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Thousands Turn Out For Return of St. Pats For All Parade

Leaders of the St. Pats For All 2022 marching along Skillman Avenue Sunday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Mar. 7, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

The St. Pats for All parade came roaring back to life Sunday as more than two thousand people took to the streets of Woodside and Sunnyside to celebrate Ireland, inclusivity and diversity.

The parade, which was canceled last year due to COVID restrictions, proved it had lost none of its allure, with organizers estimating the large turnout may have been the biggest since it was founded in 2000.

More than 80 groups ranging from Irish cultural societies to LGBTQ organizations officially registered to take part, but organizers said many more groups turned up on the day. The sidewalks were filled with adults and children donning emerald green attire while many waved rainbow flags as well as the Irish tricolor.

The luck of the Irish was on the side of parade-goers as a drizzle of rain finally gave way to some sunshine when marchers took off from the traditional starting point of Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street at around 1:30 p.m.

The parade was preceded by a series of speeches from local, state and federal legislators. About twenty elected officials gathered on stage – reflecting the parade’s high standing among political leaders.

The festive crowd heard empowering and celebratory speeches about the parade’s importance to the community while there were some emotional moments too as speakers paid tribute to the late Tarlach MacNiallais.

MacNiallais, an Irish immigrant, had been an LGBTQ-rights and disability-rights activist as well as a long-time St. Pats For All board member. He died from COVID-19 in 2020 and his family members were Grand Marshalls of the parade. The parade was in his honor.

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Skillman Avenue was filled with marchers and spectators during the St. Pats For All parade Sunday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Attendees embracing the festive spirit at the St. Pats For All parade Sunday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

County Cork Pipes and Drums at the St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Among the legislators to attend the parade were U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Congresswomen Grace Meng and Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos as well as Assembly Members Catalina Cruz and Jessica González-Rojas.

The City Council Council was heavily represented and headed by lively Speaker Adrienne Adams. Queens Council Members Julie Won, Tiffany Cabán, Nantasha Williams, Sandra Ung, Linda Lee, Shekar Krishnan, Joann Ariola, Selvena Brooks-Powers and Lynn Schulman were also in attendance. Brooklyn Council Members Justin Brannan, Chi Ossé, Rita Joseph, Mercedes Narcisse, Crystal Hudson were also present along with Bronx Council Members Amanda Farías and Marjorie Velázquez as well as Manhattan Council Member Keith Powers.

Former Queens Council Member Danny Dromm, an LGBT activist who is of Irish heritage, also attended the event as did Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin and Consul General of Ireland in New York Helena Nolan.

Schumer recounted marching alongside MacNiallais during the last St Pats For All parade in 2020 — just weeks before his death. MacNiallais’ brother Tony held up a large picture of the former activist during the speeches. Tony and his brother Brendan also passionately spoke about their sibling.

Schumer told the large crowd that the St. Pats For All parade reflects American values – and particularly New York values — of welcoming people from around the world who have been persecuted. He recounted how many Irish had to flee their country during the Famine in the 1840s while many members of the LGBT community found solace by moving to New York over the last 50 years.

“This parade has a great symmetry, we love our diversity in New York,” Schumer said.

“We love the fact that we love one another and knowing the more diverse we are — and the more we welcome all kinds of people — the greater we are as well.”

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Senator Charles Schumer speaking at the St. Pats For All parade yesterday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Tony MacNiallais holds a large photo of his brother Tarlach at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Maloney said that while Irish people fled oppression in their own country, they also faced discrimination in America.

“It wasn’t too long ago that they had the signs up [reading] ‘Irish need not apply,’” Maloney said.

“But then everybody got over it and we’ve got to get over any type of bigotry or exclusion that this country has. And that’s what this parade is about. It’s also about being proud of who you are proud of who you love.”

An animated Richards said that the diverse crowd represented Queens and America as a whole.

“This is what America looks like, this is what America is all about – celebrating our diversity,” Richards said.

“190 countries represented in Queens County, 350 languages and dialects spoken in Queens County. If you want to get a taste of the world, come down to Queens County.”

Richards also slammed the organizers of Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day parade who still refuse to permit LGBT people to march. He said that the parade should not receive city funding until it changes its policy.

Won, who has represented the district since January, said that the parade was an example of community togetherness.

