Staten Island’s Grand Marshal Brian Nutley
Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Parade
Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Parade is a beloved tradition that turns New York City’s greenest borough even greener.
Thousands line Forest decked out in shamrocks, beads, hats and plenty of green for the celebration of Irish heritage as the parade winds its way down the North Shore thoroughfare, concluding at the intersection of Forest and Jewett Avenue.
The day begins with a mass, followed by the parade and other festival activities, such as live music and traditional food. The parade typically attracts more than 50,000 spectators.
This year’s parade will be led by grand marshal Brian Nutley, a retired NYPD officer and longtime member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 4.
The 2016 parade is a wee more than 10 days before St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Why? Well, that’s just the way things are, according to AOH, which participates in and raises money for the parade. This year’s parade committee chairman is John Dick.
Saint Patrick’s Day?
Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.
Why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!