3.17.2005

luck o' the irish

It's true that they dye the river green for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. If you don't believe me check it out. Some 23 years ago, we were living in a loft just south of the Loop in what is now the trendoid Printer's Row area. It seemed like there was some kind of parade every week. Chicago is way more into parades and probably even more rabidly Irish than New York.
Citichild was three months old, and I put her in a Snugli front pack to go check out the river. This was stupid, but I didn't know it. It was early in the day, and the parade spectators weren't hurling in the gutters quite yet, but there were a lot of them. I kept trying to get closer to the river to see if it was really green. It was a nice emerald.
Then, in one of those mass movements, the crowd began to sway back from the river. The density increased. I was being pressed towards some scaffolding, and I was afraid Citichild would get smushed. I put my hands on my shoulders with my elbows jutting forward and tried to keep a little space around the baby. It wasn't working, and I found myself with my back against the wall and the whole body of bodies bearing down on me.
All of a sudden, a man materialized between me and the crowd. He was not Irish, but African-American (or, as one comic said the other night, Kidnapped-American). He was young and big, and he began to shove at the crowd, shouting, "There's a baby back here! There's a baby back here!" He made a pathway for me and got me out out of there, all the way out of the crowd and into a blissful oasis of empty space. Then he vanished.
If you meet this saint today, please kiss him for me.

Here are two of my favorite Irish bars in New York: Ye Olde and Playwrights. Give my favorite waitresses a kiss, too. But if you don't like crowds, avoid these spots today and any day that Riverdance is performing.

4 comments :

Citichild said...

awwhhh. My big black saint saved me. I told you Jesus was black.

st patrick said...

Does citichild have claustrophobia
or hate crowds? Aversion to green water?

oceangurl said...

Drinking and smoking was my plan for St Patricks day as the island I live on already had the snakes driven off. But doing both are not allowed in bars. Adding driving to this mix allowed me to cover all the bases. Having no green clothes and part irish my green car was a
nice backdrop to pints of Guiness.

drummer said...

I went down to the river yesterday-the day. It was a muddy green not quite emerald. Ok, sky was overcast and it'd been a five days since the dye was dumped into the water by the plumbers union running city boats zigzag down the ten or so blocks. No African-American guy hanging by the river but did encounter a white suburbanite with a silly green paper hat bouncing down Michigan Ave.