It wasn’t just Irish eyes smiling on St. Patrick’s Day as New Yorkers celebrated one of the largest parades to march in the streets since the rise of COVID-19.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade returned on March 17, drawing thousands of spectators and marchers alike, despite the inclement weather which literally rained on the parade.
Kicking off from 44th Street and 5th Avenue, Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell led the revelry with wide waves and flapping Irish flags. Striding forth, the two served as frontrunners for the sea of people ready to follow in their footsteps.
Flanked on either side, hundreds of New Yorkers young and old decked themselves out in green and cheered on the parade.
Aleza, a 93-year-old woman enthusiastically waved from her wheelchair, cheering on the FDNY as they walked past on 66th Street and Fifth Avenue. One firefighter left his ranks and placed a green beaded necklace with shamrocks over her neck as a token of appreciation for her support.
“I came out for the beautiful parade because I love watching the bagpipes and marchers,” Aleza said.
Steve Costello beamed with pride telling amNewYork Metro that his father, Tom Costello, a Chaplain of the Hewlett Bay Fire Department had the privilege to march alongside the 2022 Grand Marshal James T. Callahan, the General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
“It’s a really special day for our family. We are just really proud of him and to have the parade back in New York and to see the people out is fantastic,” Steve Costello said, sharing that he and his family traveled from Long Island to enjoy the festivities.
Holding up his six-year-old daughter, Erin, and a poster she created for the celebration reading, “We love you Grandpa,” Costello says that it’s been a long time since he’s seen New York City streets filled with so much love and joy.
“The last couple of years we really missed the parade. It’s such a nice day to celebrate the Irish heritage and to see everybody laughing and having a good time. It’s refreshing to have it back,” Costello said.
For many, the parade is more than an opportunity to commemorate Irish heritage, it’s about celebrating culture with their fellow New Yorkers with music, laughter, and bright green colors.
Heidi Langdon is from Yonkers and every year she would travel down to Fifth Avenue to attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade before the pandemic hit. After two years of cancellations, Langdon is thrilled to be back wearing her green Leprechaun hat, Shamrock glasses, and emerald beads.
“It’s great to be here! We missed this for a long time. It’s great, I like the bands. I love FDNY,” Langdon said, showcasing a green FDNY t-shirt and adding she comes from eight generations of firefighters.
The parade culminated on 84th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.