The 17th annual Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade brought together the community in the finest spirit of the holiday.
On Sunday, March 15, a sea of marchers, bagpipers, and parade-goers from different parts of the borough came together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early on East Tremont Avenue between Lafayette and Harding avenues.
The grand marshals Agnes and Patrick Lynch, a Throggs Neck couple who are St. Frances de Chantal parish volunteers, were thrilled to take part in the march amid a sea of green.
“It is a great event for the community, and what is good for the community is good for everyone,” said Pat Lynch just before he made his way along the parade route in a horse-drawn carriage.
Lynch said that the parade committee is a highly efficient group of volunteers.
“Throughout all of the years, I have had the greatest respect for the people who run this parade,” he said.
Grand Marshal Agnes Lynch said that it is a great day to celebrate both Irish and American life and culture.
“I appreciate all the people who are doing so much for our community, and who are making the Irish feel welcome in this city,” she said.
St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that celebrates the life of Saint Patrick, a teacher and a preacher of the gospel, said Honored Clergy Msgr. John Graham, pastor of St. Raymond Church.
“It is an honor and also a pleasure to participate in something that is such an important part of our community and something that it is an important part of our church,” said Graham.
Marching in support of Anges and Patrick Lynch, with a contingent from St. Frances that included Michael Wilbekin, a life-long parishioner.
“I attended many of these parades,” he said, adding “This is the first time that I have ever marched, and I cannot think of anything better than marching in support of these two grand marshals.”
Janet Connelly Bitner, another marcher said, that the parade has grown a great deal since it first started, a sentiment echoed by parade viewer Debbie O’Conner of Pelham Bay.
“The first year the parade was 20 minutes long,” she said, adding “It has gotten bigger every year and it is a great parade.”
Her husband is a bagpiper in the march, and she said she always enjoys watching in front of the Throggs Neck Clipper because she runs into old friends.
Parade watcher Silvia Munoz, who was clothed in green garb, was in a festive mood while watching her grandchildren march.
“It is exciting to see how people get together and unite for a special day like today,” she said.
Among the dignitaries attending were Congressman Joseph Crowley, Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Councilman James Vacca.
Skies for the parade were a bit overcast, but the warmer temperature and the upbeat mood brought a smile to the faces of those involved.