Sept. 6, 2011 By Christian Murray
The New York City Police Museum in Lower Manhattan is hosting an exhibit entitled: “The Irish Whales: Olympic Champions of the NYPD, 1900 –1924,” from Labor Day through October 30th. This exhibit focuses on a group of New York City police officers who were champion weight-throwers of the once world-renowned Irish-American Athletic Club of Celtic Park, Queens.
Between 1904 and 1924, three New York City police officers – Martin Sheridan; Matt McGrath; and Pat McDonald – won 15 Olympic medals for the United States. They were part of a group of athletes that collectively became known as the “Irish Whales.” This exhibit includes photographs from more than a century ago of these athletes and their Celtic Park track & field in Sunnyside/Woodside, Queens, from a time when Western Queens had more sheep than residents.
Sponsored by the NYPD Emerald Society and the Winged Fist Organization, and made possible by a grant from PD O’Hurley’s Bar & Restaurant, this exhibit includes dozens of original photographs, medals and trophies, many never publically displayed, from the collection of the American Irish Historical Society.
For museum hours and directions, see: http://www.nycpolicemuseum.org
For additional information about the Irish-American Athletic Club, see: http://www.wingedfist.org
Last month, New York City honored the Irish-American Athletic Club by co-naming a street after the club’s emblem– a winged fist.
Today, “Winged Fist Way/ 43rd Street” is located between 48th and 50th Avenues in Woodside.