- Historic Sites
The Gra-a-nd Parade
Every March 17 on Fifth Avenue shamrocks bloom, bagpipes skirl, and colleens prance prettily along. Begorra, it’s a great day for the Irish!
February 1969 | Volume 20, Issue 2
“Now wait a minute,” Mayor Lindsay pleaded. “Don’t start getting poetic.”
After the meeting, the chastened Mayor announced to newsmen with a wry smile: “I have managed to persuade Judge Comerford and his parade committee to hold the Saint Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue this March seventeenth.”
In appreciation, the parade committee did Mr. Lindsay a little favor. When he had made his first appearance as mayor in the parade of 1966, the city had just endured a long subway strike and was in the midst of a hot battle over a civilian police-review board; Lindsay had been received by the crowds in cool silence. He was dubious about marching again. But the committee assured him that all would go well; they saw to it that he was given a place in the parade just behind a colorful band of pipers that always stirs up wild applause.
“All along Fifth Avenue the Mayor was greeted with tremendous cheering,” a committee member remembers. “Who was to say for sure whether the cheering was for the Mayor or for the pipers who were marching a few steps in front of him? Anyway, he was beaming when he came to the reviewing stand, where we gave him the usual Saint Patrick’s Day greeting—‘May you be in heaven for twenty minutes before the Devil discovers that you’re dead.”