Hundreds of Thousands of Revelers Celebrate St. Patrick's Day Parade

The glorious weather made the city's 251st annual St. Patrick's Day Parade an even bigger hit.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Watch a few select pieces, including "Danny Boy," performed by Londonderry High School, Casa Galicia and Ossining High School bands marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday.

    It was a sea of green, kilts and bagpipes on 5th Avenue as big crowds gathered under a warm sun for the city's 251st annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade.      

    Hundreds of thousands of people lined the 42-block parade route, which takes marchers past St. Patrick's Cathedral up to 86th Street.

    Click here for full parade coverage, including videos, photos, interviews and more. 

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly led the bagpipers up toward Central Park, where people waved Irish flags and cheered as soldiers and police officers passed.      

    "The luck of the Irish means that if you are Irish, you're lucky enough,'' Bloomberg told reporters.      

    St. Patrick's Day Bagpipes

    [NY] Bagpipes Lift "The 69th Goes By" at St. Patrick's Day 2012 Parade
    St. Patrick's Day announcer Treasa Smyth, host of Ireland Calls, recites the poem "The 69th Goes By" as bagpipers march by during the annual parade on Fifth Avenue. Written by Patrick MacDonough, it's about the famed Fighting 69th.

    The onlookers -- wearing green and orange face paint and all manner of shamrock-themed apparel -- came from all over the world.

    Nancy Felton of Monticello, Iowa, was checking the parade off her "bucket list'' of things she wants to do before she dies.      

    "The parades we usually see in Iowa are only half an hour,'' she said. "But this one's supposed to be three hours. So we can't wait.''

    Another out-of-towner, Bronagh Premaillion, who was born in Paris but grew up in Ireland, celebrated her 60th birthday at the iconic Manhattan parade.

    "I find it very much like Ireland here," she said. "Everybody's dressed in green."

    This year's grand marshal was Francis X. Comerford, chief revenue officer and president of commercial operations for the NBC Owned Television Stations.

    He grew up in Brooklyn, but traces his Irish lineage back to Ireland's County Kilkenny.

    While hordes descended on Fifth Avenue for the parade, other revelers held a "Sober St. Patrick's Day" celebration at a high school on the Upper East Side.

    The alcohol-free bash included Irish step dancers, pipe bands and other musical acts.

    Before the parade kicked off Saturday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced that St. Patrick's Cathedral would undergo a $175 million renovation.

    He said the first phase will involve cleaning the cathedral's soot-damaged exterior and replacing its windows.

    "It really wasn't a choice for us,'' Dolan said. "It's a necessity, not a luxury. We're getting buckets of stones every day that fall from the cathedral.'

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