Though the neighborhood is typically and historically associated with Polish culture (a fact that many are fighting to maintain as developers and skyrocketing rent prices are threatening the stability of longtime Polish businesses), Greenpoint also has a storied Irish history. And on this day (St. Patrick’s Day, to be clear) in 1961, Greenpoint’s Irish-American community took the citywide stage by marching in the 110th St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

As reported in the Greenpoint Weekly Star, those planning to march met outside the Knights of Columbus Lexington Council at the corner of Meserole and Lorimer Streets, which today houses a condo building (called the Lexington Council Condominium). Those marching included delegates from the aforementioned Knights of Columbus and St. Catherine’s Hospital. After the parade, revelers returned to Greenpoint to continue their celebrations with dancing, singing, and performances.

While the NYC parade dates back to 1762, Greenpoint became a hub for the Irish in the 1840s around the time of the potato famine. In 1855, a census revealed that the neighborhood was 30% Irish, a figure that continued to grow as more and more people settled here to help establish the growing ship-building industry.

And Irish roots can continue to be seen all throughout the community — McGolrick Park is named after Monseigneur Edward McGolrick, who was born in Donegal, Ireland and rebuilt St. Cecelia’s Church; McCarren Park is named after Irish-American State Senator Patrick McCarren, who lived in Williamsburg; and the instantly recognizable St. Anthony of Padua church on Manhattan Avenue was built by Irish architect Patrick Keely.

For those looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now, there are at least six local spots serving up Guinness for the occasion, Keg and Lantern graciously shared their Irish Stew recipe with us if you’re in the cooking mood, and the Clonard is having an all-day-and-night bash featuring free giveaways and “Irish everything” (i.e. Irish music, corned beef, Irish coffee, crisps, and more).


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