identify. It is our hope that one day, the entire Irish community in our city can celebrate together – but until then, I am proud to stand alongside my friends in the Irish LGBT community and their allies as we recognize the many contributions the Irish have made to our country’s fabric and history,” said Mark-Viverito.

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