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Wearin’ of the green - 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade coming

Bay Ridge will go green when the community’s 15th annual St. Patrick’s Parade steps off on March 30th. Led by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes, a Bay Ridge resident, the annual show-stopper draws 6,000 marchers and a whopping 100,000 spectators, according to organizer Larry Morrish. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Marine Avenue and Fourth Avenue, traveling north on Fourth Avenue to 94th Street, then over to Fifth Avenue and down to 58th Street. The reviewing stand will be at Bay Ridge Parkway. Marchers will begin assembling at 11 a.m. Organizers are expecting, “our normal fine showing,” noted Morrish who said there would be over 20 different bagpipe bands participating, as well as numerous dance companies and several marching bands. A traditional horse and buggy will carry the grand marshal’s family, he said. “It will be as colorful as ever, a good old blast,“ Morrish predicted. For Hynes, the occasion, he confessed, will be “particularly poignant.” He recalled begin grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Parade in Park Slope, about 26 years ago, then in the St. Patrick’s Parade in Rockaway. “I was chosen because I had been an activist in support of the Catholics in northeast Ireland who were so badly treated by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,” Hynes explained. “It was the time of the hunger strikes. It was a time of brutalization when the Catholics and Protestants were set against each other with tragic results. “Now,” Hynes went on, “peace has descended upon Ireland. To think that blood has long last stopped being shed, in contrast to how bad it was 26, 27 years ago. How much optimism there is now. It’s a very special moment. “It’s also a special moment to be honored by my neighbors,” Hynes added. “I’m obviously very humbled by it.” This parade has been held in Bay Ridge since its inception, said Morrish. It was originated in conjunction with the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade, he recalled. ‘We did it to recharge the community,” Morrish noted. Now, he went on, the parade does more than showcase the community’s Irish roots. It has itself become a melting pot, said Morrish, attracting people from the Russian, Asian, Moslem and Caribbean communities, as well. “The beauty of it,” he stressed, “is that we’ve added diverse cultures.”

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