Bay Ridge go bragh! Neighborhood parade turns 21 with bells and tin whistles

Bay Ridge go bragh! Neighborhood parade turns 21 with bells and tin whistles
Emerald society: Police Sergeant Kevin Keenan brought his daughter Shannon to the Bay Ridge’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade, held on Third Avenue on March 23.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The streets ran green in Bay Ridge on March 23 for the 21st-annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

Forty-five schools, civic groups, and religious organizations — plus 14 different pipe and drum bands — marched down Third Avenue from Marine Avenue to 67th Street, while thousands looked on.

“Every single block was packed, from the beginning of the parade to the end,” said parade committee vice president Linda Gallagher.

Gallagher said that the parade is a way for the neighborhood to celebrate its Irish roots, which stretch all the way back to the mid-1800s, when second-generation Irish-American state Senator Henry Murphy established his majestic estate where Owl’s Head Park is today.

“It’s a way for the people of Bay Ridge to celebrate their Irish heritage, as well as their neighborhood,” said Gallagher.

Since many Irish-American families have left Bay Ridge in recent decades, Gallagher said the yearly parade has become a beacon for wayward sons and daughters of Erin to return home.

“It’s kind of a reunion. People who have moved out look forward to it all year, coming back. They know they’ll see faces they haven’t seen in years, and go back to the blocks where they grew up,” said Gallagher.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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