Tens of thousands flock to NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade

Irish eyes were smiling as tens of thousands of revelers took to the sunny streets of Manhattan Friday for the nation’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A sea of green stretched from West 44th Street and Fifth Avenue to 79th Street as parade-goers cheered for bagpipers, high school bands and marching FDNY and NYPD officers.

“I’m celebrating all weekend long. Guinness all day, every day,” said one parade-goer, Nick, 29.

The New Yorker, whose family hails from Ireland, said he’d come to celebrate the cherished Irish tradition of knocking a few back.

Revelers basked in the warm weather, waved Irish flags and snapped photos as they spread out along the 35-block parade for the storied parade’s 262nd run.

A total of 343 firefighters also marched in honor of the firefighters who died in 9/11 as parade-goers waved signs reading “We love FDNY” and “We Stand with our Firefighters.”

Thousands of St. Paddy’s day revelers took to the streets of Manhattan for the annual parade.
Paul Martinka

Teresa O’Connell, 63, said she’d been coming to the Irish street bash since the 1980s, and that she’s never missed a year aside from during the pandemic.

“I like coming here celebrating my heritage, you know where my grandma came from,” said O’Connell, who is a first-generation American. 

“Even though we’re here now in this country, we like to remember and enjoy it.”

St. Patrick’s Day performers
The sea of green stretched up 35 blocks in Manhattan.

Mayor Eric Adams spoke briefly to cheer the working-class roots of Irish New Yorkers.

“It’s exciting and you know, we have a large Irish community here, particularly around the civil service. This is a real blue-collar community,” he said.

“You know, our firefighters, our teachers, our members of the police department, this is a blue-collar community. I’m a blue-collar mayor,” he said.

“I feel home in this parade.”

Bagpipers at the parade
Revelers cheered for bagpipers and high school marching bands.
AFP via Getty Images

He added, “When you think about the Irish community … during the Great Depression, they were able to come and lend their hands, sweat equity, and built the entire Empire State Building in one year.”

“This is a group of people who built our subway system, built the Brooklyn Bridge, built so much,” he continued.

“And so we’re here again, we need to renew our spirit and our energy, no better way to do it.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul also spoke briefly, calling the event “truly the nation’s most incredible parade.”

“We do it here best in New York City, and I’m really proud to be marching here today with my fellow Irishmen,” she said.