This week marks the official launch of that special time of year when Staten Island really sees green.
It’s the period where the 16-percent of Islanders who claim Irish roots get to fully share their cultural pride with S.I.’s increasingly diverse population.
Yes, starting with Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Parade on Forest Avenue (yeah, yeah, St. Paddy’s comes early here! Deal with it!) and ending with the 14th Annual Staten Ireland Fair, June 9-10 in South Beach, the borough’s full-blown Irish spring is officially upon us.
In between these two cornerstone events are a cornucopia of shamrock scenes, celtic crafting circles and pot ‘o’ gold pub crawls. The following are just a few of our favorites:
Spectators line up as many as a dozen deep to take in this smorgasbord of shamrock-bedecked bagpipers, step-dancers, bands, politicians and community groups. Buoyed by marching bands, the scent of hundreds of pounds of corned beef and cabbage wafting out of Forest Avenue pubs, and an eagerness for spring weather, thousands of Islanders are expected in West Brighton for Sunday’s parade.
Leading the 48th annual edition — which steps off at 12:30 p.m. from the corner of Forest Avenue and Hart Boulevard in Silver Lake — will be grand marshal Thomas J. McSorley. A man of few words, the 78-year-old New Brighton native said of the honor: “I’m on cloud nine.”
We’ll let Gerald Mulvaney, chairman of the 2012 Ancient Hibernian Ball, do the bragging for him: “Tom is into everything, but he’s mostly about background. He doesn’t want any big fanfare or anything, he just goes about doing anything people ask him to do.”
Mulvaney said McSorley was like that even when they were altar boys together at St. Peter’s Boys High School. Upon graduation, McSorley joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Braine and the USS Orleck, attaining the rank of boatswain’s mate third class.
After his discharge in 1957, he went to work for the New York Telephone Company and in 1959 joined the FDNY, where he stayed for 17 years before opening his carpentry business. He joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division IV in 1983 and rose rapidly, becoming Division IV president in 1987-88 and county board president in 1990-91.
COMPED CORNFED BEEF
Don’t want to brave the crowds at the many bars and restaurants on Forest Avenue but still wanna get in Saturday’s spectator spirit? Make your way out of the fray to Karl’s Klipper — 40 Bay St., St. George; 718-720-4442 — where complimentary corned beef sandwiches and beer specials will be served starting at 3 p.m. for their special “After-Parade Gathering.”
ST. PATRICK’S GAY
Staten Island Pride Events’ 4th Annual St Patrick’s GAY Dinner Dance will be served from 8 p.m.-midnight March 10 at the American Legion Hall: Henry and Stanley Cichon Post, 100 Innis St. in Port Richmond.
Admission is $40 per person which includes buffet dinner/dessert, beer/wine/soda (top-shelf cocktails are no more than $6 at the cash bar) and dancing with jams provided by DJ Ricky from DMC Sound. Plus, a 50/50 raffle and additional prize drawings sponsored by PRN Communications.
Call 347-982-8434 or email SIPrideEvents@gmail.com for reservations (tables of 10 or more get a special group rate). Proceeds will help fund this summer’s S.I. Pride Parade.
Tis year’s GAY honorees are Gail Kelley, director of development at the Alice Austen House Museum, and NYC Council member Daniel Dromm.
Kelley was instrumental in bringing Austen’s life to the community with education programs for people interested in photography. In 2011, Austen House hosted the S.I. LGBT Coming Out Day Picnic and the exploration of Alice’s life was the subject of a recent stage production at Snug Harbor which did not shy away from Alice’s relationship with Gertrude Tate.
Since 1984, award-winning teacher Dromm has inspired thousands of students at PS 199Q in Queens. He is the founder of Queens Pride, which attracts more than 20,000 spectators and is live-streamed to a global audience. Dromm marched in last year’s S.I. Pride Parade and spoke with passion to the crowd about the importance of building a strong, proud community (YouTube it!).
Nancy Sawada-Clair will lead a free Leprechaun Craft session (for ages 4 to 10 with caregiver) March 10 from 1-2 p.m. at Blue Heron Nature Center, 222 Poillon Ave., Annadale; Preserve2.org/blueheron. Preregistration is preferred at 917-751-0071.
Another Leprechaun Craft session (for ages 5 and up) takes place March 15 at 4 p.m. in Tottenville Public Library, 7430 Amboy Road; 718-984-0945. Pre-registration begins March 8.
DO A JIG WITH THE KIDS
“Irish step dancing is fun and loud and that’s no blarney!,” says Joanne Pentangelo, public affairs associate for the Staten Island Children’s Museum. “Come watch and learn a few steps.”
Dawn Daniels’ Forest Haven Center for Dance & Music will lead a group lesson March 10 at 2 p.m. at the museum, on the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terr., Livingston; 718-273-2060. Admission is $6 and all-ages are welcome. Visit StatenIslandKids.org for more information.
‘THE IRISH ON STATEN ISLAND’
This is isn’t your average local history lesson, folks.
