Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
It’s parade time! Bagpipers, Irish dancers and community groups will march throughout the neighborhood this weekend for the 39th annual Rockaway Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
On Saturday, March 1st, dozens of groups will march down Newport Avenue and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, showcasing Irish culture and community pride. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. from Beach 130th Street and Newport Avenue and will continue to Beach 100th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, where marching groups will disperse into the St. Camillus parking lot. The reviewing stand will be located at Beach 105th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
“This is our 39th year of bringing a ray of sunshine to our beautiful Rockaway community,” Mike Benn, parade president of 15 years and counting, said. “Keeping the old traditions alive and making new traditions with our children and grandchildren is so important.”
This year’s Grand Marshal is Donal O’Sullivan, CEO of Navillus Construction Company. “We are pleased to have Donal O’Sullivan from Navillus Construction as our Grand Marshal, a person whose company did so much to help out during the Sandy debacle,” Benn said. “We are also pleased to honor as our deputies, such people who have contributed so much in each of their individual endeavors.”
The Honorary Grand Marshals are Thomas Giblin, Business Manager of Local 68 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and newly elected Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. The Gael of the Year is New York State Supreme Court Judge Tim Dufficy. The Deputy Grand Marshals include FDNY Captain Eddy Boles, Stephen Valenti of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Andrew Koslosky of the Josephine Foundation, New York State Court Officer Terrence Flanagan, Air Force Reservist Laura Brennan Angeles, Colin Mathers of the Shannon Gaels, New York City Sanitation Deputy Chief Keith Woods, Veronica Barry of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Lily Corcoran of Rockaway and retired NYPD officer, A.O.H. Division 21 Member and transportation advocate Philip McManus.
This year’s parade includes more than 15 bagpipe bands, starting with County Tyrone Pipe and Drums and the Clann Eireann Pipe Band, which will march in Division I, along with the grand marshals, parade committee members, Irish wolfhounds, antique cars and more.
The Emerald Society Sanitation Bagpipe Band will lead Division II, followed by members of the Department of Sanitation, the Breezy Point Catholic Club Pipe Band, St. Camillus, Ladies AOH Division 25, the NYC Department of Correction Pipe Band, O’Malley School of Irish Dance, the Staten Island Bagpipe Band, the Men’s AOH Division 21, the Graybeards, Local Union 30 and other groups.
Division III is led by the New York State Courts Pipes and Drums, followed by members of the New York State Courts Emerald Society, St. John’s Hospital, the Rockaway Beach Community Group and Board, the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department, the Archbishop Molloy High School Band, Anne Marie Acosta Dancing School, Waterside Children’s Studio School, Scholars’ Academy, P.S. 114 and more.
Division IV will be led by the Columbus Council 126 Pipes and Drums and is followed by the Knights of Columbus, the Monsignor Burke Council 2672 Brownies, Glor Na Gael Pipe Band, Navillus Construction, the Shannon Gaels Football Club, the NYC Transit Pipe and Drum Band, Gaelic Athletic Association President Liam Bermingham players, Xaverian H.S. Bagpipe Band, Irish County Associations and flags and the Breezy Point Volunteer Fire Depart- ment.
Division V, led by the Manhattan College Pipe Band, will also include St. Francis de Sales, the Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department, the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, The County Sligo Association, the County Cork Pipe Band, Rockaway Little League, the New Haven Fire Department and Pipe Band, Local Union 1089, the Brooklyn Irish Parade Committee, Mrs. Elaine School of Dance, the Rockaway Artists Alliance, St. Rose of Lima School and the Inwood Fire Department.
In Division VI is the Beach Channel High School Marching Band, American Legion Post 1404 Broad Channel, the Broad Channel Athletic Club, the Shamrock Football Team, Niall O’Leary School of Dancing, Walk a Mile for Sandy Relief, Friends of Rockaway, Troop and Pack 139 Howard Beach Scouts, the Sword of Light Pipe Band, the New Rockaway Cub Scout Pack 14, Girl Scout Troop 6406 and Troop 4286, the West Islip Volunteer Fire Department, FDNY and EMS and the 100th Precinct Explorers Youth Group. The final group of marchers in Division VII includes the Iona College Pipe Band, Ridgewood Savings Bank, the Rockaway Rugby Club, the Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department, Crom Martial Arts, Manhattan Beer Distributors, the Coors Light Ambulance and M&D Fire Truck, the Woodhaven Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Meadowmere Park Volunteer Fire Department and any last-minute additions.
Last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was booed heavily during the parade as some residents were not happy with his response after Hurricane Sandy. New Mayor Bill de Blasio received a positive response when he marched last year as public advocate. De Blasio has only visited Rockaway four times since last year’s parade. The Wave reached out to the mayor’s press office and city hall to inquire if de Blasio will march in Rockaway’s parade this year. As we go to press, The Wave could not confirm that he will be attending. The mayor did, however, confirm that he will not march in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.