De Blasio joins parade-goers at Sunnyside/Woodside’s St. Pats for All

March 3, By Christian Murray

Kids from the Bronx, gay activists, die-hard Irishmen and, yes, plenty of politicians, all turned out for the 15th St. Pats for All Parade in Sunnyside/Woodside on Sunday.

The parade took on a very political flavor this year—with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is boycotting the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue, in attendance with more than 10 council members.

De Blasio told a large crowd at the beginning of the event that “this parade celebrates diversity, inclusion and unity and that is what this city is about.”

De Blasio said that when the parade got started 15 years ago, it was not easy getting it off the ground. “It, however, caught on because it was the right thing to do.”

“A lot of times you have to start things in the direction of progressive values and start a process of change… and over time people take to it and understand it is the right way,” he said.

The parade was established after Irish groups were prohibited from marching under gay banners on Fifth Ave. That policy continues and that is why de Blasio will not be attending the Manhattan event.

Melissa Mark-Viverito , the council speaker, said that this neighborhood’s St. Pats for All Parade is the place to be. “It includes everyone…and welcomes and embraces everyone.”

State Sen. Mike Gianaris, however, complimented the parade organizers on the big turnout. “One of the great joys of representing Sunnyside/Woodside is watching this grow each year. And I don’t think I have seen a crowd this big before,” Gianaris said.

Meanwhile, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who protested at the Fifth Avenue parade many years ago, focused largely on the neighborhood, urging parade goers to even shop at local stores. “Support this community that supports equality for all,” he said.

The message of gay rights and equality, however, still remained a central theme of the event.

This year’s grand marshals—Tom Duane and Terry McGovern–spoke at great length about gay rights and their concerns about oppressive laws that have been introduced or passed in Africa and India.

Participants

Among this year’s participants were The Keltic Dream Irish Dancers, a group of 35 children from the Bronx, who performed classic jigs as the speeches were going on.

The pipe bands and traditional Irish musicians added to the Irish authenticity of the event; so too, did an Irish language school and the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dancers. Even the local Sunnyside dog group, SUDSMUTS, marched, with their dogs dressed in an assortment of green regalia such as a scarf with “Kiss me I’m Irish.”

At the same time, there were also a variety of children’s groups marching under a multitude of banners; the Shannon Gaels, Swim Strong, Sunnyside/Woodside Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts of Sunnyside Woodside and various schools.

A plethora of gay groups were also out in force. Among them was Stonewall Democrats of NYC, Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee and DignityNY.

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65 Responses to De Blasio joins parade-goers at Sunnyside/Woodside’s St. Pats for All

  1. Stay Loose, Sunnyside

    The mayor also mentioned that he had heard the the place to go after the parade was Saints and Sinners for some restoratives to marching in the cold weather. Did anyone join him? We had another party to attend...

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  2. JaneGrissom

    So, Mayor Big Bird- the man who wishes to destroy good schools and reward the bad ones, showed up in Sunnyside. He boycotts the mainstream Fifth Avenue parade. And we are supposed to be flattered by his appearance? I noticed that he was surrounded by police - the police force whom he despises. What a phony!

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  3. Doge

    Gay this, gay that.

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  4. Sunnysideisblooming

    What a great day yesterday was for Sunnyside! Parade and music festival. Hey, do something good for the neighborhood. Check out my group sunnysideisblooming.com. We are trying to do planting projects around the neighborhood. Check us out and be positive about Sunnyside! You can make a positive difference in Sunnyside!!!! You'll be hearing more about us as the year goes on! Give us a look.

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  5. Krissi

    Beyond whether or not you agree with the parade or DeBlasio, its always so great to see the community come together for events like this. I'm sure the restaurants and bars did good business afterwards, as well as the smaller stores during the parade.

    I met quite a few new "neighbors" there and ran into a bunch of people from my building too. Such fun!

    Did anyone catch who was that great dancing marching band in blue at the end of the parade? I didn't notice a banner. They were fab!

    Also unless I missed them where were our Cental American coalition? Usually we have a Mexican troupe and a Peruvian troupe, no?

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  6. Celtic Bark

    Tolerance is a two way street.

