I have always loved Sunnyside’s annual St. Pat’s for All Parade for the spirit of it. It’s the only St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city that is all-inclusive, that doesn’t put restrictions on who can and cannot participate. It was only last week, however, that I learned the parade’s origin story from an excellent article by the Sunnyside Post, and then I loved it all the more.
According to the Sunnyside Post, St. Pat’s for All was founded by Irish lesbian and gay New Yorkers who were banned from publicly identifying as LGBTQ in Manhattan’s more famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Over the past 14 years this counter-parade, which began as a gay pride parade, burgeoned into an event embraced by much of the Sunnyside and Queens community, attracting participants from a vast array of backgrounds, community groups, and organizations.
There is something unique about the diversity and inclusiveness of Queens, I think, that made the success of a counter-parade like St. Pat’s for All possible. We can’t risk viewing our borough through rose-colored glasses: bad things happen here too, that are motivated by religious, cultural, racial and anti-LGBTQ bias. In fact, the very first Queens Pride Parade was organized 20 years ago in response to the hate-motivated murder of gay Jackson Heights resident Julio Rivera. For the parade’s 20th anniversary this past June, Rivera’s family members were honored, and a moment of silence was observed at the spot where Julio was killed. But anyone who has attended the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights or St. Pat’s for All in Sunnyside will tell you that these events–born of tragedy and adversity respectively–have grown into joyful, all-inclusive celebrations of community, of unity through diversity, of love of neighbor and place.
This is why I love St. Pat’s for All, and why I would encourage any and all Queens residents to go and cheer on the marchers as they make their way down Skillman Avenue this Sunday, March 3rd. The Sunnyside Post article mentions that this year local restaurants and bars are stepping up their support of the parade, and I would also encourage parade-goers to spend the day patronizing Sunnyside businesses to show our support for a community that hosts this truly unique event.
Since I have no special knowledge of what’s best to eat and drink in Sunnyside, and in the spirit of the inclusiveness of the day, I crowdsourced on Twitter for your Sunnyside favorites and have included them here:
@MBuhrmester suggests $1 donuts at La Hoguera Paisa and hot toddies at Molly Blooms!
@detroitred9 recommends burgers at PJ Horgans, fish and chips at The Dog and Duck, Corned Beef at Butcher Block, and McGuinness Pub for pints.
@eemer5 likes places along the parade route including The Dog and Duck, Claret Wine Bar, Quaint, TJ Asian Bistro, and The Kettle Bar and Restaurant.
@TMO_NYC casts another vote for Quaint.
@liz_wick suggests Salt & Fat and Molly Blooms.
@RayDeJohn loves Quaint, The Dog and Duck, Molly Blooms, Kettle Bar and Restaurant, Claret Wine Bar, De Mole, Lenny’s Pizza, Bar 43, and the Courtyard Ale House.
@harmoniousbelly recommends Baruir’s Coffee, rolled Romanian cakes at Nita’s European Bakery, chicken salteñas at Mi Bolivia, huevos rancheros and aguas frescas at Haab Cafe, cholados at Pecas Y Mas, and anything at Souk El Shater.
and @CitySpoonful is dying to try Malingo, a new Nepali restaurant, and Tropical for Ecuadoran fare!
If you have favorites to add, please do include them as comments on this post, or @ me on Twitter @tastoriaqueens and I will add in your recommendations to the list!
Happy St. Pat’s for All, to all!