Tag Archives: St. Patrick’s Day

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Cloudy skies. High around 35. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 27. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Astoria St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl 

It’s time to get shamrocked! Come out to Astoria for a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Guinness withdraws St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsorship

The makers of Guinness, the popular Irish beer, announced Sunday that they have withdrawn sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, citing the event’s “policy of exclusion.” Read more: NBC New York

More NY drivers lose licenses in state tax payback scheme

Licenses of 8,900 New York motorists have been suspended for failing to pay back taxes, Gov. Cuomo said. Read more: New York Post 

Schumer: Deny visas for countries who don’t check for stolen passports

If Sen. Charles Schumer gets his way, countries who don’t check an Interpol database for missing or stolen passports can forget about having their citizens obtain visas in the United States. Read more: CBS New York

NYPD spends $200K to upgrade bomb-squad robots

The NYPD is shelling out $200,000 to upgrade two of its bomb-squad robots to make them even better than the ones used in the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker.’’ Read more: New York Post

Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai wins 2014 NYC Half

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, the defending New York City Marathon champion, was the winner of Sunday’s NYC Half. Read more: ABC New York

Friendship Lights brighten up lives of hundreds of New Yorkers

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Eli Garcia

Jack Giambanco is sharing the light of friendship.

It all started in the summer of 2012 when Giambanco had a dream involving people from all walks of life and all nationalities holding different colored, glowing lights in their hands.

After waking up, he knew he wanted to replicate the lights. After months of failed attempts, he finally cracked the code and came up with what he now calls “Friendship Lights.”

“From that moment on I could not stop. For a year I was trying to figure out how to make this, make it decent and make it with tools I had,” Giambanco said. “It all came from this one dream, from thin air.”

Friendship Lights are small devices made out of biodegradable and safe plastic that come with a light source that stays on constantly, reminding the holder of the person who gave it to him. The battery for the bubble gum scented lights can last months, and is easily replaceable.

After starting to bring his dream to life out of his Brooklyn home, Giambanco also began a “Friend of the Friendless” program in which he goes to local parks, mostly during the summer, and hands out lights, together with small inspirational notes.

He connects with people either through the free section on Craigslist or also via Facebook. So far, he said, he has given out about 400 lights and has met hundreds of people in the process, all with unique stories.

“It has been amazing,” he said. “I have met people that they don’t seem like they have a story to share and right away they want to talk to me about their situation. I wasn’t expecting to be in that position, but it’s been like a blessing to me.”

Giambanco and his sister shared the first batch of the lights during Sandy, when they saw neighbors who had their homes flooded and power lost. He said the lights helped the children feel more at ease.

“It came from nothing,” he said. “It goes to show that anyone can do anything. You don’t need millions of dollars, if you have a little desire you can do whatever it takes.”

Giambanco says he hopes to one day work with more people on the Friendship Lights project — and move his production to a facility.

Currently Giambanco, who is also a graphic artist at The Queens Courier, is working on the 2014 spring-summer collection that will feature eight specific color combinations. He is also creating lights for anti-war support in the Ukraine, made of yellow and blue, green and white lucky St. Patrick’s Day ones, anti-bully and autism awareness lights.

“I just want to make other people happy and spread good vibes,” he said. “It’s going to be a big summer for the Friendship Lights.”

If you don’t catch Giambanco at one of his “Friend of the Friendless” trips, Friendship Lights can also be purchased online. Giambanco is also looking for volunteers to help either create or spread the love of Friendship Lights. If you are interested, email jack@friendshiplights.com.



Congressmember Crowley kicks of re-election campaign

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Congressmember Joseph Crowley has launched his re-election campaign.

Crowley, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, was voted in last year to represent sections of Queens and the Bronx in the 14th Congressional District.

He officially kicked off his campaign for re-election on Sunday, March 9, in Sunnyside, though no opponents have declared their candidacies as of yet.

“It has been my privilege to represent the people of one of the most diverse districts in the country, and I am excited to announce I’ll be seeking re-election to continue to focus on the issues that matter most,” Crowley said.

The announcement came as the Woodside native gathered with other elected officials and supporters during his fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Sidetracks Restaurant.

“Too many families are still struggling to get by and we need to break the gridlock in Congress to get our country moving forward again,” he said. “Using my position in the elected leadership of the House Democratic Caucus, I am fully committed to making a real difference in people’s lives. That means putting New Yorkers back to work, raising the minimum wage, protecting social services that are vital to our most vulnerable communities, and fighting hard to make immigration reform a reality.”

Recently, Crowley introduced the On-The-Job Training Act that would guarantee American workers are able to gain new skills to both compete and succeed in the job market.



St. Pancras celebrates Irish tradition with St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Dance

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre


St. Pancras School in Glendale hosted its annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Dance on Saturday, March 9, to celebrate Irish tradition and school pride.

More than 150 alums and residents of various cultures attended the event.

There were raffles at the dinner, with all proceeds going to purchase a new SMART Board for the school.

Although St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17, attendees donned green robes, shirts, ties and hats. There was traditional Celtic food, including corned beef and cabbage, and women performed Irish step dancing.

People also danced to live music by the Boston Burglars, an Irish American band that plays rock and roll.

“We wanted the St. Pancras school alumni to come back and celebrate with us every year on this very important occasion,” said Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol president Frank Kotnik, who is a St. Pancras alum and was the emcee at the event. “You didn’t have to be Irish to come here. It makes no difference. This is a school, parish, alumni thing.”






City officials split on marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo by Spencer Scott Nelson

St. Patrick’s Day parades citywide are creating a stir.

City officials are divided on the decision to march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan. But the annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Rockaways brought in a slew of pols including Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Last year, after the superstorm hit the Peninsula, then-mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio attended the parade. This year, the mayor did not participate.

Reports surfaced claiming de Blasio said the Rockaway parade excluded some groups, but a spokesperson clarified and cited scheduling conflicts. He participated in Sunnyside’s parade, “St. Pat’s for All.”

Last weekend’s spectacle in the borough’s “Irish Riviera” brought in iconic curly-haired dancers, marching bands, bagpipes, drummers and more.

In early February, de Blasio announced he would break tradition and additionally boycott the annual Irish celebration in Manhattan after parade officials prohibited marchers from carrying gay-pride banners.

Ulrich reacted by saying the mayor’s decision was “truly unfortunate and disappointing.”

Parade planners have said gays are not banned from joining the procession on March 17, just from declaring any sexual orientation.

Following de Blasio’s announcement, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hopped on the boycott bandwagon and pledged to not march, but said individual councilmembers can make their own decision. Ulrich plans on marching “rain or shine.”

“The parade is a time to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland and the many contributions Irish Americans have made to our city, not anything else,” he said. “While I respect the mayor’s decision to not participate, I plan on marching rain or shine.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who has said he supports gay rights, said he, too, will join the march through the city, which is reportedly expected to bring in about 1 million people.

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a gay Irish-Catholic, did not participate in the parade during her time in office. This year, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Majority Leader Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer are among those who are also opting out.




De Blasio joins Sunnyside and Woodside to celebrate St. Pat’s for All Parade

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Sunnyside and Woodside got all dressed up in green for the annual St. Pat’s for All Parade Sunday.

The parade, which ran down Skillman Avenue, featured the young and old, and even some four-legged friends celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

After deciding to boycott the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, because of its ban on LGBT pride banners or signs, Mayor Bill de Blasio took the trip to Queens to march in the Sunnyside parade.


De Blasio was joined by other elected officials including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer, Senators Michael Gianaris and Grace Meng, and many more.

The Grand Marshals of the parade were Terry McGovern and Tom Duane.

St. Pat’s for All is known to be the city’s most diverse St. Patrick’s parade, embracing LGBT groups, community organizations, school bands, Irish organizations and, religious and civic groups.

An annual post-parade party followed at Saints & Sinners Irish Bar & Grill.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast with ice pellets. High of 36 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the East at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% . Monday night: Overcast with ice pellets and snow, then rain after midnight. Low of 36 with a windchill as low as 28F. Breezy. Winds from the East at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 100% .