    Apparently, some people cannot tolerate those who wish to act according to their religious faith and try to bully them into going against it.

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  7. Ari Fink

    There once was a time in America when the backseat of a convertible was reserved for war heroes or for someone who was to be admired for outstanding contributions to society. Yesterday that seat was reserved for a Transvestite with whom our mayor eagerly posed for pictures with..Yesterday's parade was not a homage to a saint or a celebration of Irish heritage but simply a gay pride media opportunity

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  8. JaneGrissom

    Definitely was a gay parade. Which is fine, except organizers are dishonest about it.

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  9. Celtic Bark

    @Ari Fink

    I agree, this parade has absolutely nothing to do with honoring a saint. They really should change the name and spare Saint Patrick the disrespect. Let's call things what they really are. This is the shamrock franchise of the Gay Pride parade and should be called as such.

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  10. Chris

    I was disappointed that Squirts didn't have his own float! How could you call this all inclusive without one of Sunnyside's biggest celebrities!

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  11. JOR

    Great pictures, particularly the still shots in the slide show at the top of the article. Really like the third picture of DeBlasio framed by press and watchers, captures the moment. The Sunnyside Post should submit it to the Pulitizer Committee.

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  12. Stay Loose, Sunnyside

    smh

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  13. The truth at Last

    Thank you Ari.....well written. Certainly a 'gay" parade with an agenda to exclude those who dont share their point of view. Would the organizers have allowed the "Right to Life Party" to march with a banner? Why don't the organizers form a branch of their own religion and nominate their own saints ? Maybe cannonize a few deceased transvestites? And then worship them? And spread the Gospel according to Ru Paul?

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  14. Eire

    As an American of Irish ancestry, I take great offense to this parade! The parade should reflect our cultural identity, all the great things the Irish have done in this country and revear the patron saint of Ireland (St. Patrick). What I have seen of the last few years seems like a mess-mash of organizations with some Irish music blaring from an ugly wagon this does not reflect our cultural indentity. Further, it was a travesty to see some colored children dressed in Irish garb dancing like they were having a temper tantrum a few years ago. You don't see gay organizations macking other nationalities or cultures as they do with this parade.

    It is my opinion that Daniel Drumm is using this parade to further his political career, push the Gay agenda and deepen his pockets. Beside having some people walk down the street wearing green does this parade heighten the understanding of what the Irish people went throught both here in America or abroad. When you go to any other St. Patrick's Parade you see the organization teach our heritage through music, word and wrote. Mr. Drumm could partner with the Irish cultural center which isn't that from the parade site but that would require more then a permit from the Office of Community Affairs and the Police Department. I do not see why Mr. Drumm needs to bring down the Irish into the fad of outted Gays.

    I feel whatever is your lifestyle keep it to yourself why must you parade your life choices and draw attendtion to yourself. I'm left handed, I don't to raise hell because the rest of the world is right handed. What you do on your own time should be just that and besides the Gay people have a whole month in June. So I thank for the future besides using their media connections both Mr. Van Brammer and Drumm should either try to make their event more enriched about Irish-Americans or just change the name of the parade to their real thrust.

    Additionally, as a Catholic it hurts my heart that reverance is not shown during this event. People past by Queen of Angels church as if it is just another building. Any Irishman knows we have great respect for Mary Queens of the Angels, so why did I have to see lude behavior infront of the church?

    I feel that the community feel as I do should come together next yearto block this aweful event. Mocking all the things Irishman and woman worked for Peace, Values, kinship and love of family, faith and your fellow man. What values has this parade showed us- political might can throw a gay party.

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  15. Celtic Bark

    @Eire

    I share some of your sentiment but I totally disagree with your call to block this event next time. As I have pointed out before, tolerance should go both ways. If a few thousand people want to have a gay pride parade mocking Saint Patrick and Christian faith, they have that constitutional right, as you have the right to let everyone know just how you feel about it. It's easy to be "tolerant" when you only tolerate things you agree with, a lesson the gay community might wish to learn as well.

    As for your remark about "colored children dressed in Irish garb" I fail to see what their skin color has to do with anything. I find nothing offensive about that. I haven't heard the term "colored" as applying to people since I heard some older relatives use it in the mid 1970's.