“Fascinating biographical information on Irish-American residents will be featured as we discuss immigration, the Quarantine Station, the Draft Riots of 1863 and more,” says Patricia M. Salmon, curator of history at the Staten Island Museum. “Scholars, politicians, authors, radicals and others will be presented.”
Get your up on your Irish at 7:30 p.m. March 14 at the History Archives, Bld. H, on the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terr., Livingston; 718-448-2500. Admission: $7, general public; $5 for museum members. Registration is required.
For more information, call 718-483-7123 or email email@example.com.
GUYON TAVERN CONCERTS
A pair of performances in the acclaimed acoustic series – seriously, the untouched by modern technology sound quality is nationally reknowned — are dedicated to the pluck of the Irish.
Up first: David Kincaid’s “Irish Songs of hte Civil War” on March 16 at 7:30 p.m.. Recognized as both musician and historian, Kincaid presents a compelling program of the songs and history of the Irish in the Civil War, both Union and Confederate.
Next up: Get your Hibernia on for St. Patrick’s Day as Stout regales the Tavern with two doses (at 7:30 and 9 p.m.) of traditional Irish and Irish-American songs about “drinking, love, immigration, rebels, shellfish, tomfoolery, and maybe some more drinking.”
Tickets are $18 per person or $15 for SIHS members. Space is limited, so call 718-351-1611, ext. 281, for reservations. Guyon Tavern is located in Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave., Richmond, 718-351-1611; HistoricRichmondTown.org.
‘THE WORLD’S LARGET PUB CRAWL’
That’s the slogan of PubCrawls.com, which descends upon Forest Avenue from noon-4 a.m. March 17 at for a 21-and-over event dubbed the “Luck of the Irish Staten Island Pub Crawl.”
The website touts: “Manhattan gets a lot of attention, but if you really like a great bar scene, you gotta get over to Staten Island. There’s no better place to be to get your drink on, and since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and you can expect the bars to get filled up all day long! But if you’re looking to hop around town, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s by getting your ticket to the Luck of the Irish Staten Island Pub Crawl! The organizers of the World’s Largest Pub Crawl are looking to recreate history yet again, and they’ve enlisted the help of some of the best bars in town.”
Registration: 4-11 p.m. March 16 at Black Dog, 382 Forest Ave. A $5 fee (plus $3.95 service charge online) covers general admission access for one at all participating bars. Specials: $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks, $5 Jamesons. After 9 p.m.: $3 domestic drafts, $4 domestic bottles, $5 well drinks and $6 Jamesons.
Visit PubCrawls.com for more information.
PUB CRAWL 2
Not psyched about some web conglomerate jacking our style? Jennifer “Rocker Jenn” Padilla, the force behind last Halloween’s popular Zombie Pub Crawl, is organizing a more homegrown option.
The St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl will focus on Downtown S.I.
“I planned this event to show people that downtown Staten Island is still a cool area with cool venues — just like back in the old days,” says Padilla. “There will be live music and great people at this event. We will all be sporting our green and celebrating.”
The launch pad: The crawl starts at 8 p.m. in At Da Game, 372 Van Duzer St. in Stapleton before moving on to the Full Cup, 388 Van Duzer St., and ending at Dock Street, 691 Bay St.
For more event details, call Padilla at 631-645-6448 or hit up “Rocker Jenn” on Facebook.
Didn’t get enough on the actual holiday? Re-celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Colonial style March 24 at 6 p.m.
Dine by candlelight in a cozy atmosphere and knock out the last vestiges of winter’s chill with a mouthwatering meal done up in Irish style in the Conference House kitchen.
Sink your teeth into appetizers that will melt away in your mouth, a very traditional Mulligan Stew, the crunchiest green salad, and of course Irish soda bread with additional pastries and beverages. The meal is served on the venue’s lovely, eclectic china service and placed (naturally) on Irish linen.
Accompanying the meal will be the musical talents of Bob Conroy and Norm Pederson with Jason Wickersty. The trio will play authentic Irish music on the banjo, bodhran, mandolin, flute and guitar.
Tickets are $65 per person. Seating is limited, so make reservations at 718-984-6046. The Conference House Park is located at 298 Satterlee St.; ConferenceHouse.org.
EMERALD ISLE CELEBRATION
Yeah, yeah, this borough has a lot of love for all things Italian. But anyone who dares deny Staten Island’s Irish pride has more than a decade of music and merriment to explain.
The14th Annual Staten Ireland Fair — from noon to 8 p.m. June 9 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 10 at 777 Seaview Ave., South Beach — promises plenty of the usual jig-inducing entertainment: Staten Island Pipes and Drums, Fiona Molloy and many more (check out the AWE ACCESS calendars closer to the date for a full music schedule).
Founded in 1999, the event draws more than 6,000 revelers in support of the St. Columcille Irish Cultural Center’s ongoing goal to raise enough money to purchase property for a new building. Look for more than 40 vendors in its “tinker” shopping village, chances to learn all you ever wanted to know about Irish history, and even non-traditional entertainment for the kids like the Giant Moon Bounce and the Crazy Caterpillar.
Admission: $10 for adults at the gate, $8 in advance. Children under 12 get in free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit StatenIrelandFair.com.