Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day doings

Looking south along Fifth Avenue from 71st Street. 12:35 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, March 18, 2011. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day in New York with temperatures touching 60. It was also St. Patrick’s Day which meant the entire town north of 42nd Street and east of Sixth Avenue (essentially midtown) was just about impassable/impossible. Going from east to west, or vice versa, was a snail’s crawl (when it was moving) until late afternoon. In midtown, local bars, ginmills, near Fifth Avenue (where the actually parade takes place) began filling up by 10:30 in the morning. Jammed even.

St. Patrick’s Day, believe it or not, is a religious holiday honoring Saint Patrick for bringing Christianity to what was pagan Ireland. The shamrock was used in his teachings to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the pagans. What it has become -- by late 20th century America; and especially to the New Yorkers – is a citified bacchanalia. Ole St. Paddy would have been deeply dismayed. Ole DPC found it dismaying because it made getting around in this very otherwise very busy city, horrible.
Looking west across Fifth Avenue.
Looking west across 79th Street and Madison Avenue.
All of which means nothing; there’s no reason not to expect the same or even more next year. We’re looking for parties to party, these days. Now more than ever.

On the other hand, there were some very nice parties. Down at Michael’s, Keith Kelly of the New York Post gathered together his annual Kelly Gang – this year was number 7 which brought out a great crowd of Kellys including the Police Commissioner whose son, Greg Kelly, was honorary chair.

It’s kind of a cocktail reception, not to mention the irresistible Michael’s hors d’oeuvres, but Keith Kelly has turned it into a fundraiser to help others. In fact, they’ve even incorporated. This year, the funds raised will go to Catholic Relief Services in Haiti and Tuesday’s Children, which is a non-profit family service organization that has made a long-term commitment to every individual who was directly affected by the events of September 11th.

Kelly Gang’s board of founders are Christina Kelly, Editor/Writer; Ed Kelly, President/ CEO American Express Publishing; Jim Kelly, Contributing Editor of Vanity Fair; Kate Kelly Smith, Vice President and Publisher, House Beautiful; Keith – “Media Ink” columnist for the Post; Kirk Kelly, Folksinger “Paddy on the Railway"; Mike Kelly, CEO of the Weather Channel; Ray Kelly, NYPD Commissioner; Tom Kelly, writer/producer, CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” and the late Michael Kelly.

To date, The Kelly Gang has raised more than $300,000 for worthy causes, including the family of the late writer Michael Kelly. This was what St. Patrick had in mind. This is a reason to celebrate the bearers of the shamrock.

Tomorrow night is the Full Moon. They’re having a field day with this. Scientists, psychics, astrologers and weather men.

They’re calling it the Super Moon because it is the closest the Full Moon has been to the planet Earth since 1993. Because of that, when the moon is on the horizon it will look especially large. Because of the gravitational pull of the Moon and its proximity, some geologists as well as psychics and seers are predicting another major earthquake on the West Coast during the next few days.
A very different scene one block east of the parade. Looking north along Madison Avenue from 81st Street.
Looking south along Madison.
Jim Berkland, a former USGS geologist has said that he expects one sometime between Saturday through the next week. He cited certain phenomena as indicators of an upcoming event, such as the massive fish kill in Redondo Beach, just south of Los Angeles, ten days ago, the massive fish sweep in Mexico, recent sightings of whales “close to San Diego.”

He also pointed to other factors: “The months of October, March and April are the three most devastating earthquakes in terms of damage in the San Francisco Bay area history. And we’re having on the 19th of this month not only the full moon, but within an hour the closest approach of the moon until the year 2016. And the next day is the equinoctial tide bringing together three of the maximum tide raising forces. And we know about the ocean tides, but there’s also an earth tide and there’s a tide in the groundwater. All of these help to release built up strain and cause earthquakes.

Talk about built up strain. At least New Yorkers let it off yesterday with the wearin’ o’ the green.
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