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  16. Celtic Bark

    One question for the organizers:

    There's a Muslim Day Parade in the city as well. I'll take a wild guess here and say that openly gay groups are not welcome in it. Will you try to impose yourselves on that parade as much as as you have on the traditional Saint Patrick's Day parade?

    I didn't think so.

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  17. Margie

    Eire is spot on.

    The St. Patrick's day celebration is to pay homage to St. Patrick and the celebration of Irish heritage.

    As stated in the above article, "The parade took on a very political flavor this year". Hello -- This is not about politics -- it's a celebration of Irish heritage. So these phoney politicians should go home!! - because that's all they are and they are using this traditional celebration for their own personal gain.

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  18. Eire

    Tolerance and miss guidance are two different things . Mr. Drumm is making a great deal of money branding his ragga muffin Gay parade as dually a celebration of both Irish and Gay cultures. My point was his central theme of inclusion was a far amissed- leaning more about being Gay and less about Irish culture.

    When I use the term colored it was meant not as a way of disrespect but unclear of the children nationalities and why didnt he use a real dancing troop rather kids dressed up and doing the pee pee dance.

    I would like to see a parade which bears its namesake. Danny drumm holds his event here because of the number of Irish people in the area. Someone should ask Mr drumm how much he is many off this event and how much goes back to the sunnyside community?

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  19. ann

    Let's note that phony politicians are out in much greater numbers at the St. Patricks's Day parade on March 17! I don't hear any criticism of that.

    The point, as many of the speakers said, is that Irish culture is not owned by some but belongs to all. Including gay and lesbian people. The parade in Dublin recognizes not. It's just the parade in New York City that is 100 years behind. I suppose the Irish in Dublin don't really understand Irish culture or what it means to be Irish?

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  20. Luvu2

    This is a gay lefty parade period that has nothing to do with Ireland if people want a gay parade in March fine but don't call it st pats for all

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  21. Luvu2

    I dare dromm and jimmy van b to go to the Moslem day parade on a float

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  22. The truth at Last

    Is it ok to have a coven of witches march next year....with a banner? Or perhaps nambla ( north american Man Boy Love association) ? How bout a group of devil worshippers....if not? then why not? Are'nt they entitled to their beliefs?

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  23. future is now

    Krissi - the group was from Dobbs Ferry

    Eire - the parade route doesn't pass by Queen of Angels church anymore. There were no lewd acts either.

    It was a great parade, good energy. Proud to be a Sunnysider!

    This parade has been political over the years. Let's applaud the Mayor for sticking to his principles.

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  24. The truth at Last

    Should I allow my young daughter to share a restroom with this 'drag queen" Or maybe since the "drag queen" has the option perhaps share the mens room with a young boy? Then how would I be able to explain why their is a "mens" room and a "ladies " room in the first place.....would'nt just be logical to have niether designation?

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  25. Kramden's Delicious Marshall

    Seriously, what on earth does a man dressed up as and pretending to be a woman have to do with Saint Patrick or Ireland? Is putting on make-up and women's clothes considered some sort of a praise-worthy accomplishment these days?

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  26. Eamon

    When the St. Patricks' Day Parade started, before the birth of this great nation, by the way, it was a way for the Irish here in New York to say to the "natives" that we are here, we're not going anywhere, and this is our home as much as it is yours.

    To have a St. Patricks Day Parade in America and not include everyone is hypocritical and, furthermore, shows that you don't understand who we, The New York Irish, are as a people.

    I go to the pride parade in June, and no one yells at me "You are straight, you are not allowed here." I went to the Indian Independence Parade on Lexington Avenue as a kid, because it was right up the street from my house, and no one said "You are white, you are not allowed here." Then why is it ok for us to say these things at our parade?

    It wasn't too long ago that there were signs in this country that said things like "Irish need not apply" or "No coloreds, no dogs, no Irish". Thankfully, we no longer live in those times. People fought to end those policies. Unfortunately, other people fought to continue those policies, and they, like you, Eire, are on the losing side of history.

