Amid the smartly dressed leprechauns hoarding their gold from our greedy grabs, the green felt hats, striped stockings and battery-operated blinking necklaces, there is both legend and lore when it come to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in New York.
A little knowledge will last a lot longer than the glittery shamrock lashes you will have glued to your eyelids, whether you are headed to McSorley’s or the best spot in town to hear the pipers and drums during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (we hear it’s 66th Street and Fifth Avenue). Here are a few facts to keep you chatting over a coupla pints of Guinness:
- New York City hosted the first St. Paddy’s Day parade when a contingent of Irish soldiers, homesick for their native coast, marched through the city in 1762.
- Since then, New York has hosted one of the world’s biggest parades to commemorate the day Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick, died. He is purported to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
- This year, New Jersey residents have no excuse not to celebrate the holiday in New York. In anticipation of heavy weekend crowds, NJ Transit will expand bus and train service into Manhattan all day on Mar. 17.
- Francis X. Comerford, a Brooklyn native, is the 251st parade Grand Marshal this year. Visit the parade’s page for times and tips on the best viewing spots.
- The 2008 American Community Survey reported more than 414,943 people of Irish ancestry living in NYC.
- Irish bacon and cabbage are the traditional foods served in Ireland, not corned beef, which probably originated in Texas. New York state produces the second largest amount of cabbage for our nation’s pickling pleasure, but is beat out by California.
- Got an uncle Pat on Staten Island? One in 161 Americans is named Patrick — nearly 2 million times the population of Dublin.
- The Irish tradition for St. Patrick’s Day is to celebrate the work of Saint Patrick, and to take a day off from fasting for Lent. The renowned American propensity for excess transformed the holiday into party central in the Tri-State area, leading Hoboken, N.J., to cancel their 2012 parade in favor of a tamer pub crawl.
- There are 13 million pints of Guinness consumed on St. Paddy’s world-wide, up from the 5.5 mil on a regular day. That’s one billion calories and 85,000,000 carbohydrates. Want to stop shaking things up at the bar? An Irish Car Bomb is one Guinness with a shot of whiskey. Drop in a shot of Bailey’s and drink fast!