“This is what community looks like,” Won said.

“Our hearts are full and our love is overflowing in these streets for everyone to celebrate.”

She also paid tribute to MacNiallais for organizing the event in the past.

“Every step that we take today may we remember him,” Won said.

Queens Council Member Julie Won speaking at the St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

The loudest cheers were left for a fired-up New York Attorney General Letitia James who said St. Pats For All participants were marching for the LGBT community, freedom, democracy and the people of Ukraine. James’ boisterous campaign team was also present.

“And we march today because we love everyone, it’s about acceptance, “James said.

“And so I will use the love… to protect the LGBT community in New York, in Texas, in Florida, in Ohio — in all of those red states that will not accept others because there is more of us than there are of them.”

“We are one and we are back.”

The parade was led by the FDNY bagpipe band and featured several other marching bands including the County Cork Pipes and Drums and New York City’s Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps.

There was plenty of Irish tradition and regalia visible through Irish music and dance groups including the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dancers, McManus Irish Dance, Sunnyside/ Maspeth Youth Trad group as well as the Irish Arts Center.

Fogo Azul, a 50 member, New York City-based all-women Brazilian Samba Reggae drum line band added some South American spice while the Hungry March Band for Hunger Strikers also caught the eye.

 

LGBT social groups were also present and among them were the Lavender and Green Alliance — a group established by St. Pats For All founder Brendan Fay in the 1990s — and the Stonewall Democrats of NYC.

A number of New York politicians marched behind their own respective banners, while a group of city council members marched with a New York City Council banner.

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

The Lavender and Green Alliance marching at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Members of the Shannon Gaels Gaelic football club at the St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A variety of children’s groups marched under banners including Girl Scouts of Greater New York and Cub Scout Pack 90 from Astoria while the Shannon Gaels carried a set of Gaelic games goalposts through the streets.

Sunnyside United Dogs Society were also out again this year with their canines who were dressed for the occasion.

Anti-nuclear weapons groups were also present including the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (NYCAN), International Queers Against Nukes and Divest Nukes. Anti-war group Veterans Say No to Endless War and Militarism also marched.

Other groups included Sunnyside Community Services, NYC Midwives, Woodside on the Move and the Queens branch of Transporation Alternatives.

Watch all of the speeches from the 2022 St. Pats For All Parade Below

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A woman riding a horse and cariiage at the St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All parade-goers yesterday(Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All parade 2022 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All parade 2022 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All spectators (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

The Hungry March Band at the St. Pats For All parade Sunday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Fogo Azul, a 50 member, New York City-based all-women Brazilian Samba Reggae drum line band at the St. Pats For All 2022 (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

McManus Irish Dance at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

McManus Irish Dance at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All spectators yesterday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Children riding their scooters at St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

City Council members on stage at the St. Pats For All parade Sunday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Members of the New York City Council marching at the parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaking at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Congresswoman Grace Meng speaking at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

State Senator Michael Gianaris speaking at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Former Queens Council Member Danny Dromm (L) and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (R) at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy speaking yesterday (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Tony MacNiallais (L) and Brendan MacNiallais (R) at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

New York Attorney General Letitia James at St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

New York Attorney General Letitia James at St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz at St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz at St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Spectators at the St. Pats For All parade

Spectators at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Sunnyside Community Services at St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Consul General of Ireland in New York Helena Nolan.St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Consul General of Ireland in New York Helena Nolan at the St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

St. Pats For All (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Spectators at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Cumann Cháitlín agus Thomáis Uí Chléirigh / Conradh na Gaeilge at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Cumann Cháitlín agus Thomáis Uí Chléirigh / Conradh na Gaeilge at the St. Pats For All parade (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

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36 Comments

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Concerned Citizen

Savanna Georgia got the St Patrick’s day parade right. It was a celebration of everything I expect of Irish culture…the music, dancing, costumes, and catholic influence…this parade was not it…kinda seemed more like a progressive ego fest if you ask me.

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Lucky number 7 train

beautiful day and nice to see everybody out and enjoying themselves. Way to many politicians for my taste.

