The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York is to change its route again in 2012 so that is passes by the American Irish Historical Society, the traditional bookend of the parade.
Last year the parade ended at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, bypassing the American Irish building which is located on East 81st street. Previously the parade had ended at East 86th Street, but in an effort to cut overtime bills for city parade workers and police the parade route had been shortened.
Following representations by the society, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has now agreed to have the parade pass the building and end at 83rd Street.
The parade will now start two blocks further up Fifth on 46th Street. Dr. Kevin Cahill, the director general of the American Irish Historical Society pronounced himself very pleased with the outcome.
He wrote to Bloomberg after this year’s parade and explained that the Historical Society, along with St. Patrick’s Cathedral, had long been viewed as the only two buildings with direct Irish connections on the route.
“I am delighted that the mayor was responsive to our request and that the parade will pass by the oldest Irish building in New York,” he stated.
The American Irish Historical Society, which holds a vast treasure trove of Irish artifacts, was recently given custody of one of the two flags that flew over the General Post Office in Dublin 1916 during the Easter Rising.
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day dignitaries gather at the society building for one of the most sought after invitations of the day. There is a viewing balcony where Cahill, himself a former parade grand
marshal, and other dignitaries assemble to watch the parade.
There was controversy with Bloomberg earlier this year when he made disparaging comments about drunks at the society at a function there.
He later apologized.
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