Bronx neighborhood marks St. Patrick's Day with COVID-safe celebration

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us, one year after the coronavirus pandemic largely squashed any of the holiday's annual celebrations in New York City in 2020.

However, residents in the Riverdale section of the Bronx have taken it upon themselves to celebrate their Irish heritage again this year, albeit safely and socially-distanced.

Margaret Boyle, a 79-year-old Ireland native turned Bronx resident was named the parade's Grand Marshal.

"It’s very exciting, I always watched the grand marshal on St. Patrick’s Day on Fifth Avenue, but I didn’t realize it was moving up here," said Boyle.

With masks on, families tried their best to march while socially distanced from one another.

The celebratory sound of bagpipes during the parade served as a constant reminder for John Kelly of his Irish heritage and the sacrifices his ancestors made, while today his borough fights a different battle, against COVID-19.

"The whole effort was just to take a moment as a community to try to galvanize and remember as we go into a darkness that we are still all together," said Kelly, who organized the parade.

"I think it’s nice to retain that Irish culture in an Irish-American community and I think it’s important. Heritage is important and I hope they keep it up," said Boyle.

And keep it up they will. The event organizers swear they’ll be back next year, hopefully in a world safe enough to march closer together, with masks off.

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