Yes, I know, it’s already March 20 – three days after the big event. Which doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it anymore, right? Three days ago was the day of the probably most popular occurrence in the spring: Saint Patrick’s Day and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade!
And to this date, this was also my very first St. Patty’s Day I was actually able to fully take part in. You see, this year it fell on the weekend. And it was even on a Saturday. Ergo, the very first time I did not have to work and miss out on all the fun. A few million like-minded people had the same idea and came in
masses groups from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Long Island – probably from anywhere BUT New York City. Although, in all fairness, I am sure a good deal of New Yorkers was also on the streets. Of course – no one wants to miss out on the first time it falls on a decent day.
Anyway, we did the only smart thing to do: We joined the drunken crowds around Central Park to watch the annual parade take off. To make matters worse, we were most likely three of the only people who stayed sober. Rewind an hour back, which would be me on the train: I had expected a nice peaceful ride up to Lexington/63rd St, to get off there and to carelessly stroll towards the waiting attractions. Wrong parade, wrong year, wrong date!
It started with people stumbling on the train right after Delancey St (Lower East Side). From then on, I had the chance to look at some really exotic and very green costumes. Then, getting off at aforementioned 63rd St station, I had to box my way past wasted teenagers who thought it a funny idea to pour half-empty water bottles over the heads of the crowd. Three flights of stairs and ten excruciating minutes later, and I was about to tell a cop to arrest these mean little rats.
Off to Central Park, where of course something like a line structure had formed, which could only be avoided by walking past with the most sincere determination. Then, convincing my two friends that standing against the parade and only getting to see the beautiful
behinds backs of everyone participating in it might not be the best case scenario. We continued to walk a few blocks up, where we finally found a decent standing spot. Only two cry-babies and a worried mother ahead of us, that was much better than I had pictured. A few costumized pedestrians marching by. Numerous military brigades, FDNY, and other uniformed groups filling up the parade. Finally, one or two green color guards which happily swung their flags ahead of them.
After one hour I pretty much had enough and so did my company. We decided to go for a late brunch/early snack around Union Square. From there, we even made it to the East Village, where hordes of people were aimlessly standing outside, breaking up fights or getting involved in one, or simply trying to have a good time while puking into the next trash bin.
And what really astounded me but also made me smile: Everyone was all of a sudden Irish. Or at least making the best effort in appearing to be so. From the Haitian chick over the Latin Samba-dancer to the red-headed tourist – everyone wanted to dress green and be part of the fun.
My friend had half-heartedly thrown a blue shirt over her, so we got a few odd looks from the people that were not
yet fully intoxicated. While we managed to stay pretty much sober throughout the entire day, I couldn’t help it but feel sorry for all the drunken faces walking around in the Greenwich Village. Because this is where I finally got my first beer. Guinness, of course, how could it else be! One hour later, my friend and I were over the entire party-scene and we decided to call it a day. Not without taking a few good shots of the crowd.
So, maybe you are asking the wrong person for how great St. Patty’s Day can be. I guess I am not much of a partier when everyone else around me is. But one thing is for sure: You can always be up for a good time! Even without much alcohol in your blood.
Oh, and do not forget to get the annual drink of the year: McDonalds peppermint shake which has been created solely for the purpose of the Green Day! It’s sweet, it’s green, it’s cheap – what else could you possibly want?! Way to go, Shamrock Shake!
[For more pictures on St. Patty’s Day go here.]