In years past for the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, I could barely make it to within 10 people from the corner of Fifth Avenue along the parade route in midtown Manhattan, where I work. Today was even worse: So many police barricades were up, and so many people streaming past the resulting narrow passages, that I simply gave up trying to move closer.
What I saw on 49th Street, between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue, was enough to give me a sense of the atmosphere. Advance estimates called for approximately 2 million onlookers. Some, like the young fellows caught here by my camera, were intent on where they wanted to go, using technology to meet friends, and well-behaved.
I can’t say the same for others, especially 10 to 15 guys, on opposite sides of 49th Street and moving east, who began an obnoxious, sexist chant. It was as if none of them had watched the news lately of videos catching University of Oklahoma frat boys in the worst type of racist rowdiness—and, subsequently, paying the penalty in mortification to themselves and their families, not to mention blighted educational prospects.
Young people, better than anyone, should understand the consequences of misbehavior like this going viral. For those who proceed to disgrace themselves—and embarrass the great majority of other Irish-Americans at the parade who had nothing to do with such misconduct—just remember: If you can’t separate drinking from being stupid, don’t start drinking in the first place.