I’ve been ill, and while I still feel like someone inserted a hot rotten burger into my head, this blog isn’t going to write itself. Plus I just wolfed some American strength meds and am feeling, I assume temporarily, half normal again.
So excuse this verrrryy out of date blog post. As my editor here says, ‘The moment, I feel, has passed.’ But St Patrick’s Day in NYC is too much of a visual feast to let you miss out.
It started somewhere at the beginning of February with these green cakes. Food that isn’t naturally green shouldn’t be made green. We all know that. But the food buyers at my local supermarket, The Food Emporium, clearly don’t know that. And nor does the rest of the city. For it was green for a month. In celebration of their Gaelic forefathers or fore fore fore fore fathers twice removed.
My dear colleagues at Fabulous magazine make a mockery of my claims to be half Irish.
Imagine the scene: Tuesday mid afternoon.
Eimear (the actually Irish former Features Editor): ‘What makes you Irish Ellie?’
Ellie: ‘Well, both my paternal grandparents were born and raised in Ireland, which means my dad’s fully blooded Irish, which means that I’m half Irish. And my surname’s Irish. Definitely.’
Eimear: ‘Does your dad have an accent?’
Ellie: ‘Well, no, he was born in North London.’
Eimear: ‘Ellie, you’re as Irish as a neon leprechaun.’
Ellie: ‘Good to know.’
Well I can tell you that the bar in NYC is set wayyyy lower for Oirish status. Everyone seems to be Irish in New York. At least on Paddy’s Day, as they call it here.
Mark was in town the day of the big parade and we decided to escape what we had been warned were marauding, violent crowds to visit the Frick Museum (which incidentally is the most beautifully curated museums I’ve ever visited – go). On our way out we caught sight of the parading pipers on Park Avenue (there’s a nursery rhyme right there) and stopped to take a look. There were millions of bagpipers, mainly male, and groups marching under their banners: ‘The Upper East Sude Irish Club’ or some such.
Whether or not these Americans were first generation or fifth, the pride they showed in their family’s roots was moving. My Great Uncle Humphrey came to New York through Ellis Island in the 1920s. Nearly 100 years later, it was overwhelming enough for me, moving to a beautiful corporate flat in the heart of the city with a job already set up. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for a young lad arriving here with nothing. I can imagine too why he may have wanted to create a strong sense of the motherland for the family that he went on to have.
Anyway enough of the serious stuff. I was so touched by the whole thing that we Irish danced down to the Lower East Side to find some of the marauders we’d been told about. They just happened to be our mates. Here’s us in Tom and Jerry’s celebrating all our Irish roots. Happy days.