Making good on his promise to find other ways to “honor the Irish heritage of this city” after announcing that he’ll be the first mayor in twenty years to skip Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, on Sunday Bill de Blasio marched in the St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens. De Blasio was joined by several other city officials, but not Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who announced last week that he won’t join the mayor’s boycott. Bratton says that while the organizers of the March 17 parade down Fifth Avenue don’t allow participants to publicly identify as gay, he intends to march because “for me [it’s] a celebration of heritage.”
De Blasio said that city workers are free to join in the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and he reiterated on Sunday that he has no problem with Bratton’s call. “I absolutely respect his decision. And I’ve said this is something where we have to respect everyone’s individuality and their right to make their own decision. And I respect his choice,” said De Blasio.
The mayor’s efforts to avoid a conflict over the parade this weekend didn’t go entirely as planned. He said in Sunnyside today that he skipped yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways because, “My approach has been to embrace parades that are inclusive. And that’s the standard we’re going to hold.” As Anthony Weiner, who used to represent the Rockaway Peninsula, was quick to point out on Twitter, that parade actually does welcome gay participants, and De Blasio attended the event last year. The mayor’s office clarified that he was thinking of another borough’s discriminatory policies. “The mayor did not attend the Rockaways parade on Saturday due to scheduling conflicts,” a spokesman told Politicker. “He didn’t attend the Staten Island parade on Sunday because its excludes groups.”