03/22/14 6:59pm
03/22/2014 6:59 PM

A green beard made for a festive march in Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Jamesport. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Three months ago, the idea of holding a St. Patrick’s Day in Jamesport was just that: only a thought.

But after weeks of hurried preparation, a series of rushed moves to raise funds and support from local politicians and businesses, hundreds lined along Main Road Saturday afternoon and watched the East End Emerald Society’s parade march by, the first St. Patrick’s parade in Jamesport.  (more…)

03/17/14 2:36pm
03/17/2014 2:36 PM
A ruben club at Digger's. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

A reuben club at Digger’s. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today? Don’t forget a few Irish items that come straight from the North Fork.

No St. Patrick’s Day celebration is complete without corned beef and the North Fork’s only Irish pub Digger’s Ale’s & Eats in Riverhead has a fantastic reuben sandwich. Their massive Ruben is made to satisfy. The chef uses top round cuts of beef instead of traditional brisket, which makes for a thicker, juicier sandwich.

Read the rest of the items on northforker.com

03/17/13 7:00am
03/17/2013 7:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Bagpipers march during last week’s Cutchogue St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

St. Patrick’s Day just isn’t the same anymore.

For over a decade the annual celebration of all things Irish — and unfortunately things that have nothing to do Mother Eire (pronounced air-uh, not ear-ree) — meant riding a bus to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and onto Manhattan’s manic streets for THE parade. The granddaddy of ‘em all, the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade up 5th Avenue in front of hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom are actually not conversing on a cellphone.

That’s the parade any piper worth his salt dreams of. It dates back to 1762 when some homesick Micks and fellow countrymen serving in the British colonial military reconnected to the land of saints and scholars by staging their own March 17 march through lower Manhattan’s narrow streets.

The view from the street is at turns awe-inspiring and terrifying. I played and marched in fair weather and foul, passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s imposing Gothic spires, Tiffany’s and other tony shops, the Plaza Hotel and Central Park up to 79th Street. We used to play all the way up to 89th, right to the Guggenheim Museum, but then the city decided it was spending too much on police overtime.

While I think the city looks foolish in its current role as the Sugar Nazi, they heard no complaint from me about loping off those last 10 blocks. Believe me, 30 blocks, much of it uphill, is more than enough.

But I didn’t pipe there last year, nor will I make the march this year. Not sure where I’ll be when this year’s parade steps off on Saturday, on the 16th because the parade is never, ever held on a Sunday, but it’s a safe bet me pipes will remain out in the garage.

The reason is simple. Last year my group, the Peconic Warpipes, fell apart, the victim of internal strife and a lack of interest by many of the senior members. Of course there are other bands out there, including one connected to a Riverhead brewery that rose out of the Warpipes’ ashes, but I have to admit my heart just isn’t in it.

I marched in 10 city parades, in Boston and in dozens of others from the Rockaways to Montauk, but in me sixth decade on this planet the idea of standing in the snow, or rain, waiting for three hours to step off has lost its luster. I am soooooo done with this.

Or so I thought.

That’s not what I was thinking on Saturday as me and the Mrs. watched local dignitaries, Girl Scouts, antique cars, fire trucks, school bands, even a helicopter on a flatbed truck and pipers, of course the pipers, pass us by during Cutchogue’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Now I know how a professional athlete must feel when playing days have passed and the view is from the sidelines or the stands. Well, except that I never drew a seven- or eight-figure salary, had multitudes screaming for my autograph, appeared on Letterman or drove a Lamborghini. Other than that, it’s the exact same thing.

The skirl of the pipes grew louder as the bands marched west on Main Road toward the reviewing stand where they stopped, their tartans gleaming in the sunshine of a glorious pre-spring afternoon. They played for the dignitaries and marched off again. That could have been/should have been me up there. Why am I on the outside looking in? Why am I wearing pants? (Knock it off. You know what I mean.)

Then a couple of former bandmates came up to say hi. Great to see ‘em, but boy did it feel awkward.

Soon the horses clip-clopped by, signaling, for obvious reasons, the parade’s end. The crowd dispersed and we walked the short distance home and into the garage. Just before opening the kitchen door I glanced over at the pipes, lying on a cluttered table by the far wall.

