St. Patrick’s Day
March 20, 2002

What better place to be for St. Patrick’s day, besides Ireland, than New York City? None. That’s the answer. This year the parade was not on the actual holiday as the rule in New York is that if the holiday falls on a Sunday, the parade takes place on Saturday. So all the catholics can go to church on Sunday. A doorman that I stop and talk to now and then, a good Irish man, offered us tickets to the parade. How fun! Alex had scheduled an all day conference for that day and couldn’t come so I got up early and headed off to the East side.

It was a very cold day but as I walked across the park I got warmer so that was nice. I was directed around many different streets and blocks before I found the correct line to stand in. It was huge! I didn’t think, even with a ticket, I would ever find a seat in the bleachers. Finally they started letting people in and some of us merged with the line closer to the front. Cheating I know, but when in Rome... Finally, seated in the bleachers surrounded by strangers who thought I was Irish, the parade began. The TV point was down about 1 1/2 blocks to our left so we could hear some & see the people on the stand. Then the marching began.

Thousands of marchers of all sorts. Bagpipes, Police, Firemen, politicians, kids, delegations representing the different sections of Ireland... thousands! The people walking by on the sidewalk started creeping closer to the barricades in front of us, blocking our view. People would get upset & sometimes an usher would try & shoo them back but it was a dam that would not be stopped.

At 1pm everyone, parade and viewers alike, stopped, turned south to face where the World Trade Center was and had a moment of silence. It was eery. I have never heard the city that quite before or since. Even the birds seemed to know about the small ceremony. It was quite touching. Then the parade began again.

After about two hours I couldn’t see much for all the people in front so when a gap came I left the bleachers and kneeled at the barricade. Much better view. I videoed almost the whole time I was there. I’ve never seen so many police men in my life as in this parade. Many had banners or bands for their fallen brothers. The music was very fun and loud. I saw Rudy Giuliani, Mayor Bloomberg, Govenor Pataki and my favorite, Senator Clinton. The women around me, obviously not democrats booed her, but I cheered.

I couldn’t see my doorman friend John when his group came by but I taped the parade at home & saw him when I watched it there. It was all very fun but there’s only so much bagpipes and policemen one can take in freezing temperatures. So about 2:30ish I headed home. I took the long way down to the end of the park to see more festivities but it was good to walk. All in all a good day. It would have been fun to be there with someone I knew but I’m really glad I went. Next year... Ireland? (Maybe Chicago...)

See PHOTOS from my day at the parade

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