New York’s Biggest Smallest Town has many great popular times but the most exciting month is March. While March Madness basketball is a pretty big deal on television, the events that happen in our locale are enormous, especially for two great holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and the Feast of Saint Joseph.
Every year, on the first Sunday in March, Staten Island kicks off the small-town celebratory congregational tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Forest Avenue. This is the time when friends and family can spend quality time, celebrate the start of the season, and enjoy the lively and upbeat atmosphere that exists on Forest Avenue. Throughout the parade, marching bands from different high schools play their best tunes, ethnic groups come to share their traditions, elected officials meet voters, and live musical ensembles, as well as entertainers, travel down the street to energize the avenue. Afterward, the young crowd and those who are young-at-heart celebrate at the Bar Crawl where local eateries open up their doors for the big party event with DJ entertainment, drinks, snacks, and ultimately fun. Now, the month is launched. From that point until the 17th, businesses adorn themselves with green from the aisles of the stores to the products they sell. There are green bagels, green candies, green drinks, green cookies, Irish Soda Bread, green Raviolis and so much more themed to this festive holiday – it’s exciting!
Then, there’s another major holiday – Saint Joseph’s Day. Saint Joseph’s Day is also a very festive holiday, a time when families gather around the dinner table for dessert to enjoy Saint Joseph’s Day pastries which are made fresh from several local eateries on Staten Island. This day is one of the busiest times of the year for local bakeries, as well as there, are several variations of Saint Joseph’s Day pastries – especially the famous Zeppole, a New York favorite.
What do both of these holidays have in common and why are they so popular on Staten Island? First, both of these holidays’ origins come from Catholicism honoring St. Joseph and St. Patrick; and both are feasts. However, they are universally celebrated. These holidays are times when families can spend quality time and have fun together, and many local businesses experience a surge of community support especially bakeries and specialty food stores. So, while March Madness is definitely a great sports time, March is more than that. March is about making memories. That’s why at This Way On Bay we call it “Memorable March”.