EVENT OF THE DAY: Paper Bag players

Starting at 10:30 a.m., the Paper Bag players will perform a set of short plays at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center, located at 222-05 56th Avenue in Bayside. In a show put on for kids, the story and musical numbers explore the Old West and The Life of a Bowling Pin and in the rousing finale set at a Country Fair two neighbors who can’t get along become the best of friends with the audiences help. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

School bus involved in accident on Grand Central Parkway

Authorities are investigating an accident involving a school bus and a car in Queens. Read more: NBC New York

Four off-duty NYPD busted amid St. Patrick’s Day weekend hijinks

Four off-duty NYPD employees have been arrested since Friday, including an officer accused of driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

Teen charged with DUI in fatal accident on Grand Central Parkway

Authorities arrested a teen for DUI after he struck and killed a taxi driver on the Grand Central Parkway early Sunday morning, said police. Read more: The Queens Courier

Irish prime minister attends St. Patrick’s Day mass in Breezy Point

It’s a special day for Irish residents of Breezy Point, not just because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, or that they’re meeting the Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, of Ireland. Read more: NY1

Twitter co-founder eyes NYC mayor’s job

There may be another billionaire interested in New York City’s top job. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Top court to hear arguments over generic drugmaker liability

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case that could decide whether generic drugmakers can be held liable for alleged flaws in the designs of their medications, even though federal law requires generic manufacturers to copy the brand drugmaker’s design. Read more: Reuters


St. Patrick’s Day events in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, everyone is a little bit Irish. The culminating event of St. Patrick’s Day weekend is the 251st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan. The city-wide parade will take place on Saturday, March 16 this year. It will start on 44th street at 11 a.m, and marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street to 79th Street, where the parade finishes at around 4:30 to  5:00 pm.

If heading into Manhattan doesn’t sound like an enjoyable St. Patrick’s Day, here are some celebrations that are closer to home.

Austin’s Ale House, located at 82-70 Austin Street in Kew Gardens, will start the party early on Thursday, March 14. For Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the House will be providing complimentary Corned Beef & Cabbage at the bar as well as live music from the Irish band, the Sporting Paddies on Saturday evening.  A Traditional Irish Breakfast will be offered on both Saturday and Sunday. The tap room offers a choice of over 20 draughts, many from local breweries and another 40 bottled of domestic and imported beer labels. The restaurant will be serving traditional Irish dishes including: corned beef & cabbage, oven baked shepherd’s pie, banger’s and mash and fish & chips with dessert offerings of bailey cheesecake and a sherry trifle. For a list of all events, visit their website.

Bourbon Street, located at 40-12 Bell Boulevard in Bayside, will be offering a variety of events during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The kickoff party will start on Thursday, March 14, from 7-10 p.m. with a live performance by the Sporting Paddies. Free corned beef and cabbage will be offered during common hour on Friday, March 16, from 4-7 p.m. You can watch the Manhattan parade at the bar with free corned beef and cabbage from 3-5 p.m. and a live bagpipe player from 8-9 p.m. On Sunday, March 17, from noon-4 p.m., a “Hangover Brunch” will be offered, including traditional Irish breakfast specials. Live Irish music from the band “Uncorked” will be played from 6-9 p.m.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, located at 29-19 24 Avenue in Astoria, will have live music as well as drink specials on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17. Live music starts at 3:30 p.m. From 2-6 p.m., buy a $20 mug of beer and get free unlimited refills. All day long drink specials include: $4 Bushmills shots, $5 Jameson shots, $6 Jager bombs and $7 Irish car bombs. $12 corned beef and cabbage served with potatoes and carrots. Plus, more specials and events. Free admission.

The Garden @ Studio Square, located at 5-33 36th Street in Long Island City, will hold a post parade party from 2-6 p.m. $40 at the door gets you unlimited beer, wine and sangria, corned beef and cabbage and a Rocky Patel Premium cigar. On Sunday, March 17 drink specials will be offered starting from noon. $2 Jameson shots, $5 Irish car bombs and $5 corned beef and cabbage. An $18 Lucky Charms special gets you a pitcher of Killians Irish Red and three shots of Jameson.



