It promises to be a beautiful day for the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue -- if you don't mind the crowds, you find amusement in the looks-like-that-dude's-going-to-keel-over-any-moment suspense, and you can overlook the politics of exclusion.
I went to the parade once, years ago. It was worth it at the time. I went to a lot of parades that year -- even the Labor Day Parade. I'd never lived anywhere that had so many parades: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter...
These days, I'm ambivalent about New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade. I like the idea of the tradition; I like the idea of parades in general. But, I'd rather avoid the crowds, don't find drunkenness amusing and have mixed feelings about celebrating with a group commemorating pride, culture and nationalism that would so vehemently exclude fellow nationals based on their sexual orientation. Year after year, the New York City parade organizers continue to disallow LGBT groups from marching along with their fellow Irish. As the chairperson of Dublin Pride said this week, this attitude and practice are "deeply un-Irish."
At the same time, it's the organizers' prerogative to include who they want. I disagree with the decision, and I support the protesters who organize every year; that's my prerogative. Over the weekend, Buffalo, N.Y., hosted the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York State to include an LGBT group. Yep, Buffalo. NYC parade organizers, take note.
If you want to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, but wouldn't be caught dead near the parade, other options are available. Check out these resources for things to do and places to go to get your green on:
If you want to go the parade (your prerogative), bear in mind that NYPD says it will show no tolerance for public drinking this year. It starts at 11:00 a.m. at Fifth Ave. and 44th St. and continues up the avenue to 86th St. Get information on the route, street closings and the alcohol warning here.