There were two early St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City on Sunday, but they were two different flavors.
The Staten Island parade excluded gay and lesbian floats and banners, while the Queens parade touted “inclusiveness.” Many city leaders attended the parade in Woodside, Queens, entitled “St. Pat’s for All,” including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Charles Schumer, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney and many of the elected officials on the city, state and federal levels.
“Woodside is a special jewel in that history of the parade in no small part because of this beautiful progressive Irish community in Woodside,” said Ocasio-Cortez said. “The heart and spirit of today is about inclusiveness, celebration and uplifting, and we are celebrating each other.”
“This is one of my favorite parades, because everyone is included, nobody is excluded,” Maloney added.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, recalled being fearful to tell his grandfather he had come out.
“He had photo of JFK, the Pope, and Jesus on the wall and I saw down and he said, ‘what’s the matter, you are making me nervous,'” Johnson recalled. “He told me to spit it out. So I said wanted to tell you that I’m gay. He said ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph, I thought you were going to tell me you were a Republican.'”
Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the organizers of the parade and said being “inclusive” was the way New Yorkers need to be.
“Twenty-one years ago, a different Irish rebellion broke out, the thought of respecting everybody – its something that we are feeling today, if not for what happened 21 years ago, there would still be a lot of people who are not getting the respect they deserve,” said de Blasio of the founding of the St. Pat’s For All Parade. “Thank you to all those who helped build this from scratch when so many people said you couldn’t do it.”