St. Patrick’s Day – New York 2015 – Bring on the Irish!

Of course I remember catching glimpses of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade last year through museum windows – yet this year I was determined.  I wanted to throw myself into the thick of things and experience the jostling, bustling, impenetrable craziness of the people dragging themselves through the parade without, me actually feeling that way.  I wanted to SEE the impact but not FEEL the impact that apparently so many in the parade were experiencing!

It is definitely worth mentioning how awesome it is when you are in New York and you meet the people you meet – you never know.  Monday night as I was prepping for one of four workshops to present at Columbia University – I met a lady named Charlotte Kjellgren from Sweden.  She was looking through things to plan for New York, and I ended up sending her on Tuesday a list of events that we had done last year when we as a staff had visited New York.  In doing so – I hoped to provide her some inside tips that had been provided to me and that I came to love about New York.  In addition, I told her about the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and we made plans to see the Wednesday version of it – and I was STOKED.  I love the Cafe, and had purchased tickets online, but it is always better to share such a cool experience with someone and this worked out to be a great Wednesday revisiting some of the BEST comedy ever – and I was sure this would not be disappointing.

I headed out immediately to Fifth Avenue  and 42nd Street to actually catch the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I knew enough to know – that it would be a MESS – however, even knowing it would be better to catch the parade further north to avoid the tangles of craziness, I decided to do it anyway right at the beginning of the parade.

I need up a little south right in Times Square, but figured all I had to do was go over a few streets and the hints were following the people some sober, some absolutely not, and sure enough it took me to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where what has been small trickles of green bearing parade individuals turned into hundreds, maybe thousands of St. Patrick’s Day parade fans.  I say St. Patrick’s Day parade fans instead of St. Patrick’s Day fans, since some I really am not sure they know what day it was.  In fact I am almost positive.  Perhaps the funniest was the group and one guy, that had a photo copy of someone that was his friend ( I hope it was his friend) and right beside him, was the guy that he was holding up a picture of, and he was asking everyone around him, “Have you see this man?!”  “Have you see this man?!” in his best voice as a police officer, and while yes strange, absolutely hysterical.  When I really got to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I could not move.  Really. So many people squished against each other, and we moved many one foot every 5 minutes.  I realized I had experienced in 30 minutes moving 5 feet all I cared to on the “experience.”  The police were amazing, they just rolled with it, trying constantly to move people in SOME direction, and the patience they had, seeing this every year and dealing with crazy, drunk, young, old, sane, not so sane, and every combination between of people, whoa.  Major Kudos.   I realized you could also see a live webcast of the parade – which is good to note, but being in the city, it would deb hard to recognize the advent of one of my favorite holidays and not be there to see it live.


I slipped over two streets, keeping the parade path on 5th in sight and quickly kept pushing north, north, north, until reached the tip of Central Park and no kidding, air, space room, places to see – yep, 100% on the money and there I planted myself of the next two hours.  Amazingly, even after TWO HOURS – the parade was not even close to being finished, but after 60+ pictures and videos, I felt I had seen and felt the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  The people I had seen come by my path during that two hours, not including the impressive high school bands, the clans of Irish from in and all around New York, the bagpiping groups, the policeman from so many division, it was just – it totally was worth it even though I though, eh, maybe it will be cool.  IT was super great!  I love the fact this is the oldest parade for St. Patrick’s Day, since 1762 – and that made the experience all the more worth it amid the excitement and so many participants.

This is the difficult thing about writing afterwards a week an a half later – what else did I do that day?  I remember hitting up Barnes & Noble – grabbing copies of Scott Westerfeld’s newest novel Afterworlds preparing for his visit to ASF on April 20th – as well as making sure I grabbed an Shamrock Shake (YES!) – and heck – I am pretty sure I actually had to return to the hostel because my feet were NUMB- and I had some worry abut making sure I had all the loose ends for the first workshop for tomorrow ready – actually TWO workshops on the first day of Columbia, so you can imagine how uneasy I was – and I wanted to make sure it was enticing for everyone.

in fact, the whole reason I saved my receipts was to make sure I actually remembered what I couldn’t remember a week late day by day, so heck, let me check – be right back.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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