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  27. Nat

    I can't believe that in 2014 there is so much hatred and ignorance in New York City. Move to Alabama if you can't handle the gay. We are here to stay. Being gay is not a choice, nor is it a lifestyle. Grow up and learn a little about your neighbors. I'm sorry I missed the parade but I will be sure to strut my gay stuff next year and embarrass all of you bigots.

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  28. Dawn O'Day

    While posters on both sides of the issue may go too far in their effort to express themselves and I can't agree with any extremity, it saddens me that the Irish Americans have been attacked by the gay community because a handful of organizers have their heads in the dark.

    Gay rights must be won, I agree. But you've made your point here. Can't you please move on to another ethnic group with extremely conservative members? Stop hammering on the Irish Americans. This boycott of one of America's favorite days makes everyone look ugly including gays.

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  29. Celtic Bark

    @Nat

    It would be really impressive if you decided to "strut your gay stuff" at the next Muslim Day Parade. That I would go to see.

    Anyway, I thought the parade was about Saint Patrick, not about you strutting your gay stuff, as you so eloquently put it.

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  30. Celtic Bark

    The organizers of the traditional Saint Patrick's Parade are conservative and Catholic-based and simply want their parade to reflect their faith and moral viewpoint. Why should they not be allowed to do so? Why would people opposed to those views insist on crashing the party? Right of free association, anyone?

    The organizers of the Sunnyside parade are also free to run their parade as they see fit so there shouldn't be any problem except that social agendas must be pushed and politicians need photo ops.

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  31. Nat

    Celtic Bark, you didn't take my advice. Crawl out from under that rock! Do you think sexuality is a "social agenda"? Or were you referring to something else?

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  32. emit

    When did become that if you wore green you became Irish
    Or the rainbow you became Queer.

    If the gays want to have a parade then should just title it something gay but not hide it as something else.

    I agree/diagree with some of the above posts & do think whoever ran the parade »it should some how relate to Irish culture & give back to the community whether its the ga¥, straight, disabled, left handed, dog lovers or whatever. I know the Manhattan parade uses their money for cultural programs.

    sunnysideisblooming.com

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  33. Frank

    Cheers Dawn O'Day

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  34. Greenman

    The saint pats for all parade is such a great community event. It was really great to see all the community groups participate. I'm glad we live in such welcoming community that encourages all aspects of irish-American culture to share in celebrating irish heritage.

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  35. Beenhere25years

    Colored children in Irish garb. Wow! That guy is scary.

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  36. Ari Fink

    @Greenman...I must have been wearing a blindfold because I
    tbe celebration of Irish " culture"...The only culture present was a gay culture and that was "OUT" in full force...I guess you could say the She-Male was a big success considering how eager the mayor was to meet him..although I am at a loss as to what a She-Male has to do with a so called St Patrick's parade

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  37. Get Off Your A** and Create Your Own FLoat

    Everyone likes to complain that the parade was all gays marching...same complainers aren't involved in ANYTHING regarding the parade. Get off your smelly couch, get yourself to a parade organization meeting, and promote your precious Saint Patrick (who was a Roman, by the way). The parade on Fifth Ave isn't about Irish culture either-- it's about cops, firemen, and getting loaded. If gay people are the ones with the energy and drive to march and organize, then they are the ones you will see, you bunch of hater crybabies. Welcome to the 21st century, you aren't in charge anymore. Get used to it.

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  38. Patricia Dorfman

    Better resolution of video on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UU2jfWThy9X2ImzqbIf3_70A&v=y-osH0Jfsdw#t=848

    At minute:second 12:48 PO Luis Diaz, our excellent 108 Community Affairs officer in blue windbreaker bops by
    At 13:39, I pass by
    At 15:00 Dorothy Morehead makes an appearance

    Thank christian, enjoyed article, pix and spot-your-pal video. tho, not sure about Pulizer, @JOR...Let's see if murray leaves this in: for another St. Pat's story and pix by me, pick up the "woodside herald" on Friday. that's right, a newspaper, news on pieces of paper :)

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  39. I'm so tired

    I want a parade for the Puerto Rican terrorist bombers that mellisa wants to let to free, these are the type people that are are in power now

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  40. I'm so tired

    Nat , I do have a question , bill di blasios wife was once a lesbian true !! But later must of changed her mind to be straight or is she living a lie or not having a choice or I don't know , please explain

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  41. I'm so tired

    Dear nat .. What I'm trying to say is I have nothing against gay people but it doesn't always have to be about you or your sexuality. Can't a parade just be about st pat ? Why bring sex into it. A basket ball star is coming out as gay , why I'm just here to watch basketball I don't care what you do at home same with the football player , it's kind of like you want the attention .

