The first ever McLean Avenue in Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held this past Saturday and welcomed thousands of people from different Irish organizations. McLean Avenue is home to the largest Irish community in New York and likely America.
Bagpipers, Irish dancers, Irish music groups and more all marched down the Emerald Mile in McClean, the ‘Little Ireland’ of New York.
McLean Avenue is no stranger to Irish merchants and businesses. Eateries, pubs and gift shops line the Avenue and all welcomed the massive business opportunity that the parade helped generate.
Nuala Purcell , head of the journal committee ,owner of NU photo Shop on McLean one of the main organisers stated they were “overwhelmed”by the massive crowds who attended.
“We look forward to building on this and making it even bigger and better next year” she said.
Grand Marshal Judge Arthur Doran, an active member in the Yonkers community, was delighted to be the inaugural Grsnd Marshal. Parade Chairperson Deirdre O’Mara also proclaimed the day a great success.
Peggy Egan from Mineola Long Island came to the parade and couldn’t believe her eyes. “ “It was fantastic, a great family day and a really wonderful neighborhood.” she said.
Although Yonkers has an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, this weekend’s was McClean Avenue’s first ever. The event was organized by the McLean Avenue Merchants Association (MAMA) which is only eight months old itself. Rory Dolan, well known local restaurant owner stated the first parade “Was an incredible success, we could not be happier.”
Spearheading the effort to host a parade were MAMA members who wanted they said “To have a family and community based parade on the famed "Emerald Mile"; the home place in Yonkers of Irish culture, music, dance & the many families who have come here from Ireland and have found a welcoming home in Yonkers,” according to their mission statement on their Facebook page.
Marchers in the parade took full advantage of the unseasonably warm weather while lining up on side-streets off of McLean Avenue. The sun was shining down as marchers got in order from numerous different associations - both Irish and not - who wanted to take part in the inaugural celebration that marched down McLean.
While the day became overcast as the afternoon progressed, the mood did the opposite. If the parade itself wasn’t enough fun, the after parties that filled McLean Avenue’s eateries, pubs and homes remained lively throughout the evening.
People young and old decked in out in green lined the sidewalks of McLean Avenue, while some cheered and waved down from rooftops and windows of the overlooking buildings. Staff members of the numerous businesses along the avenues stuck around their front doors to watch the parade march by and prepare for the flux of party people that would come later in the day. Photographers and news reporters weaved throughout the parade to document what will hopefully become an annual event in Woodlawn.
Even after the official end of the parade and re-admittance of traffic on McLean, the party kept going. Bars and restaurants boasted live music throughout the night. Rory Dolan’s on McLean was packed from early in the day and played host to The Narrowbacks. J.P. Clarke’s was similarly full all day, as were the several other Irish bars and restaurants up and down the Avenue.
MAMA could have only been pleased with the way the day played out. Certainly, the community was. The celebrations weren’t limited to any certain age group, and people ranging from small children to the elderly all took part in the day’s fun.
Below, check out a report on the McLean Avenue Parade: