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Friday, January 27, 2012

Irish Anti-Defamation Federation: Hoboken is right to cancel "distasteful" and "crime ridden" parade day

Update Duo: Now Ray Smith at the Hoboken Reporter says the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Committee has reversed and is not moving the parade to another venue this year.  Has the spokesman for the Parade Committee hit the bottle too early?

According to one Hoboken born resident who spoke at the last City Council meeting, the Hoboken Parade Committee was responsible for making it an alcohol fueled event - an example they set themselves.  Previous there was a parade and no committee running it in Hoboken according to that resident.


BREAKING UPDATE: The Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Committee has announced it's going elsewhere saying a decision is being made to take the parade to another location.

The story was announced on the Jersey Journal.  Earlier a Philadelphia based Irish group announced its opposition to the faux St. Patrick's Day in Hoboken and its agreement that the parade would not take place the first Saturday of March.

The Hoboken based parade group has now demonstrated its intent to take their ball and not go home after all.

Talking Ed Note: How much do you wanna bet it will be on a Saturday?  Congratulations to all the bar owners in the new unannounced location.

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A Philadelphia based organization, the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation is weighing in on the recent cancellation of the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Irish eyes are smiling on their decision, unlike their counterparts who run the parade committee in Hoboken.

Countering the veiled "intolerance" charge against Mayor Dawn Zimmer by one committee member, John R. Howe a former Grand Marshall, the Philadelphia based group issued a statement countering that charge saying,

"The Officers and Members of the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation... would like to support Hoboken's Mayor Dawn Zimmer in her decision to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade in her town" and went on to describe the event as "distasteful, dangerous and crime ridden..."

The committee actually erred in stating the cancellation came from the mayor. The Hoboken parade committee cancelled the annual event after declining to see it return to a weekday.

Mary Beth Phillips, a recording officer for the year old group told the Jersey Journal, "It's not against the parade committee of Hoboken, not against any parades but against the attendant 'celebrations' and this who take advantage of events like this for their money-making interests."

The group's website calls for its members to present a united front on behalf of Irish interests and encourages members to spread the word on the truth of St. Patrick and Irish history.

The rest of the group's statement reads:

"Although we are saddened by the loss of this tradition (what should be an all-generations, family-friendly celebration of Ireland's patron saint, and display of our Irish heritage and culture for those claiming Irish roots), we think Mayor Zimmer was wise to put a stop to the distasteful, dangerous, and crime-ridden activities that have accompanied the parade, especially since last year's parade-associated crimes included three reports of rape."

"Mayor Zimmer is sending a strong signal to all, whether Irish-American supporters of the Hoboken parade, revelers in the bars, and even spectators, that things are out of control. Her necessary cancellation of the parade is just one step towards fixing a dreadful batch of problems."

"We applaud her decision to try to make St. Patrick's Day the pride-filled celebration and holiday it should be. Mayor Zimmer does not want, and cannot afford, for Hoboken to be New Orleans at Mardi Gras, even if it means drastic changes are needed this particular year."

"For all those who disagree with her, we at the IADF recommend ways to create a family-friendly celebration once more, one that will not tax the police and other services required of the citizens of Hoboken."


Based on the statement it appears the Irish group is familiar with the letter that appeared in the Hudson Reporter by John R. Howe.  That letter caused a controversy, eliciting strong reactions to its claim the parade was moved from Saturday due to "intolerance."  It reads:
My family first came to America from Ireland in 1850, fleeing hunger and an oppressive regime. They have resided in Hoboken for over 125 years. I was a policeman here and I have been a participant in the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade since its inception in 1986. In 1997 I was honored to be selected at the Parade’s 10th Grand Marshal. On the first Saturday in March 1997 I, along with my late father, my son and grand-nephew proudly led the parade down Washington St. It was a chilly, rainy dismal day but, hundreds of people still lined Washington St. to see the parade. Whenever I look at pictures from that day I can see the pride in my father’s eyes as he marched with four generations of his family.

I always thought that this tradition would continue and that other descendants of Irish Immigrants would be able to share my experience. But, apparently intolerance has once again reared its ugly head. The Irish, the first big group of refugees ever to come to the United States, have born the brunt of American resentment before and prevailed. They paved the way for the waves of immigrants that followed in their footsteps. In the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

John R. Howe
Grand Marshall 1997
Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day Parade.


According to the Jersey Journal story, the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Committee did not comment on the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation's statement.  A marketing effort is underway to bring visitors to Hoboken the first Saturday of March in part by "Eat, Drink Hoboken" owner David Liebler along with Hoboken bar owners.

Facebook pages claim to have commitments from thousands to attend the day and the City of Hoboken is preparing additional measures including arrests for criminal activity that will see offenders taken to Kearny the location of the Hudson County jail.

St. Patrick's Day tradition?  An Irish group has come out decrying the denigration of St. Patrick calling Hoboken's faux St. Patrick's Day "distasteful" and "crime ridden." A midday muffin top casualty outside a Hoboken bar lives up to the "standard" of the day the group opposes.

Talking Ed Note: The St. Patrick's Parade Committee has not seen any support from MORTe other than a Tim Occhipinti pretending not to know how the mayor was able to move the parade from a Saturday.  Occhipinti is the only member of MORTe to come out and say anything in any detail on the parade.  Occhipinti has received campaign contributions from one bar owner in town the Elysian who has been a strong supporter of Old Guard interests in opposition to Mayor Dawn Zimmer.