Mayor Bill de Blasio received a mostly warm reception at the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways but withstood occasional bursts of insults, jeers and boos.
De Blasio waved and smiled along the route, clad in a green necktie and orange, white and green sash saying “failte” — from an Irish phrase meaning “welcome.”
“We break this guy’s chops every year,” said ex-NYPD cop Charlie Moran, 57, holding a beer after leading his neighbors in chorus chants of “One-term mayor!” from Newport Avenue.
Their grievances ranged from still-damaged homes from 2012’s superstorm Sandy to his discontinuation of a popular ferry service serving the Rockaway peninsula. The mayor announced the ferry’s planned restoration from the parade’s grandstand.
Patrick Caveny, 72, a retired pharmacy assistant from Belle Harbor, was star-struck by de Blasio and shook his hand along the route.
“All I know is, de Blasio’s trying,” said Caveny, in a green wig, shamrock glasses and bow tie.
Paradegoers praised the mayor for being not just on time but early this year — in contrast to 2015 when he showed up at least half an hour late and joined mid-route. Months earlier, he had missed a bell tolling and moment of silence nearby to honor the 265 victims of a plane crash in 2001.
“He has a tendency to be very late to events in the Rockaways,” said Valerie Christopher, 59. “It would seem like a basic thing to do but it took him quite a while to figure it out,” she said of punctuality.
For the first time of his mayoralty, de Blasio is also joining in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s parade March 17 on Fifth Avenue, ending his boycott after organizers agreed to drop a long-standing ban on gay and lesbian groups marching under their own banners.
On Saturday, De Blasio, flanked by the mayor of Cork, Ireland, and an Ireland consular official whose midtown mission helped negotiate the ban’s end, called it “a coming together so we can move forward.”
Master of ceremonies Michael Benn urged the crowd to be respectful of de Blasio, whom he had introduced as “his lordship, the mayor.”
When onlookers began to boo, Benn pleaded, “Applause, folks, come on!”