The festivities will run shorter than in years past but there is no shortage of smiling Irish eyes today with the 250th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade officially under way in New York City.
Since all parade routes have been chopped to reduce police costs, this year’s march will end at E. 79th Street instead of E. 86th Street.
Here are some key things to know about the parade. (And don't forget -- while you're there you can send us photos via the iReport tool in the newsday.com iPhone application. Click on iReporter in the top navigation and send your photo or story to us).
When: Begins at 11 a.m. from 44th Street.
Grand Marshal: Author Mary Higgins Clark
Best viewing spots: The steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue or along the route north of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue, where crowds are thinner.
To watch from home: Live broadcast on WNBC-Channel 4 and streamed live on nycstpatricksparade.org.
Street closures: From 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., sections of Madison, Fifth and Vanderbilt avenues and 44th, 45th, 46th through 48th, 63rd, 64th and 80th through 85th streets will be impacted. For a complete list, visit www.nyc.gov/dot, the city transportation department website.
Mass transit: The LIRR said it will have 18 extra trains. The MTA also advised customers that alcoholic beverages will not be allowed on trains, platforms and stations through 4 a.m. on March 18. Any alcoholic beverages -- in either open or closed containers -- will be confiscated by the MTA police, the release said. Also, LIRR bar carts will not be in operation.
Here are the changes to the St. Patrick's Day schedules:
Eighteen extra trains -- nine westbound and nine eastbound -- have been added by the LIRR.
After the parade -- Eastbound from Penn Station
-3:40 p.m. stopping at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Great Neck.
Metro-North will run three extra New York City-bound trains on the Hudson Line and two on the Harlem Line, supplementing the regular weekday schedules. In addition, Metro-North will add extra cars to trains on the Harlem and Hudson Lines in anticipation of increased ridership.
New York City Subway and Buses
All subway lines and the Staten Island Railway will operate on regular weekday schedules.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade will run along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street. Fifteen local bus routes and 11 express bus routes will be temporarily affected.
Bridges and Tunnels
There are no changes to normal weekday operations at MTA Bridges and Tunnels.