Damn, damn, damn.

03/17/11 5:07pm
03/17/2011 5:07 PM

Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton held its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade with principal David Enos leading the way as Grand Marshal Thursday afternoon.

First-grade students made posters, decorated floats and made costumes. The six classes of first-graders paraded in the front parking lot of the school for the rest of the students, teachers and parents who came out to watch during the spring-like 60 degree day.

The school has held the event for the past eight years.

/ 18

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riley Avenue first-graders in the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the school.

03/17/11 5:11am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly during the 2011 Cutchogue St. Patrick's Day Parade looking mighty Irish.

On this very day 29 years ago, winter had yet to loosen its grip on the East End. How could I remember an insignificant little meteorological tidbit after close to three decades?

With no difficulty whatsoever. You don’t forget things like driving along Route 58 in Riverhead in a snow squall in a borrowed, beat-up old pickup with the drivers’ side windshield wiper flipped completely over to the left so the snow builds up on the windshield while the wiper waves up and down in the air out by the side rearview.

You don’t forget heading south on a very dark Church Lane in Aquebogue in that same truck later that evening after dinner with friends and the vehicle’s electrical system shutting down, leaving the truck dead on the side of the road between lonely woods and a very empty farm field.

And you certainly don’t forget that earlier that afternoon your wife had given birth, via a C-section three weeks ahead of the due date, to your first child, a boy, a St. Patrick’s Day baby born with an unruly shock of red hair that the nurses kept slicking down but that bounced right back up.

Now THAT was a St. Patrick’s Day to remember, even without green beer, rubbery corned beef and a boiled vegetable that once resembled cabbage.

Until then, Paddy’s Day was no big deal. Progeny though we were of a Kelly-Brophy union, you couldn’t call us practicing Irish. Lasagna and tacos were typical March 17 fare. As adults we might gather at Ma’s and watch “The Quiet Man,” but with ne’er a Guinness in sight.

Soda bread? What’s that? No one knew the words to “Danny Boy” and nobody cared. Nobody skipped school to take the train into New York for the city parade. Let’s face it, we were about as Irish as bagels and lox. Go out in public in a leprechaun hat and a tied-on red beard? What are you, meshugeneh?

OK, so we named our son Ryan Patrick, but c’mon he was born on St. Patrick’s Day, for cryin’ out loud. What did you expect, Saleem Pierre Antonio Ludwig Stosh Rufus Viggo?

Over the years, the holiday was little more than a reason to put a shamrock on his birthday cake. A day like any other — well, except for the time the shrubs “accidentally” caught fire next to the garage during his 10th birthday party. Got to meet just about every member of the Cutchogue Fire Department that day. I’m sure that by now they’ve all but forgotten my, um, salty language.
But since 2000 I’ve spent Paddy’s Day in NYC with the lads piping our way north up Fifth Avenue. ’Tis grand altogether — well, except for the year the snow was blowing horizontally down the avenue, right into your face. Or the year the temps climbed into the upper 60s, which isn’t so grand when you’re wrapped in layer upon layer of wool.

The city parade demands patience from its participants as there’s a lot of standing around before stepping off. Sometimes three hours or more. You soon discover which delis have bathrooms and which do not. If for no other reason, that tends to cut down on pre-marching imbibing.

One of the highlights for the younger guys is having young females come up and ask to have their picture taken with them. Much giggling and flirting ensues. Ah, to be young again. I usually get the folk who want me to hold their babies.

A few years back two gorgeous blonde girls came around the corner where I stood and asked ME for a photo. ME! Certainly! My pleasure! By the way, where are you ladies from? Denmark? That’s great. Hope you enjoy your time in New York. Nearly bursting with pride I hied me west on 46th Street to a loose knot of pipers.

Hey, guys! Guess what? Guess who just had his picture taken with TWO Danish blondes? No, me! I’m serious. What’s so damn funny? Waddaya mean it’s time for my medicine and a nap?

Hope you all get really, really chafed. And you know what I mean.

This year — today if you’re reading this on Thursday — the forecast is for fair skies and spring-like temperatures. There should be a special feel to the parade, New York’s 250th. I can’t wait.

I bet there will be young blondes on every corner. I know, I know. To quote Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

tkelly@timesreview.com