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Nisa

What Happened to Governor Kathy Hochul, who’s up for Re-election; and Mayor Eric Adams? Was this Parade Event, too
☘🌈 Diverse🌈☘ for them, Not to Attend?
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio always made an Effort to Attend!
So much – for Hochul and Adams, saying they Represent all the People of NYC ?🤨

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Riki

A Blessing in Disguise. Adams got his photo opp at the Rockaway parade the day before.
Hochul will be at the parade on 5th Avenue on the 17th is all.
Remember this when you go to vote.

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MaryBeth

I wish my Aunt Maggie was alive to read or hear about this. She died from catching covid in a nursing home in 2020. I am glad Cuomo did not attend.

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Genie

Hopefully i could attend next year. I tested positive for covid on Saturday and stayed home on Sunday.

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Gardens Watcher

So many attended, EXCEPT my congresswoman AOC. I thought she was a confirmed YES to attend?

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Margarita

Looking forward to cinco de mayo celebrations this year in Sunnyside. Those festivities are more reflective of the holiday.

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Gabby

You must be confused. The article is about an event in my the month of March. It’s about the St Patrick’s Day Parade.
If you hate Irish Americans why are you living in their neighborhood?

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Nisa

@Gabby, she Didn’t say anything about Hating Irish Americans, why So Vitriolic??
This is Not only your Neighborhood, it’s very Diverse!
Something we should All be Proud of and Celebrate Collectively👍🏽👍🏼☘🌈💚☘💚

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Trish Laughlin

Any St Patrick’s Day Parade no matter where it is , is nothing more than a drunk fest. If Irish people want to celebrate their heritage, have a Viking Parade.

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Dolores

Cinco de Mayo is acknowledged by more Americans than Mexicans in Mexico. It is another reason for bars and restaurants to make money by offering specials. It is a localized celebration, mostly in the state of Puebla.

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M

You should probably add “Donavan ” and “Queens Borough President” to “Richards” so it’s clear who he is and his perspective o other Boroughs ,(Staten Island ,)

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Gabriel

Yup. This wasn’t really a Saint Patricks Day parade anyway. If it were, it would be celebrating the Saint, the Church and the Truth. Not aberrant sexuality. At least they had the decency to name it something else, and not Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

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Gabby

Thank you. I was not happy to see little children waving the gay flag. They don’t know what it’s about. I know it’s political indoctrination. It’s a bit much to make a political movement out of this. Not every LGBT person is a Democrat.
They were never victimized as gays by the AOH or the parade on 5th Avenue. The gays were always welcome to march in any St. Patrick’s Day parade. They just couldn’t march with a banner.
The music, dancing, the pipe bands and neighbors coming out to have a nice time on a Sunday afternoon. Fine. You can have the rest. How dare the politicians who voted in Bail Reform walk in tight formation with their under cover security details and NYPD escorts. What hypocrites. Safety for them but not for anyone else on the streets of New York

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Emily

Gabby- I’m a child with two mothers who was waving a rainbow flag that day. You know what lying hateful people tell you and I know a completely different set of facts regarding the flag.

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Richard Head

Gianaris, Won, Caban and the 2 Jessicas. Sounds like a progressives hall of fame.

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Roy G. Biv

The parade is great, just please take Saint Patrick’s name off it. This event has absolutely nothing to do with honoring a saint of the Catholic Church. Call it the Oscar Wilde Parade instead. That would be more appropriate. It would still be Irish and gay.

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Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

I’m sorry it offends you. Did you get upset by the holiday Starbucks cups too?

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Get rid of the other one instead

O, I disagree. This parade is for anyone who wants to celebrate Saint Patrick, while the one on 5th is only for some of them. Call it something else more appropriate. It would still be Irish and exclusionary so people could come to the real St. Pats parade!

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Proud to be in Sunnyside

I love this community. St.Patricks Day isn’t about Ireland or Europe right now. Its evolved to be so much more than that. It’s about our diverse culture and being proud of who you are. After all the shit we’ve been through this year, this is exactly what we need right now.

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Hey

Maybe we should be more like Staten Island and not LGBTQ people not March. Watch this comment not be allowed I swear. Freedom of speech!

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Politicians are deranged

Special event indeed, but barf at the politicians showing face for the sake of political gain.

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Genipero

Politicians are shameless. Some of those present wrote the bills then passed into the laws that are destroying our once great City and State.

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