Sober St. Patrick’s Day

Just last year, on St. Patrick’s Day morning, I left the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater where I had just taught a class in Auditioning For The Theater, and, walking west for several blocks on my way to the subway, I was struck by the saddest of sights.

Here I was, in Midtown, Manhattan, on its elegant East Side at 11:00 in the morning on a weekday and I was picking my way through the masses of people staggering the streets, all dressed in their Irish greens and already deep into their celebration of this hallowed day and 90% of them already falling down drunk.

Many were young people, probably skipping work, but the celebration was not limited to the youth for there were also among them, people of every age.  There were people vomiting everywhere, on the curbs, into the garbage cans of the brownstones, and some right onto the sidewalk where I carefully walked.  The party had spilled into the streets from the pubs and bars, the St. Patrick’s Day parade up Fifth Avenue hadn’t even started yet and I wondered how all these far-gone drunks could possibly make it through the whole day.

The NYC streets were full o’ the Irish green, the shamrocks, the funny little New Year’s Eve type hats signifying “Time To Party!”, sloppy singing and even sloppier laughter.  There was fun, but clearly fun in a fog of drunkenness that struck me as the height of the ridiculous there at 11:00 in the morning.

I remember thinking to myself as I picked my way through the hundreds of staggering masses, “What’s so saintly about St. Patrick’s Day?  It looks to me to be just an excuse for the Irish (and anyone else who cared to honor St. Paddy) to get falling down drunk.”

The subway cars were equally packed with staggering celebrants and the packed-in masses reeked of booze.  I’m not a prude, by any means, but to those of us who were simply making our morning commute, the experience had become all too annually typical.

St. Patrick’s Day had become, rather than a day to commemorate Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, instead, a day to wear green and get plowed in public.

Wikipedia states that, “Today, St. Patrick’s Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.”  I’m sad for all the other saints.

The Good News:

About a month later I got a call from one of my favorite NY event producers, one William Spencer Reilly, a friend and an innovator of intriguing ideas.  Bill told me that this year, on St. Paddy’s Day 2012, he would be producing a great booze-less, liquor-less party, post parade, called Sober St. Patrick’s Day.  He wanted to hire me to direct the whole affair.

Now here was a good cause.  I had experienced the disease first hand and the idea seemed intriguing and sorely needed in our fair city.  I signed on immediately.

And so, this coming Saturday, March 17th at 3:00 PM the party begins on NYC’s Upper East side.  Bring your hats, bring your shamrocks, bring your songs and your green – just don’t BYOB.  If you’re lookin’ for a great Irish party full of great music, dancing, food and fun, this will be the place to be.  If you’re lookin’ for a place to get even drunker than you already are, this will not be the party for you.

This four-hour bash of great entertainment and even greater vibes will cost you just $12 and you’ll need a reservation to get in, but it’s easy to arrange on-line.

For more much information, tickets, directions to the party and a rundown of the terrific entertainment of the day, please visit:

Word has it that even dear old St. Paddy might attend – definitely in spirit!

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One Response to “Sober St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Bonnie Wilson Says:

    very proud of you for doing this, Peter! wouldn’t it be great if this were done in every major city where St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, because, as you say, people are not honoring St. Patrick when they get drunk!

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