11 Mar St Patrick’s Day Travel Guide to New York
On St Patrick’s Day in New York, everybody is Irish so you’ll feel right at home in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Whether you plan on catching a glimpse of the prestigious NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade or you hope to relax in one of the many Irish bars dotted around the city, St Patrick’s Day in New York will not disappoint. Just don’t get too vexed when they keep calling it Patty’s Day!
There are direct flights to/ from New York from both Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport so no matter what part of the country you’re from, you’ve no excuse not to head across the pond. As well as booking your flights, remember to secure your travel insurance too to give yourself that extra peace of mind.
Although considerably larger than the likes of London and Dublin, New York is still very much doable by foot, provided you’ve booked central accommodation. However, if you want to catch all the major tourist spots, your best option will be to avail of New York’s expansive public transport network.
A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a Subway trip. It’s the fastest and most economical way to travel around the city. Millions of New Yorkers travel by subway so it is a great way to get a real sense of how the locals get around. The services run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you’ll never be stuck! If you’re staying in the city for a couple of ideas it might be a good idea to get yourself a MetroCard. You can buy a MetroCard at various MetroCard vending machines dotted across the country as well as at Subway station booths and participating shops and newsagents. If you’re planning a longer visit to the Big Apple, it might be worth getting a 7-Day pass, which offers unlimited rides for seven days from the first day of use and costs $31. It’d be no harm to grab a subway map also and confirm your route with your concierge!
The bus costs a flat $2.75 per ride and is perfect if you prefer an above-ground view of New York City. Again, using a MetroCard is the way to go since bus drivers won’t make change and don’t accept dollar bills, much like Dublin Bus here at home. What’s great about using the MetroCard aboard the MTA buses is if you need to transfer to another bus or the Subway, you can ride for free (as long as your transfer is within a two-hour span of time). Remember though that New York City traffic is not pretty and the buses are prone to long traffic jams.
New York City St Patrick’s Day ParadeOf course, the big event that you will not want to miss is the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, it starts at 11am at 44th Street, marches up Fifth Avenue past St Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street and all the way through to 79th Street. It will finish up around 4:30/ 5pm at the American Irish Historical Society at East 80th Street.
If you’re using public transport to get to the parade, your best bet is to use the Subway. Routes A, C, E, 1, N, R all stop off close to the parade route. Anywhere along 5th Avenue is the perfect spot to experience the Parade. Remember though more than 2 million people are expected to take to the streets to watch this year’s parade so it’s a good idea to get down there good and early.
Remember if you do hope to catch a glimpse of the parade on 5th Avenue, there are a few rules and regulations you need to adhere to. Crazy green hats and beads are not permitted on the viewing stands and the consumption of alcohol isn’t tolerated. For a full list on parade regulations see here.
Spend St Patrick’s Day in the ‘Irish’ New York
If the hustle and bustle of the New York City Parade is not for you, then this low-key Manhattan walking tour may be just what you’re looking for. This walking tour explores the “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side and talks you through the role of Irish immigrants in the history of New York City. The tour takes approximately two hours to complete and costs $20 for an adult. Students and OAPs can get the discounted tour price of $15 and you can book tour places online if you so wish. You’ll meet in front of St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets. As with a lot of locations in New York City, the easiest way of getting there is by using the Subway. Lines 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J and Z stop at Fulton, a short walk from the start of the tour. Routes R and W also stop at nearby Cortland Street.
Irish Hunger Memorial
If you’re feeling a little homesick while you’re there and craving the green fields of Ireland, then a quick trip to Vesey St in Manhattan will bring you right there. Amid the towering skyscrapers of the city that never sleeps, is a small field from the west of Ireland, complete with an idyllic Irish cottage and stone walls. The cottage at the memorial is from the parish of Attymass in County Mayo and the site is a short walk from the 9/11 Memorial.