NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A sea of green flooded Fifth Avenue as spectators and marchers took to the streets for the country’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade — which was just a wee bit smaller this year.

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The 250th annual parade stepped off Thursday morning on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street, but thanks to budget cuts to reduce police costs, the parade will end at East 79th Street instead of East 86th.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched with best-selling mystery author Mary Higgins Clark — this year’s grand marshal — and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

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About 200,000 marchers and up to 2 million spectators enjoyed the sunny March day with sunshine with temperatures in the low 60s.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan and his predecessor Cardinal Edward Egan greeted the mayor in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street.

Nearly 150 bands marched the green line past St. Patrick’s, a tribute to the heritage that Irish Americans hold so dear.

“I’m first generation Irish, my parents came from Cavern, Ireland, and I’m very proud to be Irish,” Yonkers resident Carol Dunne told CBS 2’s Demetra Ganias.

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Earlier this month, Bloomberg got a less than warm welcome at a St. Patricks’ Day parade in Queens. Some parade-goers were angry about the mayor’s joke last month that he usually saw “people that are totally inebriated” at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan. Bloomberg apologized shortly after making the comment.

Asked about the matter again before Thursday’s parade, Bloomberg said, “I told a joke some people didn’t find funny. But the reception I got so far puts a smile on my face.”

Dolan waved off a question about whether the mayor’s joke had offended him.

“On a day like this, forget it,” he said.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Jimmy Oh says:

    Green day was great.
    There many drunks on MTA buses and train.

    I saw female dress in green – Throw up near a train station subway entrance.
    Or was a nice looking twink.

    Yeah, I enjoy the vistors from “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd!!!!

    1. Billl Clogston says:

      Jimmy Oh

      Do you complaint about Mardi Gras or Octoberfests or drunkin sports fans. Get over your prejudice. You’re not kidding anyone.

  2. Ellen says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. And by the way good old St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. British, Italian, or French maybe , but not Irish.

    1. shamrock says:

      He was born in Scotland. Try typing “where was saint patrick born” in your address bar.

  3. Arnie Friend says:

    Tired of all the posers with “Kiss Me I’m Irish” gear?

    Have them try the quiz:

    Good luck

  4. Bob says:

    Just keep the drunks off the Ferry tonight. Not looking to kick some rude obnoxious drunken Paddy’s Day A$$ on my way home.

    1. paul newman says:

      Bob, hope you are keeping guido island safe

    2. Bill Clogston says:


      Have you ever attended a Mardi Gras of an Octoberfest. Get over your predjudice.

  5. PaPa Joe says:

    Good for the Irish. Let’s not forget this Saturdy March 19. It is the feast day of St. Joseph. Lots and lots of the good Irish folk are Josephs.

  6. cityguy says:

    I wonder when the economy will cause tourists to stop coming to New York City. Crime here is rising and the city is spending less money to help the public.

    1. Blarney Rubble says:

      Why don’t you move, you d*ck?

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