St. Patrick’s Day 2023: Crime levels down but at what cost?

by Ellie Hughes, Feature Editor

     It’s March 17th, 2015. Newly 8 years old Chloe’s parents decide she is old enough for her first real St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Excitement saturates her brain as she and her older siblings file into the car. While still excited they have all attended this family tradition of going to the NYC parade before, but today is finally her time to join in on the festivities. As she approaches the long strip of the iconic 5th Avenue people dressed head to toe in Irish colors surround her car. Eager to get in on the parade action Chloe follows her parents closely as she weaves through the sea of St. Patrick’s Day fans, just to find the perfect spot with a clear view of the street. She feels a rhythmic rumble under her feet, and hears the cries of bagpipe notes as she watches Irish flags dance through the air. The parade has started.

     St. Patrick’s Day this year recently passed, but the question of safety and safety of rights has been surfing the headlines. After the denial of LGBTQ+ groups to be able to march in the very popular Long Island St. Patrick’s Day parade many New York citizens are starting to take their anger out on the holiday as a whole. With the new rejection of their participation in the parade, attendance levels of LGBTQ+ members were definitely in question this year. In Boston, hundreds of police officers along with drug sniffing dogs were roaming the streets during the parade, due to last year’s Neo-Nazi protest to “Keep Boston Irish”. The protesters last year dressed in all black while wearing black ski masks, and harrased many spectators that were of another race or nationality. Boston did not formally address this issue last year,  but had significantly more law enforcement during the parade this year as well as more monitored sections for parade goers to stand.

     After interviewing a few students from our very own Glen Rock High School, some insight on the topic was shed. One student in particular, Chloe Ivers, was shocked to hear of all the St. Patrick’s day controversies. She commented on the LGBTQ+ groups being refused a section of the parade to march, 

     “I think everybody’s human. And everybody should be able to have a chance to do what they want to do, no matter what they identify as.” Another GRHS student, Becky Yona, was repulsed to hear so many Irish Americans were acting this way towards people of other nationalities. As an Irish American herself she takes pride in her country and loves celebrating St. Patrick’s day around her friends and family. 

     “All my life St. Patrick’s day has been an exciting thing to participate in. The fact that people are trying to take away that excitement from others just because they aren’t Irish is appalling.” Yona was not alone in her opinion as many other students surveyed said they had never even heard of Irish Neo-Nazis, or anyone’s rejection in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. 

     Considering the controversies of last year, the turnout for parades across the country this year was big. In Boston specifically they had one of the biggest parades since 2019. According to News 10 New York,  crime on March 17th was reportedly down 15% since last year. Blame it on the beautiful weather or additional law enforcement but morale was significantly raised this St. Patrick’s Day. The only group that was not shed light on was the LGBTQ+ groups, who hopefully can get their moment to join in on St. Patrick’s Day festivities come next year.