2008 - 247th New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Monday, March 17th 2008
Starting @ 44th Street and Fifth Avenue @11:00 a.m.
The Solemn Pontifical Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral
50th Street and Fifth Avenue @ 8:30 a.m.
additional NYC parade photos.
The parade marches up 5th Avenue, clan by clan, from 44th to 86th streets starting at 11am on St. Patrick's Day (March 17th). It will probably be televised on NBC.
The first official parade in the City was held in 1766 by Irishmen in a military unit recruited to serve in the American colonies. For the first few years of its existence, the parade was organized by military units until after the war of 1811. At that point in time, Irish fraternal and beneficial societies took over the duties of hosting and sponsoring the event.
Originally, Irish societies joined together at their respective meeting places and moved in a procession toward St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, St. James Church, or one of the many other Roman Catholic churches in the City. However, as the years passed, the size of the parade increased and around the year 1851, as individual societies merged under a single grand marshal, the size of the parade grew sharply.
Each year a unit of soldiers marches at the head of the parade; the Irish 165th Infantry (originally the 69th Regiment of the 1850's) has become the parade's primary escort, and they are followed by the various Irish societies of the city. Some of the other major sponsors and participants in the parade are the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the thirty Irish county societies, and various Emerald, Irish-language, and Irish nationalist societies.
The annual parade down Fifth Avenue to honor the patron saint of Ireland is a New York tradition that dates as far back as 1766. The festivities kick off at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue at 11:00 am on March 16th, with bagpipers, high school bands, and the ever-present politicians making their way up Fifth Avenue to 86th Street, where the parade will probably finish around 4:30 or 5:00 pm.
The best viewing spots are toward the north end of the parade route, away from the shopping and work-a-day crowds that throng the sidewalks below 59th Street. Try sitting on the upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a great view or catching a close-up view of the marchers where the parade turns east on 86th Street.
The New York Convention & Visitors Bureau says that the St. Patrick's Day Parade is the largest and most famous of the many parades held in the city each year.