Woodside’s once quirky answer to the St. Patrick’s Day parade that marches down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, looked to be a large New York City staple.
On Sunday thousands of people showed up on Skillman Avenue and 47th Street for the St. Pat’s for All parade. There were men marching on stilts, dogs in costumes and lots of green, orange and white. A large police presence filled the street, the New York City Fire Department’s Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Corps marched and even some bigwigs like Mayor Bloomberg and mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota turned up for the celebration.
This is a big change from the first parade in 2000, which was held as a response to the Manhattan parade’s organizers barring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups from marching under their banner. The older parade’s committee says that was done to stop the onslaught of political and organizational banners seen in so many parades, including St. Pat’s for All.
Openly gay Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Astoria resident Brendan Fay, who was kicked out of the older parade three times for trying to march under an LGBT banner, were two individuals who helped start the Woodside event.
Marchers honored FDNY Chaplain the Rev. Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain who identified himself as gay and marched in the first St. Pat’s for All parade. Judge died on Sept. 11, 2001 at the Twin Towers. The event also remembered Robert Rygor, who pushed for a more inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade. Rygor died of HIV in 1994.