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  42. Pat

    What is really funny is that there are many 'gays' marching in the
    NY St Patrick's day parade, just not flaunting their sexual life style.
    ....They are marching to honor their heritage ....

    I would call them Intelligent, classy "gays" who have self respect.

    The parade is not about sex, it is about St Patrick and honoring
    our ancestors who came here and helped to build this country.

    Come on parade organizers, call it what it is, A Gay Pride parade ..

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  43. Disengaged Business Owner

    @erie "Colored children?" Wow, what a bigot! Maybe learn a little bit about these remarkable young people -- and their teacher, thoroughly WHITE and 100% IRISH. http://www.thekelticdreams.com/aboutus.html

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  44. Anonymous

    Celtic Bark, no one is asking anyone to go against their religion, just saying to STFU if you have an issue with equil rights for everyone. Your an Idiot if you really feel your opinion on religion entitles you to voice an opinion that could keep someone from being happy.

    P.S your Dad is gay and your mom wish's you were adopted.

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  45. Enuf

    Instead of just complaining here all the people who oppose the parade should voice there concern to the pd, van brammer or the community board!

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  46. JaneGrissom

    Another far left gay parade with politicians who will not go the big parade on Fifth Avenue. They think they are "brave" - they are not. BTW: having lived in the deep south, I saw less bigotry there than I do in NYC especially towards people of faith. Somebody hear wrote "go back to Alabama'. I would love it - they are thriving and I rarely heard the "n" word there. I hear it here ALL THE TIME. Also saw lots of interracial dating there.

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  47. J Thokai

    A truly sad news for normal people. Enough said.

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  48. The Grimster

    Colored OMG! wow haven't heard that term since Archie Bunker.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  49. Craic Dealer

    Free to hate but not Free to Love.

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  50. Hoof Hearted

    Craic Dealer, thanks for the profound bumper sticker wisdom.

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  51. Anonymous

    Don't make a great parade in Sunnyside all about the new gang leading the city (somewhere, where is not clear).....

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  52. Greenman

    Ari,

    There are many different parts of irish and American culture. The st pats for all parade allows all people who wish to celebrate irish culture join in the parade either by marching or watching. The parade helps to unite the many different parts of our community. Many of the groups that participated are from Sunnyside and woodside and all wish to show their support for all members of our community.

    I'm sorry that you don't feel that it was an irish celebration. Maybe you should research who was honored.

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  53. Luvu2

    This is a gay green parade

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  54. Pumped U Up Putin

    This type of parade would never happen in my country RUSSIA!

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  55. Beenhere25years

    Any chance that you'll go back to your country. There are some job openings in the Ukraine.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  56. Al Coholic

    Hey, relax. Have a drink. Drinks are good

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  57. A.Bundy

    In Russia, parade marches in you!

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  58. pathetic sheep

    There is no God. Wake up dummies. You belong to a cult people. Wise up.

    What an incredible waste of time. Religion was invented by MAN. It has been used as a tool of control, oppression, corruption and brainwashing for millennia. The Bible proudly tells stories of violence, slavery and the treatment of women as 2nd class individuals.

    Look up the history of Christianity and you will find centuries of oppression toward many groups: Jews, Gays,(both burned alive) Women (Imagine belonging to a religious sect that doesnt allow women to be priests-Catholocism, Judaism, Islam, the list goes on).

    This is your proud heritage? Congrats! No wonder the 'great' parade in Manhattan is really about getting wasted on booze...trying to forget the past maybe?