Street Talk: What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com




I’m going to try and get into an Irish pub to get into the spirit.
Phyllis Fischer

I’ll probably watch some festivities and parades on television. For me, it’s just another day.
 Barry Skolnick

I’ll be in Florida in the warm weather, playing golf on the green course.
Kathryn Bitetti

If I remember it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll wear green.
Bernice Luft

I’m going to do martial arts with Guru Dan Inosanto.
Sarah Leibowitz

I’m expecting my grandchildren in from Massachusetts. They’re going to come spend the day with me.
 Shirley Sapirstein

I’m not Irish, so I don’t think I’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Suzanne Reissman

I’m going to be taking care of the people that come into the bar where I work.
Tanya Rios

Emerald Society Pipes and Drums celebrate 50th anniversary at Citi Field

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Ed McLoughlin was sitting at one of the tables set up on what is normally the warming track of Citi Field’s diamond. In a green-tartan kilt, white shirt and black jacket, he was telling stories of a musical band for the FDNY that dissolved in the late 1950s.

As he continued to discuss how the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums first officially performed in 1962, he was told to go into the tunnels of the ballpark: guests were arriving and he needed to join his fellow musicians to get ready.

Firefighters, active and retired, families and friends celebrated the 50th anniversary of the music group that has become a symbol of New York’s Bravest on Saturday, September 15

“We have a lot of tradition in the band,” said drum major Liam Flaherty. “We really look up to the senior guys, without them we’d be home tonight watching TV. It’s all because of them and their hard work years ago; they put the time in and created the great organization that it is.”

Over the years the band — now with around 90 bagpipers and drummers — has grown and shared its ups and downs.

They have performed for ceremonial events and funerals. Every St. Patrick’s Day since 1963 they have marched down Fifth Avenue to celebrate the Celtic heritage that is commonly associated with the FDNY.

The group formed after a meeting in September of 1961, McLoughlin said, with 12 pipers and five drummers — three snare drums, one bass and one tenor. Their first performance was just more than a year later, in November of 1962.

Five founders took the field with their comrades for the 50th celebration; six have passed on, McLoughlin said. Some, however, were not able to make it.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It’s a great tribute to the [FDNY] members of Irish extraction.”

While the Emerald Society celebrates St. Patrick’s Day every year, they have also taken part in putting their fallen friends to rest. Following the 9/11 attacks, Pipes and Drums took part in more than 450 funerals, nationwide and even in Europe.

Flaherty — who took over as drum major in 1996 — echoed that there were times for remembering and times for celebration.

“It’s a celebration of 50 years of good times, bad times and it’s always nice when the band gets together for something positive,” he said.

Flaherty said a neighbor saw him get on the elevator in his uniform and instantly assumed the worst.

“A guy in my building said ‘oh no,’ he looked at me and said ‘are you going to another funeral?’ I go ‘no, no, today’s a great day — we’re celebrating 50 years.’”

St. Patrick’s Day around Queens

| brennison@queenscourier.com


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


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.


Sunnyside and Woodside hold St. Pat’s For All Parade

| brennison@queenscourier.com

3-4 St. Pats (FINAL6)

Woodside and Sunnyside recently showed their Irish side.

The 2012 St. Pat’s For All Parade was held on Sunday, March 4, beginning in Sunnyside at 47th Street and Skillman Avenue and ending in Woodside at 58th Street and Woodside Avenue.

The parade featured a wide variety of marchers, from residents and elected officials to community groups and visitors from the Emerald Isle. The grand marshals were Peter Quinn, a novelist and Irish historian, and Mary Brosnahan, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.

First held more than a decade ago, the parade celebrates the diversity of the Irish communities of New York and is open to all feeling green.

“I think the parade was one of the largest we have ever had,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “The weather was unusually good. We had a lot of marchers and it was a very fun parade.”