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St. Patrick’s Day parade attracts thousands of revelers

Among the revelers lining Fifth Avenue, some waved Irish flags and others wore green with shamrock antennas

The 2018 St. Patrick's Day Parade attracted many

The 2018 St. Patrick's Day Parade attracted many green-clad spectators to Fifth Avenue Saturday. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

Fifth Avenue was a sea of green Saturday as thousands gathered in Manhattan for the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Marchers began traveling up the avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral about 11 a.m. for one of the nation’s oldest parades.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo led the parade, which includes no vehicles or floats. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio marched along with Police Commissioner James O’Neill and the NYPD Emerald Society.

Viewers waved handmade signs thanking the NYPD as officers passed by 60th Street, while some members of the crowd shouted jeers at de Blasio.

Among the revelers lining Fifth Avenue, some waved Irish flags and others wore green with shamrock antennas. Some men viewing the parade had dyed their hair green and beards orange.

Maggie Kelly, 16, of Breezy Point, and her family said they come to the parade every year. This year, they were supporting her cousin, who was a bagpiper marching in the parade.

“We love the Irish,” Kelly said. “We wanted to give our thanks and support to the police, firefighters and troops overseas.”

Former NYPD Police Commisioner Bill Bratton was also in attendance.

“There’s no place quite like New York on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said.

The parade followed Saturday Mass led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who was joined by New York representatives and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett.

Dolan called St. Patrick’s Cathedral “a monument to the Irish people.”

He said the “Fighting 69th” National Guard unit that led the parade, which was originally organized as a militia unit for Irish immigrants, served as a reminder of the patriotism and generosity of the Irish people.

An estimated 100,000 marchers and 2 million spectators attend each year’s parade, which dates back to 1762.

Maggie McGwin, 25, of Brooklyn, said she came to the parade for the first time since moving to New York last year from Wisconsin.

“I have a lot of roots in Irish culture. It just makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger,” she said.

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