    "Many stories are told in connection with St. Patrick. The three-leaf clover was said to be used by the saintly bishop to explain the Trinity to the pagans, which is why it is such a common St. Patrick's Day symbol today. Another legend has Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland; snakes were a popular symbol among the Irish pagans. He is certainly one of the most revered saints in the Catholic Church."

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  59. Woody Woodpecker

    truer words were never spoken Pathetic Sheep. People actually believe that some dude or dudette is looking down on them and judging them.

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  60. Celtic Bark

    Woody woodpecker comment above....

    A case study in intolerance.

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  61. Luvu2

    Libs hate god but he loves them any way

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  62. Chilly Billy

    Your chosen name suits you well, "pathetic sheep."

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  63. rook

    that de blasio is such a phony one term mayor.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  64. pathetic sheep

    chilly lil billy, you are just sad & scared because you know I am right. At least I have the guts to say it. You on the other hand keep drinking the 'holy' kool-aid.

    Have you seen the story of Muslim nations that are banning the film 'Noah' because of its portrayal of a 'Holy event'? Think about it...they are banning a fictitious movie about a ficticious event. Might be the funniest thing of 2014, thus far.

    PS

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  65. Tommy Dullaghan

    Although I enjoyed your article I need to advise you the Sunnyside parade was not created or had anything to do with LGBT at its inception. I grew up in Sunnyside and its because we are the second largest Irish population to Woodlawn in NYC and thought it ridiculous we didn't have a parade that it came to be. Beside Manhattan we always went to Rockaway for a parade. It was basically a street fair in the beginning just celebrating "everything Irish" but as we know it has turned into more than that now. Over the years it became what it is for LBGT and others who feel they are excluded from other parades most notably the 5th Ave parade.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

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Town hall meetings scheduled this week, with advice provided on snagging an affordable unit on LIC waterfront

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Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside and Woodside residents will get their chance to learn how to apply for an affordable rental unit on the Long Island City waterfront this week.

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The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 29, at the Sunnyside Community Services Center at 7pm. A second meeting will be held at the Big Six Towers on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm.

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For details on the meetings, see below:

HPS Town Halls Flyer 091714-1

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Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week is scheduled to take place next month and 32 restaurants have already signed up to participate.

The event, organized by Sunnyside Shines, aims to showcase Sunnyside as a destination for high-quality cuisine. Its goal is tempt residents to try new places and draw foodies from other parts of New York City.

The event begins on Oct. 20 and concludes on Friday, Oct. 24.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25 with many offering additional lunch specials.

The participating restaurants span the globe. There will be Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Mexican, Peruvian, French, Colombian, Filipino, Paraguayan, Tibetan, Thai, and Seasonal American food on offer.

Restaurants from Skillman Avenue through 47th Avenue have signed up this year. Last November, when Sunnyside Restaurant Week was launched, 17 restaurants took part.

“Last year’s event was a big success for neighborhood restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director, of Sunnyside Shines. “I am proud that we have doubled the number.”

Participating restaurants will also include newcomers to the Sunnyside scene—such as Tibetan Dumpling Café and Blu Orchid. Venturo and Salt & Fat, which were recently recognized as Michelin “Bib Gourmands,” will be participating again this year.

Sunnyside Shines has listed the 32 restaurants on its website. The list also includes those restaurants that have put a special menu together for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

Restaurant week will also feature contemporary art, which will be placed at five participating restaurants. The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a contemporary art organization, and will include work from three Sunnyside artists.

The artwork will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

“We are really looking forward to Sunnyside Restaurant Week this year,” Thieme said. However, she said: “there’s a huge problem – figuring out how to eat in all these amazing restaurants in just one week!”

Takesushi

Takesushi

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Venturo, Salt & Fat win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award

Venturo sunnyside

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Salt & Fat and Venturo were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Sunnyside restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

The popular Thai restaurant Ayada, located at 77-08 Woodside Avenue, also received the award.

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Sunnyside farmers market will be open all-year round, if organizers get community support

Sunnyside Farmers Market1

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket might be open all-year round if the organizers get enough support from the community.

The market, which is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, is currently open on Saturdays from May through December.

However, Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, said that the farmers are willing to come to Sunnyside all-year round. She said that she has been circulating a petition calling for market to remain open every Saturday–including during the cold winter months. So far she has 800 signatures.

