NYC Celebrates St. Patrick's Day With Parade Up Fifth Avenue

New York City celebrated St. Patrick's Day Monday with a parade that drew hundreds of thousands of spectators and participants along Fifth Avenue, but the shivering, bundled-up crowd was only about a half as thick as in previous years.

The parade kicked off at 44th Street and made its way north up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral to 79th Street, amid frigid temperatures.

New York's Irish, their descendants and the Irish for a day reveled in the celebration of Irish culture, but Mayor de Blasio skipped the parade, which does not allow expressions of gay identity.

Parade organizers have said gay groups are not prohibited from marching, but are not allowed to carry gay-friendly signs or identify themselves as LGBT.

After protesters had planned to dump Guinness beer from the shelves of the Stonewall Inn, the beermaker said in a statement Sunday it had dropped its sponsorship of the parade.

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny refused to be sidelined, however, saying the holiday is about Irishness, not sexuality.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said he believed there were thousands of gay people marching Monday, and was happy about that.

"I'd like to think it's a celebration of roots and family and friendship and faith and heritage and culture and song and music," Dolan said. "I'd like to think it's a celebration of New York, this tremendous tapestry and this diversity all rallying around." 

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