Kiss me, I’m Irish!

St Patrick’s day fell on a post-call day–a day which I do my best to consider a day off rather than a day to catch up on the sleep that one loses during call. I have variable success with this strategy, but always give it a good effort. My efforts today were made easier by the occurrence of the St. Patrick’s day parade. The local news stations were abuzz with interesting trivia regarding the parade. For example, did you know this is the 248th consecutive St Patrick’s day parade? Why, no. I did not! I also learned that when it was first held in New York City in 1762, it was part of an effort whereby Irish ex-patriots could revel in their heritage. Apparently, it was initiated during a time when even wearing green, a sign of Irish pride, had been banned in Ireland. I looked around and noted that if wearing green were banned in New York City today, most of the city would be in contempt.

I met Ashley for lunch and we, for the first time in a long time, found it warm enough to have some our favorite burgers and cheese-fries at Shake Shack. They were Shack-tastic! Though I think we were a bit optimistic to think we could sit and truly retain our heat, we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

After lunch, we regained our heat with a quick walk up to the start of the parade route on Fifth Avenue. It was jam-packed (we learned later they estimate hundreds of thousands of people watched or participated in the parade) and, frankly, a bit unpleasant with all the unruly drunk boys looking for trouble. (I sound so old!) Though Ashley wanted to go further, she had to break off and get back to work.

I took the subway up to Central Park—I figured, what better place to witness Irish national pride than in the park–which had been built largely by Irish immigrants. Well, that and I heard it was less crowed there than it was below 59th Street. This turned out to be true, and the crowd that had annoyed me before became much more pleasant: mainly families and service men (and it really seemed to be just men) who had already walked the route. Group after group–or clan after clan?–passed me by. Typically, the bags and drums would lead, followed by a
representative sample of the each organization. NYPD had a huge group, as did the NYFD medical techs. But the participants were not limited to New Yorkers. A group from County Cork made the trip across the Atlantic and were vigorously cheered.
Really, bag pipes have rarely sounded so good!

Each group had clearly put a lot of effort into this parade. Most of the groups were fully done up in traditional regalia, and the drummers had great flourishes—they would spin their drum sticks in the tunes’ half-second pauses.

Though I didn’t think I’d get caught up in the Irish hype, I couldn’t help but get a Guinness, extra cold. Definitely

inspiration for some writing and some good trip-planning!

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