Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New York Irish

Staten Island has its St Patrick’s Day Parade two weeks before Manhattan. This year the Staten Island Advance clucked, “Parade ends in Disappointing Melee.” The crew on the Ferry, however, described a bang-up brawl; they didn’t seem disappointed. I witnessed my first Parade in New York from the balcony of Goethe House on 5th Avenue. As endless assorted boring groups marched past, three teenage boys engaged two cops in conversation. Suddenly to my astonishment the boys leapt on the cops and started pummeling them. Eventually the cops got to their feet and were swinging their nightsticks as the boys ran merrily into Central Park. St Paddy’s is the annual Irish insurrection. A couple years later I encountered an utterly inebriated Irish girl on Canal Street. She wore a button which said, “Fuck the British,” and she gave every passing male the Britney eye. Where were the nuns? A friend from New Orleans told me she lost her virginity at 16 and got pregnant just like that. And, oh, she never did get the guy’s name. This was 1970. She was a star pupil at the Academie du Sacre Coeur. Her mother flew her to New York for an abortion.


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