On the Avenue: Irish eyes smile at Bay Ridge’s St. Pat’s Parade

Bay Ridge looks good in green!

The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place on Sunday, March 26, welcoming hundreds of participants and spectators who gathered “on the avenue” to celebrate Irish culture and pride.

Grand Marshal Hon. Matthew D’Emic led his deputies — Scott Lloyd, Jimmy Nealon, Jimmy Young, Steven Fadel, Maureen McHugh, Maureen Stramka, Kelly Graham, Megin Reilly, Mary Ann Wood and Patrick D’Emic — along the parade route, which began on Third Avenue at Marine Avenue and ended at 67th Street. Huge crowds gathered at the Grandstand in front of Greenhouse Café, 7717 Third Ave., where parade emcees Peter Clavin and Parade Committee Vice President John Bennett announced each marching group.

Also marching were 2023 Honorary Irishman Robert “Cosmic” Puglia and members of the Moran family — the parade’s 2023 Irish family of the year!

Students from the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance make their way past the Grandstand following a spirited performance at the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Photo courtesy of Merchants of Third Avenue      

Parade Committee President Richie O’Mara marched alongside his fellow committee members and waved to the crowds.

Parade Formation Coordinator Chip Cafiero, who serves in that capacity for all of Bay Ridge’s parades, made sure everyone stepped off without a hitch.

“Making sure everyone steps off in the right order is so important for any parade. It avoids mistakes at the Grandstand when the groups are being announced,” he explained. “Thank goodness the weather was incredible and everyone had a wonderful time.”

Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Hon. Matthew D’Emic (left) takes his spot in the line of march, guided by Parade Formation Coordinator Chip Cafiero. Photo courtesy of Merchants of Third Avenue

Hundreds of schoolchildren marched behind banners, and talented Irish step dancing students performed at key intervals along the way. Elected officials and other dignitaries also marched in unison to wish Bay Ridge a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Up next for Bay Ridge is the annual 17th of May Norwegian Day Parade, followed by the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade. The children’s Ragamuffin Parade also takes place “on the avenue” in the fall.

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Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, members of the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge gathered “on the avenue” for their own celebration on March 16, which paid homage to St. Patrick, St. Joseph and members of New York’s Finest.

The Club’s annual NYPD Appreciation Night was held at beautiful El Caribe Country Club, 5945 Strickland Ave., and welcomed a number of prominent members of the NYPD for an evening of fine dining and fun. On the menu was traditional Irish and Italian fare to commemorate the two holidays. Among the special guests in attendance were NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey and retired Chief Joe Esposito.

Ben-Bay Kiwanis Club President Brian Long, who has served as chair of this special event for many years, was proud to recognize so many law enforcement officers at the event.

“These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect New Yorkers, and we want them to know they are appreciated,” Long said.

Retired FDNY Battalion Chief John Martorana (center) accepts a check on behalf of the Tunnels to Towers Foundation from Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge President Brian Long and board members John Delosa and Frank Naccarato, joined by NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, retired NYPD Chief Joe Esposito and Msgrs. Jamie Gigantiello, Robert Romano and David Cassato (left to right). Photo courtesy of Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge

Long was also pleased to present a check for $5,000 (raised entirely through the generous donations of Club members themselves) to benefit the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Retired FDNY Battalion Chief John Martorana accepted the check on behalf of the organization and spoke about the great work being done to aid injured soldiers and their families.

Chief Maddrey spoke at the event, thanking the Kiwanians for their hospitality and reflecting upon his time on the force and in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, in particular.

“In 2014 I was coming to all the dinners in Bay Ridge and I have to tell you, I missed you all,” he told the crowd.

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