When Saint Patrick’s Day rolls around in March, everyone wants to be Irish. While the tradition of celebrating a feast day on the date of Saint Patrick’s death certainly began in Ireland, the first Saint Patrick’s Day parade was not held on the Emerald Isle, but in the United States.
In 1762, Irish Soldiers who were serving in the English army mustered for a march through New York City, a move that launched a surge of patriotism among Irish-American immigrants. At the time, in Ireland, wearing green was a sign of Irish pride that had been banned. During the parade, Irish ex-patriots were free to wear green, sing Irish songs and play Irish music, a balm to their spirits that caught on quickly. In 1845, when the Potato Famine hit Ireland, the Irish-American population in New York began to surge, lending even greater popularity to the city’s renown parade.
The New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is now a fixture as one of the oldest and largest parades in the city. Traditionally led by the 69th Regiment, it includes Irish County groups, societies, schools, and colleges, as well as pipe and drum bands, Irish language groups and Irish dancers. This year, the parade starts at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 17th at 5th Avenue and 44th Street and marches all the way uptown to 79th Street.
If you are in town during the week of the parade and your plans allow time to spectate at this memorable event, be aware that spectators line-up along 5th Avenue beginning very early on parade day. With millions of spectators and thousands of marchers, Midtown traffic can remain congested throughout the day. A number of road closures will be in effect, so walking is definitely the best option for getting to the parade.
Our nearby Times Square AMA Conference Center is located just a few blocks west of the parade’s starting line. If you’re in town visiting us that week don’t miss this weekend event – we think it’s well worth the time to take in this historic parade and celebration of Irish-American heritage.
To learn out more about our executive conference center in New York City or other cities (Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington DC) visit us online at www.amaconferencecenter.org.