A Pandemic St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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It’s Wednesday.

Weather: Warmer, with morning sprinkles, and it will stay cloudy. High around 50.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 28 (Passover).


Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

New York City was not in a celebratory spirit last St. Patrick’s Day. The timing couldn’t have been worse: Bars, restaurants and schools were closed, and the mayor had floated the possibility of a “shelter in place” order.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers announced they would postpone the celebration, but a small group marched in the wee hours to preserve the tradition.

Now, after a year of virtual celebrations that replaced New York City’s usual rousing parades, the St. Patrick’s Day event makes a humble appearance today. It won’t have the large-scale fanfare New Yorkers are used to, but it will maintain a more than 250-year-old tradition as the oldest uninterrupted St. Patrick’s parade in the world.

Here’s what you need to know:

What to expect this year

You won’t get lost in a sea of green outfits.

Organizers planned a very low-profile ceremonial march to keep the tradition alive without risking a superspreader event. Details on the small march were kept under wraps to keep crowds from gathering.

The rest of the festivities will be virtual. Parade leaders, emergency medical workers and essential workers will offer a prayer for victims of both the pandemic and the 9/11 attacks, according to the parade’s website. Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral will be broadcast live at 8:30 a.m., followed by a virtual parade.

Parades were canceled, or took different forms

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were among the first in-person gatherings to be canceled because of the pandemic last year.

Since then, major New York City events, like the Pride march, were canceled and celebrated virtually. The annual Village Halloween Parade was commemorated with a miniature parade of puppets. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was reduced to one block.

This year, the St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia were canceled again.

St. Patrick’s Days of yore

In a olağan year, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade draws about 150,000 marchers and two million spectators.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The parade was first held in 1762, 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The 1961 parade.Credit…Arthur Brower/The New York Times

From The Times

How Cuomo’s Team Tried to Tarnish One of His Accusers

Judges Juggle Over 2,700 Cases Each as Families Wait for Day in Court

The Arts Are Coming Back This Summer. Just Step Outside.

This Pharmacist Had Vaccine Doses to Spare. So He Hit the Road.

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Küçük Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.


What we’re reading

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s appearances on right-wing podcasts boosted his profile. [Politico]

A fatal shooting in Upper Manhattan led to an early-morning police car chase. [New York Post]

Volunteers helped restore a Midtown Irish bar that closed months ago after it secured a new lease. [NBC]


And finally: Ditmas Park rediscovers its restaurants

The Times’s Julia Moskin writes:

Ditmas Park was missing an ice-cream parlor — until January 2020, when the Low family opened What’s the Scooooop, where the menu ranges from organic ice cream cones to kimchi-topped French fries and banh mi.

Elgin Low, 32, who grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood, designed the space for maximum appeal to young people, with a cartoon mural and a play space for the littlest kids. Mr. Low hoped that spring would bring warm weather and foot traffic from the elementary school two blocks down.

Instead, it brought the pandemic, and a total — if temporary — shutdown to the shop and its neighbors along two blocks of Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Park’s main business corridor. “We never really got a chance to build up a customer base,” Mr. Low said.

The crisis has dealt a financial body blow to food businesses here, which have transformed the area over the past two decades into a küçük restaurant row.

But the emergency conditions have also turned the owners into a collective, sharing sidewalk space, propane tanks, bread deliveries and navigation tips on a shifting sea of city, state and federal regulations. The customers, too, have changed, as commuters who evvel ate lunch in Midtown, grabbed drinks downtown or had dinner anywhere in the city have stayed in one place: home.

[Read more about how a Brooklyn neighborhood rallied behind its restaurants.]

Avi Shuker, an owner of Mimi’s Hummus (and husband to Mimi Kitani, the chef), said he knew immediately that the pandemic could be an extinction event for New York restaurants.

He hauled all the tables and chairs out to the sidewalk, and brought the wine cellar and beer stash up to street level. He watched lines of panicked shoppers build outside nearby food markets like the Flatbush Food Co-op.

“The street was empty for two months, but the people who did come were so grateful, it was a really different vibe,” he said. “At the same time that we were being asked to separate, people really came together.”

It’s Wednesday — bon appétit.


Metropolitan Diary:

Dear Diary:

I was doing research on an accident that happened in 1945, when I was 3 and living on 51st Street in Brooklyn. I had been successful at finding people from my dim past before, but I had never thought to investigate this experience.

I had some details, but not many (I was 3 at the time, after all). I believed that a uzunluk who lived next door had come at me with a stick and had changed my life forever. But what was his name, and why had it happened?

I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore. I live in snowy Vermont. It wasn’t hard to find the census for 1940, but I was looking for 1945.

A friend who is a former librarian and now does genealogy research contacted a librarian in Brooklyn and learned that the Brooklyn Public Library had digitized its telephone directories.

Within a day, I had the name of the family that had lived next door. It was an unusual name, so I did a search online and found a Buddhist scholar who, to my surprise, lived in the Vermont town next to mine.

I left the man a garbled, giddy phone message asking if, by any chance, he was related to a family that had evvel lived in that house on 51st Street, which has since been torn down.

The next day he called back to say that he was related to all of the people who had lived in the house and that the person I was looking for was his grandfather. He also said he had met me not long ago at an arka gallery opening.

What was it I wanted to know, he said.

— Joyce Marcel


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