Irish eyes smiled through cold for St. Patrick’s Parade
There was a chill in the air and temperatures hovered in the 30s all afternoon on Sunday, but that didn’t stop the participants of the 23rd Annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade from having fun.
The parade went off without a hitch despite the wintry weather that hit New York City on the first day of spring.
Leading the marchers up the Third Avenue parade route was Grand Marshal James B. McHugh, senior vice president of Signature Bank. McHugh is a former chairman of the board of directors at St. Anselm Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge.
The parade committee, led by President Frankie Marra and Vice President Linda Gallagher, selected several local Irish-Americans to serve as deputy grand marshals, including Brian Kelly, Patrick Harkin, Peter Whelan, Rita Galvin, Rhea McCone, Maura Coughlin, Kathy Burke and the members of the Canny Brothers Band.
The marchers, bagpipe bands and parade floats made their way up Third Avenue from Marine Avenue (98th Street) to Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street).
Members of the NYPD Emerald Society marched, as did the FDNY’s Emerald Society; each contingent receiving warm applause from the spectators lining the route. Members of local chapters of the Ancient Order of Hibernians drew big cheers as they marched up the avenue. Talented youngsters from Irish step dancing schools performed amazing feats of dexterity that drew oohs and ahhs from the crowds at the reviewing stand on Third Avenue and 77th Street.
The theme of this year’s parade was a tribute to the Easter Rising of 1916, an uprising led by Irish patriots fighting for Ireland independence from Great Britain.
The day’s festivities began with a Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church at 9511 Fourth Ave. at 9:30 a.m. to honor the fact that St. Patrick is a Catholic saint. Following the Mass, Marra and the parade committee hosted a VIP brunch for the grand marshal, his deputies and elected officials at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House at 9404 Fourth Ave.
Then it was time for the parade.
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