Tag Archives: Ireland

Giving kids a hand up


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Paul Williams

Paul Williams was sitting in the back office of the small trophy shop he’s owned and run for the last year- and-a-half, at ease, taking phone calls on parts or orders that were coming in.

During the day, he works in this small store on Bell Boulevard, but this is not his only life. Williams is a handball player who not only competes in international tournaments, but works to foster young players at different levels and methods of the game.

He returned from Ireland a few weeks ago after defending his title at the 2012 World Handball Championships, held every three years, in the 50/50 category.

Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williams started playing the game at age nine after watching his brother play. He’s not the same player who started playing one-wall 44 years ago.

“My brother played at the time,” he said. “He had to babysit me, so I got tossed in the corner of the court and just watched these guys play, so then eventually I picked it up.”

As he and his skills grew, he piqued the interest of a Brooklyn man who sponsored Williams and “then that just spurred the passion, I just kept playing in tournaments.”

What seems to be Williams’ proudest accomplishment is not the number of world championships he’s brought home, however, but the time he gives back to the community. As founder of the Inner City Handball League, Williams helps teens to channel their talent.

This year, he and Team USA brought 14 young adults to the championship. When they returned, they came bearing 15 gold medals and three silvers in one-, three- and four-wall handball competitions. The tournament featured 2,200 competitors from more than 30 countries.

One of the victors attends St. Francis Preparatory High School, Williams said, and another attends Francis Lewis High School. Both took home gold in their divisions, he said.

The idea behind Williams’ involvement in giving back to the community was paying forward what others did for him as an up-and-coming handball player.

Talent, however, isn’t the only rubric for making it into, or staying in, the program. Students are required to be in good academic standing, Williams said, and must maintain at least a “B” average.

“I grew up in a tough neighborhood — Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I realized there was a lot of kids in the neighborhood that need help,” he said. “So instead of just helping one kid, like how the groups were helping me, I decided to help a number of kids.”

St. Patrick’s Day around Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Queens’ St. Patrick’s parades have passed and for those that want to avoid the madness of Manhattan there are a plethora of options right here in the borough. Bars around Queens borough are serving up St. Paddy’s Day specials, so revelers can save some green.

Here are some spots around the borough to celebrate:

Austin Ale House, Kew Gardens:

Live music Friday and Saturday with a complimentary corned beef and cabbage buffet from 3-5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day and food and drink specials all day.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria:

Receive a St. Paddy’s Day mug with unlimited refills on select beers for just $15. There will also be live music, $4 shots of Bushmills, $5 shots of Jameson, $6 Jager bombs, $7 Irish car bombs and $10 corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots.

Bourbon Street, Bayside:

Friday the restaurant will feature a pre-St. Patrick’s Day happy hour drink specials and “green” giveaways. On St. Paddy’s Day watch the parade from the bar with live music, free corned beef and cabbage from 3-5 p.m. For those suffering a post-holiday hangover the bar has a Sunday brunch with Bloody Mary drink specials.

Donovan’s, Bayside:

The New York institution since 1966 will be serving up a traditional Irish breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day between 9-11:30 a.m. Live Irish music by The Sporting Paddies will be performed between 5-8 p.m.

Gibbons’ Home, Maspeth:

The recently reopened Irish pub will feature live Irish music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill, Douglaston:

Darryl Strawberry’s restaurant will be featuring drink specials all day including: $2 Coors Lights, $3 domestic drafts, $3 green Jell-O shots, $4 Guinness drafts, $4 Killian’s, $5 Jameson shots and $7 car bombs. Fill up with smoked corned beef and coleslaw specials all day.

Studio Square, Astoria:

Enjoy a free corned beef and cabbage buffet between noon and 5 p.m. Wash that down with a pitcher of Killian’s Irish Red and three shots of Jameson for $18 or $2 Jameson shots.

Safari Beach Club, Bayside:

The bar will open at 8 a.m. and feature $5 Irish coffees. There will be free shots for ladies between 2-6 p.m. and live music beginning at 11 a.m.

Woodside, once the heart of Queens’ Irish-American community, still maintains a strong presence of Irish pride and features some of the best Irish pubs in the city. Stop by Sean Og Tavern, Saints and Sinners, Donovan’s Pub, Molly Blooms in neighboring Sunnyside, amongst a host of others for an authentic pub experience.

 

The history of St. Patrick and his parade


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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By Will Sammon

On St. Patrick’s Day, almost everyone wants to be Irish, however, not everyone really knows why. New York City, from 44th Street to 86th Street, will be the biggest site of green attire and leprechaun attitude on March 17, the date of the annual holiday. But how does any of that, and all the beer drinking, relate to the importance of St. Patrick and the origin of the parade?

The History Behind St. Patrick

The answer, as you may have guessed, is nothing. But that is not to say you should not celebrate it, especially if you are of Irish descent.

The presumption that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland is largely a myth, according to Seamus Boyle, national president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, Inc. (AOH). He did, however, convert many Irish people to Catholicism. The Order is a Catholic Irish American fraternal organization founded in New York City in 1836. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the turn of the 4th century. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. They whisked him away to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.

According to his writing, God’s voice told him to leave from Ireland, and after more than six years of being held captive, the saint escaped. He walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast.

After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation — an angel in a dream told him to return to Ireland as a missionary.

The Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade marched for the first time on March 17, 1762, 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Today, it is the largest parade in the world, according to parade secretary Hilary Beirne.

To this day, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade remains true to its roots by prohibiting floats, automobiles and other commercial aspects in the parade. Every year 150,000 to 250,000 marchers, many bagpipe bands, politicians and approximately two million spectators lining up on Fifth Avenue, are involved in the celebration, according to the parade committee.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is run by a private corporation, The New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. The parade workers and committee members are all volunteers.

The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York was held on lower Broadway in 1762 by a band of homesick Irish expatriates and Irish military serving with the British Army stationed in the American colonies in New York City, according to Beirne. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride and was banned in Ireland. The parade participants reveled in the freedom to speak Irish, wear the green, sing Irish songs and play the pipes to Irish tunes that were deeply meaningful to the Irish immigrants who had fled their homeland.

The Parade starts at 44th Street at 11 a.m. and is held every March 17, except when March 17 falls on a Sunday; it is celebrated the day before, because of religious observances. The parade marches up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street, all the way up past the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Irish Historical Society at 83rd Street to 86th Street, where the parade finishes around 4:30 to 5 p.m.