The 18th Annual Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade brought a wave of marchers and spectators in green regalia to East Tremont Avenue.
The parade, on Sunday, March 13, welcomed thousands of marchers from community, civic, school, business, fraternal, labor and non-profit groups.
In addition, spectators decked out in in shamrock green lined the parade route from Lafayette to Harding avenues.
The grand marshals, community activists and youth Irish Football enthusiasts David and Noreen Kilkenny, expressed their appreciation to the parade committee and community for the honor.
“I feel so honored and humbled that David and I were chosen for this,” said Noreen Kilkenny, adding “My husband does a lot to promote the Irish culture through sports.”
David Kilkenny has been a youth coach for years at the St. Raymond’s Gaelic Football Club and is active in politics with the Chippewa Democratic Club.
“It is just such a wonderful honor,” said David Kilkenny. “You think back on growing up, the times in Ireland and here in New York, and there are a lot of good memories that come back.”
“The people who are no longer with us are here in spirit, and the people who are here we are happy to see,” he added, just before climbing into the horse-drawn coach that would carry him, his wife and daughter, and honored clergy Fr. Christopher Devron along the parade route.
The honored clergy, the president of Fordham Prep, celebrated a pre-parade Mass at St. Benedict Church.
Devron said that he was proud to be a part of the event that brought the Throggs Neck community together.
The Mass was followed by a breakfast sponsored by Schuyler Hill Funeral Home and its proprietor James McQuade.
Celebrated during the display of community pride were 21 honorary grand marshals who were posthumously honored, with family and friends marching with banners in their memory.
The community groups and schools taking part in the parade, essentially representing all of the organizations that make up the fabric of civic life in Throggs Neck and surrounding communities, brought out a diverse cross section from the Irish-American community and beyond.
“It is very diverse; everybody is here having a good time and welcoming the Irish,” said parade participant Michael Wilbekin, who was participating with St. Frances de Chantal Church. “There is a little bit of Irish in everybody.”
The parade, which has been held continuously since 1999, is a major community event.
“Every year it has gotten to be simpler and simpler,” said Lynn Gerbino, of the parade committee. “With the committee that we have, everybody just knows and does their own job, and it all comes together at the end.”
Honorary grand marshals for the 18th annual march were Margaret Babcock, Carol Boyle, Monica Burns, John Byrne, Charlie Capezuti, Robert Connolly, Dan Cotter, Ann Devany, Elizabeth Kelleher, Thomas Laughlin, Michael Martz, John Mullins, Joseph Murphy, Teresa O’Hara, Daniel O’Shea, Peragine, Benny Randazzo, Anthony Riccardella, Mildred Scott, Ethel Tarpey and Alice Tell.
The line of march included all local elected officials or their representatives, as well as about 20 bands, according to the parade committee.