NYC: St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013

This time last year we were stood somewhere on 5th Avenue in the freezing cold, with light snow falling, ready to watch the 251st New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The parade is usually held on March 17th except on the occasion when it falls on a Sunday, so last year the parade was held on Saturday 16th.

St. Patrick's Day is a religious and cultural holiday celebrating the death date (March 17th) of Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognised patron saint of Ireland. It's celebrated in the United States primarily as a recognition of Irish and Irish American culture.
The parade marches 1.5miles up 5th Avenue, starting on 44th Street and finishing on 86th Street. We headed up to the 70s just before 11am, in hopes of finding a good spot. And we did, right at the front, where we then stood for a very long time. It would seem that it takes quite a while for the parade to get to the end...rookie mistake!
The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade is apparently the largest & most famous parade that is held in NYC; it attracts approximately 2 million spectators each year. Unlike other NYC parades there are no floats or commercial aspects. Instead the parade is made up of 150-200,000 marchers, bands, high school bands, bag-pipers, Irish dancers and politicians.
Despite how incredibly cold we were, the atmosphere was wonderful! In no time we were joined by a large crowd of people, waving their Irish flags, wearing green & clapping/whooping at everything! It was impossible not to be in high spirits!

Being from the tiny Island right next door to Ireland, and the fact that Andrew's maternal Grandpa is Irish (and I'm sure there's a little bit of Irish in my family too) we didn't feel too much like we didn't belong, we were just a bit more (British) mellow about the whole thing...
I loved this guy's shamrock jumper ^ And his flat cap & cane!
There were also some rather interesting uniforms, mainly belonging to the high school bands....
We stood in the same spot for about 2.5 hours watching the parade, which was more than long enough for our poor little legs, which at this point had frozen solid. I'm not sure how we managed quite so long but I certainly respect the people that stick out the whole 5 hours (or think they are crazy...)!
With stiff legs & numb feet we went in search of warmth, piping hot drinks and plates piled high with food! If we ever have the chance to see the parade again we would certainly be more prepared - I packed for a London March, not realising that a New York March is significantly colder.

Happy St. Patrick's Day for tomorrow everyone!

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