Did you know that the very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1762? It’s true, a group of Irish ex-patriots got together in lower Brooklyn. Originally held to afford the Irish the chance to wear green, speak their native tongue and playing Irish music. A true Marchers parade, no floats or automobiles or commercialization is permitted to participate.
Originally organized by military units, after the War of 1812, Irish and fraternal organizations took over the management of the parade. In the mid 1800’s the various groups banded together, creating a grand marshal and greatly expanding the size of the parade. Always led by a military unit, the members of the National Guard’s 69th Regiment has had this honor for 150 years.
Nearly 2 million spectators show up along Fifth Avenue to witness this grand old tradition. The parade officially starts at 11am on March 17th, except when if falls on a Sunday. The parade route takes the participants up 5th Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral and ends at 86th street, just past the American Irish Historical Society.
But you’ll have to get there pretty early if you want a front row seat. Let Ingenious Travel book you a trip to watch one of the grandest parades New York City holds today.
Did you know that the 2002 parade was the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade and is the only one that was reviewed by Ireland’s President?
Photo source: flickr.com Asterio Tecson- NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
My step-daughter lives in Brooklyn, so maybe next year I’ll have to plan ahead and be there for the parade.
I love St. Patty’s Day – I just bought my corned beef for the weekend!
Such a fun holiday! (My favorite fun holiday behind Mardi Gras…lol). I’m so happy it’s on a Saturday this year!
I love St Patrick’s Day as well! It’s my 2nd favorite “Fun” Holiday behind Mardi Gras! LOL I’m so excited that it’s on a Saturday this year! 😀
I recently learned, while doing research about a St. Pat’s blog post, that a ton of college alumni associations organize floats/groups to march in the NYC parade. Iona and Mt. St. Mary College are a couple, off the top of my head.
Very informative post, Maria. I did not know that, though I’ve participated to sevral St. Patrick days and parade when I was living in the States (I should not have to say to you that the biggest, beyond NYC were in Boston). I’d like to book a flight to come and see it, but I’ve to be in Italy that day. Thanks Ingenious Travel for the post
You know what would really be ingenious? Find a few Irish families with guest rooms that would welcome an out-of-towner for the weekend at a reasonable rate. That sort of cultural emersion would be priceless! Erin go bragh!
Our country has such wonderful diversity of cultures and traditions. All should be celebrated.
That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Almost as good as going to St. James’ Gate, Dublin. Cheers!