Homecoming: 2016 St. Pat’s For All Parade


Once again, the Sandicam captured our day perfectly!

“Where are you guys from?” a father supervising a group of small children feeding Samson an endless stream of carrots asked the top-hatted crew surrounding the carriage in Sunnyside.

Carriage owner Stephen Malone pointed up to the intersection of 43rd and Skillman Ave. “I’m from right there. Grew up at 4308 til we moved two blocks up the street.”

The St. Pat’s For All Parade feels like a small town parade with a big mission – to take the phrase from the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Easter 1916, “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” and making it a reality.

2016 was a big year for St. Pat’s For All, and a big year for us.

Congratulations to parade organizer Brendan Fay, whose organization “Lavender and Green Alliance” will finally be allowed to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17.

While this victory for equal rights for all closes a 17 year chapter on the era of the St. Pat’s For All Parade’s political protest, the joy that fills Skillman Avenue in celebrating everyone, Irish or wannabe, is a lasting testament to Brendan’s vision. We were honored to be a part of it for the second straight year this year, on Sunday, March 6, 2016. This year’s parade was a chance for us to celebrate our victory in the City Council in defeating Int. 573 (again). And happily we had much better weather than last year!

Parade preparations:

Going to a parade with a horse and carriage is no small task. Carriage, horse and harness have to be cleaned. All the parts and pieces have to be remembered and packed – flowers, carriage bolts, plumes, banner. And it all has to be loaded onto the truck and trailer. A big thank you to Marcy Brennan from Bronx Equestrian Center for helping us transport the star of the show, Samson, to Queens.


Getting ready for showtime also included Conor, Sean, Paul and Bernadette meeting our friends who represent Queens in government. Sean and Paul live in the neighborhood in Woodside, and in addition to our political friends to meet and greet there were many neighbors on hand to show their support.


Photo by Bernadette Kelly.

Special guest passenger: Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt wanted to ride in the carriage for the parade, and we were more than happy to oblige.

(A bit of carriage and Malachy trivia intersecting: Malachy McCourt used to run a bar on Third Ave, Malachy’s, where he was often joined by actor Richard Harris, who would sometimes bartend. Richard Harris, of course, was a famous carriage afficionado, too, often bringing a book or champagne or any good excuse to the Plaza for a ride in Central Park.)

Carriage community

A sign of the times

A sign of the times

There is plenty of media coverage of the parade, and a couple of articles have pictures of Samson and the carriage. But there were no gaggles of reporters asking us about the created controversy surrounding the carriage industry, despite the Mayor being in attendance. All along the parade route we were welcomed and appreciated by our fellow New Yorkers. There were no questions, no protests against us, no petitions to bar our participation.

For once it was nice not to be newsworthy, and instead to be simply worthy …and at home.


Selfie on Skillman Ave. with Paul

Selfie on Skillman Ave. with Paul

Check out more photos from the 2016 St. Pat’s For All parade from Nina Galicheva in the gallery below. Prints can be ordered from www.ninagalicheva.com.


About Author

Christina Hansen is a New York City carriage driver and a spokesperson for the carriage industry. She is a proud member of Teamsters Local 553.

Leave A Reply