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.