- Posted March 3, 2013 by
Belle Harbor, New York
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This iReport is part of an assignment:
Rockaway’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Today We Celebrate!
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
No need to check the calendar; it isn’t March 17th. But just as New Hampshire hosts the nation’s first presidential primary, Rockaway holds the first St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year’s parade marked the peninsula’s 38th staging of the event, which takes place on the first Saturday of March and is New York City’s second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
For the better part of the last four months people in Rockaway have been lying low, picking up the pieces of their lives following Hurricane Sandy and tending to the business of rebuilding their homes. So for this neighborhood, which has among the highest Irish populations per capita in the country, this year’s parade was particularly special.
More than 100 organizations took part in the parade. These ranged from marching bands to schools to municipal groups and more. Senator Chuck Schumer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were also in attendance. While the Senator received mostly cheers from the thousands lining Newport Avenue the Mayor was roundly booed for the city’s relief efforts, perceived by Rockaway residents to woefully lacking.
Today, for a few hours at least, questions such as “Where is the sand?” “Where are the rock jetties?” and “When will the boardwalk be rebuilt?” seemed to fall away as friends—some seeing each other for the first time since the storm—greeted each other with heartfelt hugs.
I always feel that along with the parade spring is coming. It’s a feeling of rebirth and rejuvenation. Hopefully the positive momentum of the day will continue lifting moral in the weeks and months to come. Maybe, with the luck of the Irish, it will.