Rockaway St. Patrick’s parade draws huge crowd despite weather
by Patrick Kearns
Mar 11, 2015 | 3263 views | 1 1 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Bill De Blasio’s banner marches without the mayor, as he arrived late to the parade.
Mayor Bill De Blasio’s banner marches without the mayor, as he arrived late to the parade.
The Rockaway and Breezy Point Ancient Order of Hibernians march in the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The Rockaway and Breezy Point Ancient Order of Hibernians march in the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Myriad city agencies were represented on the brisk Saturday.
Myriad city agencies were represented on the brisk Saturday.
Despite high winds and near-freezing temperatures, thousands of Rockaway residents, family and friends lined Neponsit Avenue and Rockaway Beach Boulevard with corned beef, cold beer and plenty of green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The 29-block parade, which starts at Beach 129th Street near St. Francis De Sales and ends at St. Camilia’s on Beach 110th Street, features drums, bagpipes, Irish dancing, city workers and community, religious and civic organizations.

“This year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in the Rockaways once again was enjoyed by thousands,” New York State Joseph Addabbo said. “The always-incredible turnout continues to prove our people's devotion to community, and of course is a fantastic testament to the area's rich Irish history. I love being able to be a part of that. My thanks to Mike Benn, the parade committee and all who helped in putting together one of the greatest parades of the year in the city, including our uniformed services personnel -- particularly the Sanitation Department who went above and beyond to give parade marchers and goers a safe and snow-free path.”

This year’s grand marshal was New York City Firefighters Union President Steve Cassidy.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be selected to lead the march for the 40th Annual Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” said Steve Cassidy in a release. “This event and what it means to generations of Americans of Irish heritage can simply not be measured.”

Cassidy led a long line of New York City employees, including firefighters, to cheers and waves from onlookers in celebration of the city’s Irish heritage.

“Our great nation was founded by immigrants, like my Irish grandparents and great grandparents, who came here to work hard and establish a better life for their children,” said Cassidy. “For them to see one of their descendants honored at the head of the parade would bring great joy as it does to me.”

The daylong celebration concluded with parties all over the peninsula, and a rare non-summer opening for local haunt Connolly’s.

Residents start the day by lining up on Neponsit Avenue well before the parade even starts. Not every New York City resident showed up on time, however, as Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived at the parade after its start time, skipping at least the first 10 blocks.

By the time he joined the parade, he was greeted by jeers and chants of “worst mayor ever” by some Rockaway residents.

De Blasio previously received heat from Rockaway locals after she showed up late to a memorial for the victims of Flight 587 last November.

With a large amount of public officials gathered in one place, some politicking occurs, including the Queens Public Transit Committee, which used the event to call attention to a number of transit issues that affect the peninsula.

They advocated for the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, citywide ferry service, extended bus and train routes, the elimination of tolls on Rockaway bridges, and a new Queens Metro North Station.

“We are fed up with our city discriminating and ignoring the people of Queens,” Philip McManus a representative for the group said in an email. “We have a right to express ourselves and petition our government to address serious grievances.”

McManus said they also missed the mayor.

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Philip McManus
March 14, 2015
Dear Friends,

The Queens Public Transit Committee strongly urges everyone to attend this very important Community Board 14, Transportation Meeting. The meeting is on Monday, March 16, 2015, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at West Temple 147-02 Newport Avenue, Neponsit New York, 11694

MoveNY will present their proposal to reduce citywide tolls including Rockaway and to add the East River Crossings to raise transportation money for maintenance and expansion.

It's time to organize and unite our community and make a difference.

Please confirm which subcommittees you want to support and or co-chair.

Please share on social media: we are looking for people to join the Queens Public Transit Committee and our subcommittees including:

Queens Rockaway Beach Line

Citywide Ferry Service

All Queens Subways (A & Shuttle train)

All Queens LIRR Stations

All Queens Buses (Q 52)

All Queens Roadways, Highways, Bridges and Tunnel

Elimination of the tolls in Rockaway and reduction of tolls in Queens

A New Queens Metro North Station

Philip McManus


Queens Public Transit Committee

Faster transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.