The sights and sounds of St. Patrick's Day were on display on Staten Island Sunday as West Brighton hosted the borough's St. Patrick's Day Parade. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Staten Island's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been on a party on Forest Avenue for half a century, and once again, it drew thousands of revelers Sunday.
"After 50 years, the community still comes out in force and looks forward to this day, whether it's cold, raining, snow," said one person.
From the first grand marshal 50 years ago to Jerry Mulvaney, this year's star, there's no debating how much this has grown.
This year, 18 previous grand marshals took part to celebrate the anniversary, and they were joined by 2,000 marchers, bagpipers and bands.
"Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day," said Jack Murphy, the grand marshal of the first Staten Island St. Patrick's Day parade.
"It's heartening, very heartening, I would say," Mulvaney said.
One person missing among the politicians marching was Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has said that he would stay away from parades that have restrictions on gay and lesbian groups marching openly. Openly gay assemblyman Matthew Titone addressed the issue.
"I think my presence as an openly gay Staten Islander is hopefully, will push the parade organizers to being more open in the future," Titone said.
The thousands who did turn out were focused on the fun and the celebration of Irish pride.
"Honey, I'm Irish. Everything Irish is great," said one paradegoer. "It's a wonderful thing they do on Staten Island every year, and it just gets bigger and better every year."
The day is as much a celebration of Staten Island as anything else.
"The camaraderie of the people here in Staten Island, showing its support for the community," said another. "Irish pride has a lot to do with it, but Staten Island pride first."
"It's a bonding experience, families, everyone knows each other," said another.
"At the same time, we're 500,000 bigger than many cities across the country, we're old-time Americana, and we're like a small town," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.