New York canceled its St. Patrick's Day Parade for 1st time in more than a century amid coronavirus outbreak

St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City
(Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Boston, Chicago, and even Dublin scrapped their St. Patrick's Day parades this year in the face of the growing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but New York City's organizers had held out hope. Until Wednesday night.

"Today I had several conversations with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade to determine whether the parade should move forward in light of the evolving coronavirus situation and increased case count in the New York City area," Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday night. "Following those conversations, I recommended and the parade's leadership agreed to postpone this year's parade due to the high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators who attend."

The New York Post included this cancellation in its top four signs the coronavirus outbreak has gotten serious.

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New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade, celebrating its 259th year, has been held continuously since 1762. While the parade has never been canceled, "there was a closeness one time," parade president Tommy Smyth told the New York Daily News. In 1917, "there was a huge blizzard just before the parade started and at that time the Grand Marshall and his aides all rode on horseback. ... So it went down as a 'Grand Marshall March' and no parade." The organizers said they hope to hold the parade "at a later date," but did not offer any dates.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.