New York- Paddy’s Day with a Difference.

17th March 2015 – Day 4 of my ‘Little Irish Adventure’.  It’s Saint Patrick’s Day!

IT’s St PATRICK’S DAY IN NEW YORK CITY!

patricks day in NYC

And my day was all the more special.

First thing in the am,  Roz and I got to read some Irish stories to children in Mamaroneck’s Montessori – this was tough- not because I am shy at reading in public (as if!) but it is so hard to find an Irish story where it doesn’t end in bloodshed and slaying, or at the very least,  curses or banishment.

I didn’t want to scar the little innocents for life!

So we stuck to fairy tales.

Parental responsibility over, Roz and I headed back into Manhattan.

Now, I am the sort of girl that likes to do things a bit differently.

So, NO,  I didn’t go to watch the Paddy Parade.

For those out there who expect floats and giant air balloons or acrobats….You would be disappointed – because those type of parades happen on  Thanksgiving.  (think of the movie ‘Miracle On 34th Street’)

New York Paddy’s Day parades are all about marching bands.

Pre Paraders

Pre Paraders

Roz and I walked parallel to the parades and took glimpses here and there – but to be honest, we were on a different mission.

By private invitation (cough cough) we were off to Pier 90, where the NYPD were having their own Paddy’s Day celebration.

Where?

What?

Who?

cat I could tell you

I will let the pictures speak for themselves….

held in a secure location……

NYPD cruising for a bruising

NYPD cruising for a bruising

NYPD keeping an eye on the Party

NYPD keeping an eye on the Party

and some amazing  music – I promise there WAS dancing

The in house entertainment

The in house entertainment

and lots of men in uniform

Cuchulain in the flesh!

Cuchulain in the flesh!

Who's got your back!

Who’s got your back!

Friends from San Fran

Friends from San Fran

Guardians of the Peace

Guardians of the Peace

best NYPD sandwich ever!

best NYPD sandwich ever!

And then we had our own private parade as the NYPD pipe band arrived……

 the pipes are calling

the pipes are calling

Short side view!

Short side view!

I never felt threatened or on constant alert (a natural feeling I get when surrounded by lots of testosterone) as these guys were natural minders.

True gentlemen  to the core!

We had a great laugh  – the NYPD gang were so welcoming and genuine.

And sure  after a couple of beers, I felt we both blended right in!

cagney and lacey

What an afternoon!

Roz and I were VERY tempted to stay on but,  we being good Catholic boarding school girls,  and not forgetting we are both married….

we took ourselves off out of temptations way…….lol

After resting some, and strolling  along the very pleasant Hudson river walk, in the sharp (and I mean very sharp) air…..

Riverside Rest

Riverside Rest

…..we linked up with Aileen (who had preformed at the fund raiser)

aileen

Aileen (pronounced ‘I-Lean’) has lived and worked for years in NYC -she currently is the Piano Artist Studio Manager working on a fab project Sing for  Hope – (she also is a fab musician/song writer) – note the plug Aileen!

Anywaaaays, I know Aileen as my old pal from Kylemore.  We have linked up over the years, and until this trip, always on Irish turf.

This was my first time to visit Aileen at her own base – and WOW!  If I ever had a ‘far away fields are greener’ moment – this was it!  City living is not for everyone but if I was without kids and didn’t own 3 dogs – I would gladly have what she has.  Aileen couldn’t live anymore central to the creative world that is the bones of New York.  As a writer I had little flashes of what my life  could be  like if I too lived somewhere similar…..how my writer’s world might be……..I wouldn’t give up my life now that as I have it….I have a fab husband and kids after all…….but if I lived in a parallel one?……..oh well, it might make a nice story someday.

We had a fab evening – it was lovely to see Aileen again, and have her show us a snap shot of what she is up to these days- I was tempted to take lots of photos of her super stylish apartment, but I thought that would have been just plain rude – but I did take a few to capture the evening – so I will let the photos speak for themselves!