The petition has recently gone online and can be found by clicking on this link:  http://conta.cc/1nxfS6H

“I think the neighborhood is ready for it,” Cagle said. “There are a lot of people in the area who like fresh, local food—and they don’t want to have to go too far to get it especially in winter.”

The market, which opened in June 2007, has been a success, Cagle said. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling items such as bread, vegetables, meat and fish.

This year the market opened a month earlier than in previous years and plenty of residents came out and bought items, Cagle said. “We were very busy, it was great,” she said.

The move to open year round would not be unprecedented in Queens. Cagle said the market in Jackson Heights, which was once seasonal, now operates all year round.

Cagle said that not all of the vegetable providers will be able to come out in winter due to the seasonal nature of their produce. However, she expects about 10 vendors will participate during the cold winter months.

“I think if we get enough support, there is a strong possibility that we will be open this winter,” she said.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, xxx , Melissa Mark Viverto (Source:  Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Kumar Ragunath, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Martha Puruncajas, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

arenaSept. 23, By Christian Murray

City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out.

The Sunnyside Garden Arena, a 2,000-seat venue that was once located where Wendy’s now stands at 44-11 Queens Blvd, hosted boxing events from 1945 to 1977 during the golden years of NYC boxing. Many famous fighters from that era got their start at the arena, and it was a stepping stone to the brighter lights of Madison Square Garden.

Members of the Ring 8 Boxing Association, a group for retired boxers, unveiled the new street sign along with Dave Diamante, the official announcer at the Barclays Center, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Two years ago, many of the same boxing enthusiasts came out when a memorial was placed on the front lawn of Wendy’s that also marked the location.

John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away from the arena, said when the memorial was unveiled:“This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ].”

The arena was where Gerry Cooney launched his professional career, Edebolhs said. Cooney would go on to fight Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title. Cooney lost.

Luke Adams, a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said when the monument was unveiled that the arena was not just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”

Sunnyside Gardens Arena

Sunnyside Garden Arena

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Irish Music Festival to hit Boulevard on Saturday, wounded veterans to benefit
Irish Music Festival

Irish Music Festival

Sept. 22, By Michael Florio

Eleven bars and restaurants—known as Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars–are teaming up to host an Irish music festival this Saturday.

The eleven establishments, which are located on or near Queens Blvd, are hosting the 2nd annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day music festival.

The event will kick off at 6 pm, Sept. 27, with live music and drink specials at every participating bar.

The drink specials are for party goers who purchase a $10 wristband. The specials, which are available at all 11 establishments, include $3 ciders, $4 well drinks and $5 craft beers. Each bar/restaurant may also offer its own additional specials.

There will be live music, dancing, bagpipers and DJs. There will also be authentic Irish meals, such as Bar 43’s Irish festival menu, which will consist of Irish beef stew, Irish style fish and chips and an all day Irish breakfast.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to wounded veterans who are currently being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Participating bars include, The Courtyard Ale House, Bar 43, McGuinness’s Saloon, PJ Horgan’s, Molly Blooms, Jack’s Fire Dept., Bliss Street Station, Arriba Arriba, The Gaslight, Sidetracks, and Maggie Mae’s.

The event will be the Boulevard of Bars’ sixth major event in the past two years. So far, it has raised more than $25,000 for charities and local organizations.

Music Lineup - Boulevard Bars-1

 

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Sunnyside resident documents the rise and fall of Comic Book Heaven

Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

A well-known comic store called Comic Book Heaven closed last year after being in operation for about thirty years.

Joseph Liesner, 80, the owner of the comic store (which was located at 48-14 Skillman Avenue), said last year that he decided to shut down the business since there was little interest in comic books anymore. “The store’s not making any money and, besides, I’m as old as Methuselah,” Liesner said last year, with a wide grin.

Sunnyside resident E.J. McLeavey-Fisher released this video documentary on Liesner and his store.

Liesner claimed last June that the digital age is what has killed his business.

“The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.”

Comic Book Heaven moved to Skillman Avenue three decades ago, after doing a brisk business at a flea market at the corner of Queens Blvd and Jackson Avenue.

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