A cold, bitter wind blew across Rockaway Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the sentiment of residents toward Mayor de Blasio, but an actual wind blowing in from Jamaica Bay during the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The cold temperature and strong wind dampened attendance, but those turning out appeared to have their usual good time. It’s a world apart from the large Fifth Avenue parades, and even from many parades in other parts of the City, with a strong small town feel to it as the parade flows through a suburban neighborhood of single family homes. Green-clothed crowds filled many front lawns and porches, with cheers for the marchers interspersed amid a steady flow of eating, drinking and talking.
A modest number of elected officials attended: Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Joe Addabbo, Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato and Council Member Eric Ulrich. Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Andrew Cuomo were among the no-shows.
Tish James had an especially good time, flashing big smiles at the crow as she high-fived, posed for photos and shouted greetings and encouragement. Her enthusiasm was so great that midway through the parade she began shouting “Eric Ulrich for Mayor!” (Ulrich is a possible Republican mayoral candidate.)