When all was done and dusted – it was a truly amazing Saint Patrick’s Day – one I will never forget.   A huge thank you to NYPD, and Aileen,  for making it such a Paddy’s day with a difference.

Roz and I managed to get home before midnight, and not only that, but  managed to get home sober – ish.  As Roz  had an early start for work the next day (5am),we were both conscious of the late hour.

I too was keen to get some sleep.  The next day I was going to be flying solo and heading into New York again for some research.  I would be going in wearing with my writer’s hat

– but that my dears, is for the next post…..

New York – Mamaroneck

So Base Camp for my trip to New York was the town of Mamaroneck -home to Matt Dillon for any fans.  In Irish how-to-get-there terms, this ‘village’ is a ways out of New York’s Manhatton, on the North West side of New York state, on the way towards Greenwich CT (Connecticut).  It actually lies in Westchester County of New York but lets not go too much into that.

According to wikipedia pages, is one of the top 10 places to live in NY.

I can vouch for that.

For a country bumpkin and an Irish one at that, I had no idea where I was to be staying, only that it was the address of my friend, Roz and family.  As far as I was concerned I was going to New York and linking up with one of my bestest pals.  I wouldn’t have cared if I was stuck in a shed with a sleeping bag.

 

Mamaroneck

Fortunately, that was not my penance and instead, I was gifted the lap of comfort at its best.

First impressions in daylight on day one left me in awe of the size of everything in the area- the houses, the cars, the supermarkets…..I am such a tourist…..but then I started to look beyond that, and I was touched by the lay of the land.

Mamaroneck by unknown artist (c)

Mamaroneck by unknown artist (c)

Houses built sensitively around giant boulders and rocks that form the natural terrain.  My eyes were forever drawn beyond the houses to the grove of trees, hillocks and streams that flowed freely to the sea and as a result, I found I could easily imagine what the lay of the land was like originally.

Back yard barn in Mamaroneck

Back yard barn in Mamaroneck

 

For the time of year, the trees were bare and the ground scantly clad in pockets of snow.  Picture postcard.  But what was it like originally?

Snow time in Mamaroneck

Snow time in Mamaroneck

 

Well the area that is now the town in Mamaroneck, was purchased from Native American Chief Wappaquewam and his brother Manhatahan ( of the Siwanoy tribe)  by an Englishman named John Richbell in 1661.  The rest as they say is history ( and not necessarily a pleasant one for the Native Americans)  and yet I could clearly imagine some scouts or braves, weaving in and out of the glades where the big houses now stood.

I have a hunger for background, or the story behind a place/person, and so I found myself always asking questions, that not necessarily people had the answer to.

So where does the name Mamaroneck come from? – In Ireland traditional place names mean something e.g. my own home town, Ballydehob – Beal Atha Da Chab (place of the two rivers fords) or Dublin  – Dubh Linn – the black pool. I wondered the story behind Mamaroneck……

I am saddened to say that the Siwanoy Indians do not exist any more (another discussion for another day) and so the actual Indian meaning of the name behind the town has been lost – but there have been some educated guesses handed down over time.  Here are a few of them that I found online –  For the full article please see here:

Mamaroneck is named after the Indian chief, Mamaronock – but he was a  chief of the Wiquaeskeck Indians who were located in a different area so this doesn’t ring true.

Mamaroneck means “the place of rolling stones” but  there doesn’t seem to be any documentary evidence supporting the idea that the Indian word ‘mamaroneck’ translates as ‘the place of rolling stones”.

Mamaroneck means “the Gathering Place.”  ‘mama’ means ‘to bring (or gather, or join, or meet) together with the ‘eck’ meaning ‘place or land’ – maybe maybe not……

In any case, all the above moved me as I could picture all of these explanations in the friendly picturesque town and I related all the more with the historic place.  I am please to report the town plague at least acknowledges the Indian connection.

Mamaroneck town plague

Oh, and by the way, for the golfers out there – the famous Winged Foot golf club can also be found in the area…..

Entrance to Wing Foot golf club

Entrance to Wing Foot golf club